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    One of my best friends is anorexic and I don't know what to do.
    She started to lose loads of weight just after mock GCSE exams in February but no one really noticed a big change until just before we broke up for the summer holidays.

    Having been back in school since September, I've noticed a huge change in her personality; she's irritable, grumpy, likes to spend a lot of time alone when she used to be really sociable, skips meals and lies to us about what she eats and when.
    My housemistress knows and she's been having weekly San appointments.
    None of her friends (me included) have said anything to her explicitly because we don't want to push her away and annoy her even more.

    Does anyone have any experience/advice on what to do? I don't want to isolate her even more but at the same time at the moment I feel like I'm just watching her destroy herself and doing nothing to help her ...
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    You need to remember that she is the only one who can change her behaviour. And if she is lying etc then that is her illness so try not to blame her for it.

    I would speak to her about it. Just let her know you all know she is having a hard time and that you are there for her if she wants to talk about it, you miss your friend etc. Don't press her to eat. Don't nag her. Don't comment on her weight/food. Just be there for her and that will help.
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    I had a friend some years ago who was anorexic too and we were all very worried about her as she was very depressed as well but we didn't know what to do, for the same reasons as you, but also I honestly didn't have much of a clue about the mental processes behind the disorder. Then one day we had made cakes and were waiting to be collected after school and I had scoffed my whole cake but she hadn't touched hers. I asked her why and she didn't reply but after a little probing and reverse psychology I told her she wasn't hungry and she stood up and screamed 'do you not think I'm ****ing starving!?!'. It was honestly the first time I realised that not eating was out of her control. Then I told her I would sit there until she had eaten at least part of the cake. At first she laughed and got pissed off but eventually in fear of embarrassment of missing her bus she ate part of the cake.

    Over time we used this method of peer pressure, not bullying but instead encouraging her, to slowly get her to eat meals. First a few of our chips, then more and more over time, until she was eating small meals of her own. We would say we wouldn't eat if she didn't eat a little bit, etc., and now she is a very healthy (in terms of quantity) eater.

    Yes, this may sound controversial and the opposite to what you are "supposed" to do and I am not trying to encourage it, I'm just giving you my personal experience. However what I would say is do do something. Directly or indirectly, go talk to her because chances are if she does push you away she will realise that she wont have anyone to go to.
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    Firstly, I would say don't be afraid of mentioning it explicitly. Let her know that she doesn't have to talk about it if she doesn't feel comfortable to, but that if she needs support or want to talk then you're there. I know it's awkward to bring up, but even if she does push you away, it lets her know that you're there. Anorexia is a really, really isolating illness, and having everyone avoid the subject can feel very lonely.

    Like you said, it can really really change personality when you're struggling with anorexia - it feels like nothing else matters besides weight, calories, numbers, and it's really hard to be sociable and put on a happy face with all that going on. If she's isolating herself and not spending so much time with you all or chatting as much, could you see if she'd be happier to hang out one-to-one, where she doesn't feel so much pressure to talk?

    Anorexia is an incredibly difficult illness to recover from, and the professional support she's getting is the most important thing for recovery and eating. When it comes to mealtimes, if she's still spending time with you at lunchtimes, it can help to have some encouragement to eat. Personally my uni friends were a great source of support when I was struggling with the anorexia - they did things like going up to choose something to eat with me, helping me choose what to have, sitting with me even when I ate really slowly, encouraging me to try something or have a bit more of something, going somewhere quieter to eat so that there weren't so many people who would see etc. So anything like that can be really helpful. Having said that, don't feel that you have to 'pressure' her to eat - it's too much responsibility to have that on your shoulders, and that's what her treatment team are there for. Just keep encouraging her to socialise or chat to you, don't give up asking her to spend time with you all even if she's trying to isolate herself and it feels like you're getting nowhere, because friends are such a great source of support as she starts to recover more, and she will get there, even if it takes time.
    • #2
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    One of my best friends is anorexic and I don't know what to do.
    She started to lose loads of weight just after mock GCSE exams in February but no one really noticed a big change until just before we broke up for the summer holidays.

    Having been back in school since September, I've noticed a huge change in her personality; she's irritable, grumpy, likes to spend a lot of time alone when she used to be really sociable, skips meals and lies to us about what she eats and when.
    My housemistress knows and she's been having weekly San appointments.
    None of her friends (me included) have said anything to her explicitly because we don't want to push her away and annoy her even more.

    Does anyone have any experience/advice on what to do? I don't want to isolate her even more but at the same time at the moment I feel like I'm just watching her destroy herself and doing nothing to help her ...
    I know a girl exactly like this she lost a bit of weight before the summer holidays. then we saw her for gcse results she lost a lot of weight. then beginning of September she tells me that shes 101 pounds that low and now it being November I cant imagine what she is. she wears really baggy clothes I don't know why. but yeah. id probably ask her in a general way "oh, how are you losing so much weight" then if she says shes skipping meals and stuff then youll know if shes anorexic or not.
 
 
 
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