National Eating Disorders Association

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pipsqueak97
My friend has bulimia and doesn't want me to tell anybody

Hi all,

Please help me. My best friend has bulimia and has been struggling for a few months now. She doesn't want me to tell anybody. As far as I know, I am the only one who knows. She goes to a different college many states away and so I am not in a position to see her all that frequently.

I tell her that I will support her endlessly but at the end of the day, I can't make her do anything. I've asked her to see a doctor but she wants to get over it herself. She has asked me not to tell anybody or to pressure her into doing anything that she is not comfortable with yet.

What should I do? Should I do anything? I am afraid that if I push her too hard then she'll just stop confiding in me and will feel like she has no one to talk to. On the other hand, it's so hard to go through this alone, and I can't really force her into doing anything. I'm so worried about her. It doesn't help that I can't be there with her. I'm worried that if she doesn't see someone or isn't able to get over it herself then she will end up being hospitalized or worse.

Please tell me what to do.

Thanks.

BobJ48
Dear Pip.

"Should I do anything? I am afraid that if I push her too hard then she'll just stop confiding in me and will feel like she has no one to talk to. On the other hand, it's so hard to go through this alone, and I can't really force her into doing anything."

One thing to keep in mind is that you actually are doing something already, simply by being someone she feels OK talking with. That is not just nothing, it really is a thing that's important. So yeah, you'll want to do all you can to retain her trust.

Also, even if you were to tell someone, it's not like that would necessarily result in something positive.

But I think you are right in warning her of the danger she might be in. In the beginning people who purge often think they can stop whenever they want to, and frequently don't realize the sort situation they've gotten themselves into until they are totally addicted and discover that they can't stop. A few months may not seem like that long, but you are right in worrying that she may be in a dangerous situation already.

One thing to remember is that most people are not happy about the fact that they purge, so the idea that it's something they could be stuck with for years is often something that scares them, and can serve as a motivation to get help. Also, it's *much* easier to quit early on, than to try and quit once this stuff has really had time to worm itself into a person's mind.

Also, when it comes to "recovering on her own", when you stop to think about it, even people in treatment recover on their own. No one else can make them recover other than themselves.

While some people actually do recover on their own, this brain of ours has a way of defeating our best efforts sometimes, and that really is the part that a person has to fight against. And where getting some outside input can make a difference.

Also, if your friend is at school, they will have counselors there who do understand eating disorders. Your friend may feel shame over the idea that she has this issue, and that may be part of what's holding her back, but people at the counseling center will understand that part too, so I think that urging your friend to check them out is probably a step you'll want to suggest to her, and then do what you can to help her work though the sorts of emotional risks she'll need to take in order to make her first appointment.

Because really, that's what recovery often requires : Being willing to take some emotional risks, you know ?

Bob J.

iwanttolive
pipsqueak97

Hi. I was just wondering how things are going for your friend? Has she gotten any help? How are you doing? Just want to let you know we are here for you.

iwanttolive