National Eating Disorders Association

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
How can I best help her

Hi - I am new the forum and I am very thankful for it! Recently, I have been home living with my sister because of all the recent quarantine orders. I have been very aware of my sisters ED. She Is diagnosed with disordered eating and does not yet fit the criteria for a specific ED. Living with her and seeing her habits form / fluctuate have been so hard for me. I just keep watching her control so much of her food and go so many days eating so little. My fear, of course, is the disease growing and becoming more and more severe. My sister is aware of her struggles and actually acknowledges how difficult it’s been for her.
I guess I am struggling with how to live with her that is supportive but also learning to cope there is not much I can do... she is older, 20, and typically at school living away from home. I also am typically not home with her but given the circumstances. I also am a fixer and it is such my instinct to be proactive and try and assist and fix the problem which we all know doesn’t work unless the person wants to get better. Any advice on how to process, and mostly learn how to not worry so much about our siblings. Also maybe just more information on what’s appropriate to support them but not push them or become fixated on things. Thank you in advanced. I know there is so much more to this story that is too much to share. i appreciate everyone here.

Dear Dunn1234

We understand your concern and want you to know that we have some resources to assist you. You can always call our NEDA Helpline at 800.931.2237 M-TH 11am-9pm ET and F 11am-5pm ET. You can also visit our page geared toward helping you help a loved one which has tips on how to talk to your sister and encourage her to seek professional help.

I feel you

We're in pretty much the same boat. My sister is also 20, and we don't usually live together but quarantine has brought us both back from college to our parents house. I don't know if my parents are really aware that she struggles with this; she's had mental health issues in the past but she's never seen someone for eating disorder related things specifically as far as I know. I think I might only know about it because I pay attention (and sometimes she hints at it on social media). But the last couple weeks I've noticed it's getting worse. She doesn't eat all day until a she eats a smallish dinner (we eat dinner as a family, and I think she's trying to keep us from noticing). She also has taken up running, which scares me cause I know she's exercising on an empty stomach and that can be dangerous.
I don't know what to do! I'm kind of afraid to bring it up with her, I don't really know why. Maybe I'm afraid that she'll just hide from me more and will stop trusting me. I also don't want to tell my parents because I don't think they will deal with it well. I feel so stuck and scared and helpless. I'm also the kind of person who needs to fix things, and she's my younger sister so I will always feel very protective of her. I guess my first step is probably to talk to her about it but I'm afraid and overwhelmed. Ugh

if i were your sister

hi guys. i am in the same boat as your sisters-- home from school with eating disorder struggles while trying to make sure no one notices or gets too concerned. i grew up watching my sister suffer from life threatening depression, and there is no worse feeling of hopelessness as you watch someone's mental health crumble. as far as EDs go, the best thing that you can do is just check in. not "i noticed you aren't eating" or "please eat" or anything drastic, just ask if something is up and if there is anything you can do. this is hard to hear but there is probably nothing you can say to get rid of disordered thoughts and behaviors, but encouraging to get help and even offer to keep the conversation confidential from parents. I am so nervous about concerning my parents, and if they aren't jumping at the idea to talk to a therapist the last thing you should do is bring parents into the conversation right at the jump. encourage professional help, ask what you can do, find out what is helpful by asking and know that you cannot fix them, but you can help them find a way to seek recovery :)

also-- expressing concern is

also-- expressing concern is nice but one of the worst ED thoughts i experience is wanting to keep things from everyone because you don't want to make the whole family's life worse with an ED. if my sister came to me and said "i am worried about you and i am scared" i would feel terrible for my actions affecting her emotions. definitely doesn't apply to everyone but just something to consider