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  1. I can't just let her waste away!

    I don't really know what to say. I guess there is no place like starting at the beginning.

    About 8 months ago I met a friend online-- through livejournal.com. If you don't know what Livejournal is, it is a place where you can have public or friends-locked journal entries. To be someone's friend they have to "friend you", and it gives you access to their, in some cases, more personal entries, or in other cases all of there entries (personal and very personal, I guess you could say).
    We became fast friends. Eventually several of us formed a group of friends, and we all chat online every day. I'd trust these people with my life. We are so close-knit; I feel like they are my long lost sisters.
    But as friends go, you're going to be let known certain information. I know much of her past, and she knows much of mine. She's had a history of anorexia, and for a while now I've thought that she slayed that dragon, and it was all behind her. She seemed so happy and free from it. But about a month ago the subject came back up in her journal entries. I guess because we are "only" her internet friends she doesn't feel so threatened by telling us about these things. She's even said stuff about how she knows we can do nothing about it, so she doesn't mind sharing these things.
    She is 16 years old and 5'1". Her recent goal is to get down to 72 pounds. I've seen pictures of her; she is so thin. I even looked it up on several health sites. For her age and size she should be 99 pounds!
    I'm very worried about her. My friends and I researched information on what to do in this kind of situation, and we confronted her on this problem. She handled it relatively well. She made a lot of objections though. But the more she spoke the more we could see how set she was one this.
    At the end of the conversation she said that she was going to go to see someone about it. Her mom was trying to convince her as well. So that's what happened apparently.
    Apparently.
    She hasn't mentioned it yet. I'm worried to bring it up. She had a bad day that day, and her mom was yelling at her a lot. She said that she started binging and her parents were really happy she was eating. Then she said, "But they don't know what happens when I binge like this, ohhh no they don't."
    I'm so scared! She even admited that once she reaches her goal she's probably going to make a new one. She doesn't know what to do about it, but she's terrified of going to see someone about it, and she is addicted to how numb it makes her feel. She says the numbness is better than just living and feeling all of life's pains. And she doesn't want to get "fat".

    I don't know what to do at all. My friends and I are at our wit's end about this whole situation. It's horrible caring SO much for someone yet being hundreds of miles away. She has no offline friends, and her parents don't seem to notice the intensity of the situation.

    If anyone has any thoughts or ideas for me and my fellow worriers, I'd be grateful for them. Prayers as well. I don't want one of my best friends wasting away with me just sitting there watching.

  2. #2

    I can't just let her waste away!

    She is 16 years old and 5'1". Her recent goal is to get down to 72 pounds. I've seen pictures of her; she is so thin. I even looked it up on several health sites. For her age and size she should be 99 pounds!
    You are right about the 99 pounds being the minimum she should be at. Obviously, I would continue to stress her seeing a doctor in each message you write. Her parents, of course, are ultimately responsible and should eventually notice a major problem if her weight went drastically down, esp. since she has a history of anorexia.

    Her mom was trying to convince her as well.
    Then the good news is that the parents are already aware she is having problems now. I would just continue to bring up the subject about seeing a doctor.

    The situation is not an emergency, but, obviously, if she had a local friend and you knew that friend's e-mail address, that local friend could inform the parents of the extra details you have. Since she says she has no offline friends, the odds of a search being fruitful seem quite low unless one of her online friends is local to her or knows more than you do about her location, last name, or the school she attends.

    (If you haven't already, you may want to try searching Google and Google Groups with her e-mail address in the unlikely event it brings up a site of one her other friends. Also, a friend of hers you don't know about may be linking to her site. You can check for this by searching Google using the "link:" command with something like "link:www.livejournaladdress.com/herlivejournal" and by also searching Google for her LiveJournal username or web address, etc. Also, if she has an AOL screen name, her member profile may have more clues.)
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3

    I can't just let her waste away!

    I agree. Her parents are aware there's some sort of problem, even if they don't know the full story, and her mom is pressuring her to see a doctor or counsellor. At her age, she's also presumably in contact with teachers and friends at school who will eventually begin to see something is amiss.

    As an online friend, there's really very little you can do that you're not already doing.

  4. #4

    don't give up

    hi bendandbreak. Having been exactly where you are, and in your friend's shows one way or the other, first of all thank you for caring and wanting to help. I think you are doing a HUGE part by just being there for your friend to talk to. And she said she can tell you guys these things b/c she knows you can't really do anything. Well, even if she only tells you, at least you are someone that she is able to talk to that is not around her 24/7 so it's a good outlet for her. The thing w/ ed's is that it is very, very easy to distort the situation and manipulate people... but at least your friends is able to be honest w/ you. I know it hurts and I know you want to help her, but you are already helping her just by being there for her. Don't play her games though, you don't have to bring up anorexia in every line and every email, but do let her know you are concerned, ask her if she's had a chance to go see someone about it... if she keeps on telling you about her ed then obviously she's ok w/ you letting her know you're worried. I know it's easy to just say go and tell her you're worried.... people have said that to me and I know it's not at all that simple.... but you've already let her know that you're concerned so just keep that up. Maybe you could suggest that you can help her find someone... ie. let her know what her options are (maybe noone else really knows what's going on so she may not know about what is out there to help her): there are out- patient treatmenr programs, support groups, psychiatrists, psychologist etc... she just needs to take the first step by going there (aka wanting to get help) and then finding the right match.

    When my online friends was struggling w/ anorexia, it was difficult too. But we build up a friendship around the ed, so we were both comfortable enough to talk about everything else and the ed. That way she knew I was always there for her. Just sending an email to vent, or putting a post on livejournal can help. It is difficult enough to help someone when you see them every day, so I totally understand your struggle over the internet. But please just don't give up. It'll help more and mean more to her than you will probably every know.

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