More threads by clueless


Recently a co-worker/friend of mine admitted in a round about way that she has an eating disorder. She acted surprised that I had noticed. She said it was something she had been dealing with since high school and it comes and goes. Unfortunately she recently broke up with her boy friend. To be honest I knew there was something that was just not right from the get go. The tell tale signs of not eating regularly or next to nothing were a big indicator. She does not eat on a 3-4 days (if she does she purges, but not in a way I have ever heard of) during the week and at times she will lie to people and tell them she has. If someone drops by to see her on the weekend she grabs a bite to eat as she does not want to create suspicion. She does not bring food into her house, refuses to. She said she likes the feeling of her stomach being empty to the point of it being uncomfortable. I can say I do not understand why. Question is how do I help her. I think it is great that she admitted that she has a problem and she was seeing someone to talk things through. But this is not something she likes to talk about and often says I am bugging her about it. I just want to make sure she is okay.

I can recall a time back in high school when I found a journal of a friend that told a similar story. It would read that all she had that day was water and what a great job she did. Well I knew this was something out of my realm and spoke to our guidance counselor about it. Needless to say we grew apart as a result and I do not think she was impressed. To this day, it is something she struggles with.

Back to my co-worker friend though, she has asked me not to say anything to anyone. I respect her wishes but at the same time I do not want to see her get hurt. I have this urge to invite her over on weekends to ensure she is eating something, anything, as I would imagine this is human nature. Do I sit back and just say nothing and let her deal with it. I just do not know.


This is correct

She was seeing someone who diagnosed her with an eating disrder, although I cannot recall the name of it. He suggested to her that instead of fasting for 3 days to fast for 4 and keep a journal to bring with her to the next appointment. She did not want to go back to see him because she did not feel comfortable. She did look into if there were any groups in the area that she may be able to attend. The only one available was at the hospital. She opted out of that one because her mother works there and that in itself is a long story but lets just say they are estranged. Now there was another woman who is a doctor of some sort and she did make it a point to call her and she did tell me that she made an appoiment with her, although I do not know that for certain. She could be lying to get me off her back. The first time she mentioned it to anyone was with the last doctor she seen. None of her family members know, not even another co worker.

I find it interesting that no one else has figured this out. Maybe they have and just do not know how to approach it as it is a sensitive subject.

Now she has started speaking in another online forum, not too sure where. But she has told me that it is quite odd because she feels many of the people there are on the verge of suicide or so she feels.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
He suggested to her that instead of fasting for 3 days to fast for 4 and keep a journal to bring with her to the next appointment. She did not want to go back to see him because she did not feel comfortable.
That sounds like a very odd thing for a therapist to say, unless he thought he was using a technique called "paradoxical intention", which is dodgy at best in my opinion.

Since she seems to have felt somewhat comfortable in sharing her condition with you, I think you might try to encourage her to continue to seek help with her eating disorder, and perhaps to help her to understand the serious medical consequences of not getting the disorder under control (see other articles and comments in this forum). However, I don't think taking responsibility for her condition or trying to monitor her eating/food intake is likely to help her much and it will certainly make your life a whole lot more stressful. Ultimately, she must be the one to decide that she needs to make changes.


Surprisingly, she phoned me today. I can tell when she gets annoyed with me. I have spoken to her about the consequences of what she is doing and the effects it can have on her. I do not dance around the topic. Although I am finding that until she wants to talk about her disorder I cannot say a thing.

I am the type of person that wears her heart on her sleeve and I will help someone to the best of my ability. Once someone if a friend they are one for life. It saddens me that I cannot do more for her but yes ultimately she needs to take those steps with her own will and desire.
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