National Eating Disorders Association

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really losing hope

I'm 14 and my sibling, who is 4 years older, is suffering from an eating disorder. she has been in this constant restrict/binge cycle for a couple months now. it has gotten to her mental health pretty badly. I really thought maybe she could seek medical attention or something will make her snap and all of sudden it will be okay. idk why I thought that but obviously it is not true. reasonably, she does not want to go to a clinic because of the fear of being forced to gain weight and also feeling like she needs to do more damage before going. my sibling talks to me about her Ed often, and she asks me if it is ok and sorry for the burden. I say it's okay and I mean it because I know talking about it might help a little. however recently, I've been getting frustrated and I feel very selfish for feeling that way. I think I realized this issue will go on for years and maybe even forever...i don't like that and this just makes me depressed. she mentioned she's fasting, "for how long" "forever" she's miserable so then I'm miserable and I'm watching everything happen
how do I support my sibling/actually help her get help or anything and know everything will be okay in the end!? I'm just sad


Welcome to the forums, we are so glad you are here! Your sibling is very lucky to have your support. If you need some ideas on how to talk with her, you can check out the tab "Help & Support" and go under "How Do I help?" If you want to pass this information to your sibling, we have a helpling phone number and chat link. You can call 800-931- 2237 or chat,  to discuss support options. Helpline phone hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET. Helpline chat hours are Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm ET, Friday 9am-5pm ET. We hope you find the support you are looking for and keep posting!  


Yeah, situations like these really are difficult, and everyone worries about how long it will go on. Often the sufferer too.
Like you said, it sounds like she knows she'll need help and treatment. It really does sound like she knows that. But then the thing about weight gain, and "I'm not sick enough yet", hasn't reached her low weight and all that. Things that pretty much all people with EDs think about, and can keep them from getting help.
But the thing is, everyone who wants to get better has to be willing to take some risks. All that stuff that scares them about recovery, they gotta face those doubts, and be willing to do stuff that simply isn't going to feel right to them in the beginning.
Which that's the big challenge, you know ?
Letting her know that you understand these things…that may help you guys get closer to the heart of the matter ?
I know this is tough on you too, so if you see this, keep in touch?


thanks for the reply, helps me feel little less lonely
from what I've seen I think it is the risk because they also talk about how so many things can go wrong if you don't get the right help
I've told them a couple times to consider therapy please but I know at one point they asked me if I could stop. i definitely get recovery comes with having to face any doubts but also scared to mention it with her I guess?,on the other hand I think she knows this in a way

I also had questions on what to do if they're in a middle of a binge.etc
they've said a couple times if I see them doing anything "unplanned" take the food from them

still, i just can't because I'm scared of enabling any restriction in any way and also its kinda hard when I'm just not that bold to take someone's food that they just want to eat
instead, if I sense they are in a binge I try to ask for any pieces of their food so at least in the end when they input all the calories from the binge it can be a little less so maybe they'll feel a little less depressed afterwards?? I really don't know
when I'm at school though I can't really do anything and then they do binge and it just sucks

they've asked me to help them not binge and specifically stick to their meal plan they made and I have because I just don't want to see them sad after a binge, but is this enabling anything? I don't want to help them stick to their meal plan to encourage restricting or anything but it just seems like that's what I might do helping them not binge, if that makes sense

along with this though my mom has been really triggering for my sibling because she also has some disordered eating (hence where a lot of these issues kinda came from) and then there's feelings of competition from what she's mentioned

also has not had their period since around June? can anyone come back from that or if they haven't had their period for a year or two can they get it back?

these are just my thoughts jumbled up so they might not fully make any sense...but thanks for the reply

Medical Care

Hi bokkbokkbokk,You mentioned that your sister may be experiencing amenorrhea, or the loss of her period. In addition to the resources we provided above, we would encourage your sister to seek medical care for this or any other symptoms she may be experiencing below. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:

• accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury
• become suicidal
• confused thinking and is not making any sense
• delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)
• disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are
• vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
• experiencing dizziness or fainting spells
• too weak to walk or collapses
• painful muscle spasms
• experience pain in the lower legs
• complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing
• blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit
• a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16
• an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)
• cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit
• experience dizziness, nausea, fever
• wounds/cuts heal slowly
• feel tingling in the hands or feet
• blurred vision
If you experience anything above, we highly recommend seeking help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you experience:
• have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating
• have other gastrointestinal concerns
• have high blood pressure
• struggle with significant joint or muscle pain
• have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)
• struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss• have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst
• have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly• have gained significant weight in a short period of time
• struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipation
Take care!

stay hopeful!

Hello! I know how it feels to have a sibling with an eating disorder, but don't lose hope! Your sister is so lucky to have someone like you and I know she appreciates you. Please do not feel selfish for getting frustrated too. It is completely normal to feel like that when someone you love has an ED. You are doing your very best to support her and lover her. The rest of her recovery is up to her and her medical team. Hang in there, it will be OK!