National Eating Disorders Association

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I feel like I'm losing my mind

I've never been here. I didnt even know this website existed. I will first apologize if I seem uneducated on any of this as I pretty much am. I've been scouring the web trying to learn and understand as much as I can as fast as I can. 2 days ago I found out that my girlfriend has been hiding her anorexia from me for 8 months. The conversation wasnt an easy one. We were up all night and into the next day. She has been feeling really crappy the past couple months and I've been doing what I can (google) to figure out what could be causing her to feel this way. I was convinced I'd figured it out when I found nondiabetic hypoglycemia. She wasnt so sure. I kept digging and I know her eating habits arent the best so when I found something that mentioned anorexia I thought hmm.. maybe she isn't eating enough and that's causing it. I NEVER thought she'd be showing me a few hours later her calorie counting app with the limit set to X which she was barely ever reaching. For days she would restrict and then binge on (a healthy amount of calories for and adult woman) and then repeat the cycle.

We've had A LOT going on the past couple months. Her father (55) passed away suddenly from heart issues that happen to run in the family. We took him to the hospital and he died hours later. It was the most pain I've ever seen someone in. My girlfriend is only 21. Her mother, a real stand up lady, isn't in her life. She'd rather do drugs. She was now an orphan. She has a 2 year old daughter that we both take care of during the week and her daughters father takes her on the weekends.

Lately her health has been absolute sh*t. Her heart rate will increase to like 120 to 135 for no reason. She will complain that her chest feels tight. She'll tell me she doesnt take normal deep breaths. She has headaches. Shes dizzy. Shes irratable all the time. She cant get out of bed in the mornings. All of these things worried me because of what we just went through with her dad and the history in her family of heart issues. I urged her to get things checked but she always refused. Now it all makes sense. I'm scared. I cried. Sobbed to her when I found out. I know that's not a good reaction. I know I should have been stronger but I'm so scared. I'm frustrated that shes just been living with these issues and knowing full well why. In a way I have some anger that she let me wonder what was happening. That she knew but continued to knowingly push her body to this point. I told her if she continues she will die. I dont know if that's too drastic to say but it's literally the truth. This disease takes so many. Although I'm hurt and angry inside I cant show that to her. I know it's not really her doing this to herself. I know it's not her fault.

Yesterday I made an appointment with a cardiologist. I called probably 10 places till I found one that could get her in, in 2 days. I screamed into my pillow halfway through because I was so stressed. I feel guilty for even thinking about myself because I'm not the one who needs any attention. She won't see a therapist or anyone who will help her with her anorexia. Which, from what I understand, is really important if she ever wants to recover. You cant treat the disorder if you dont address what is causing it.. I feel like if she starts eating healthier she will just become more unhappy as she isn't controlling that aspect and continues to see herself in a negative light. When she talks about it with me she often gets frustrated saying "you dont get it never mind" I feel like she thinks this is something that only she will ever understand and that its "her thing" or like shes special in that way. It bothers me because I'm sure her reasoning and underlying causes may differ from others but at the root of it all she has an ED and other people do as well and it's not special. She told me yesterday that if she goes to the cardiologist and everything is fine she will probably just keep doing what shes doing. This set me off. How can she know what she knows, read what she reads, see ALL THE FACTS and still want to do it. I see things as black and white. You do this and die. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next year, maybe 10. Is your whole life really worth that?? I know it's not this simple but her life isn't just her own she has a daughter. I dont know how to talk to her because I know I dont do it right anymore. I'm already horrible with communicating. I struggle with anxiety, depression and adhd and this makes things difficult for me.

"I can make all the appointments in the world, I can struggle over every word I say, but none of it means anything if you arent willing to help yourself as well. I cant sit here and watch you kill yourself over this." I told her this. I shouldn't have. I made it seem like an ultimatum but I know I cant do that. She asked if I was saying I'd leave her if she didnt stop. I said I couldnt because I know if I made that ultimatum she couldnt hold true and I'd have to. I said that her ED meant more to her than I did. She said no. This whole conversation shouldn't have happened. I feel like I messed it all up.

Shes so defense about everything if I say anything in the wrong tone the whole energy shifts and we will be arguing about something soon. It's not even about her ED just anything. I walk on eggshells. Then once I've apologized, because I want to make peace, because I want to be normal again, she will come back later and say shes sorry. It's a never ending cycle. I know it isn't her.

Lately shes been trying to justify herself and prove to me shes not in any physical trouble. She uses her bingeing to say that her body must be fine she gets nutrients. (Idk if that is true but I know her eating patterns arent okay and I know her heart issues and other signs arent normal) She tries to tell me its anxiety and stress. It's the cigarettes making her breathe weird. Its dehydration messing with her heart. Shes on her phone nonstop searching things trying to prove shes really fine. It sucks because I dont know enough about the human body or EDs to properly respond.

Lately she stays in bed long after I wake up and take care of her 2 year old (I love her toddler. I take care of and love her as my own but when she is doing less and less to help out and I'm carrying so many stresses it's taking a toll. I'm doing all the mom things, I'm on the ED research, I'm waiting on her as well as our 2 year old and I'm drained as hell. When the toddler goes to sleep I continue to do whatever my girlfriend needs and I go to bed wishing I did half of something for myself that day.)

I want the girl I fell in love with. I dont want to wonder if I can joke around and have a good day today or if I should shut my mouth and see how to act. I constantly miss her even when shes here. I'm starving for her attention and love. I will do anything for her. I will help her and care for her and do whatever I have to but I want to win this. I want to get through. I'm trying to see the light at the tunnel but idk if there even is one. Im willing to give my life to her even if that means I spend it all with not much for myself but I really hope there's a happy ending. That would be really nice.

Dear Somewhatok, welcome to

Dear Somewhatok, welcome to the forums! We would like to let you know that we slightly edited your post to remove number of calories, which are not allowed on the forums. You can review our community guidelines here. Some of the symtpoms that you described your girfriend has been experiencing may be sings of a medical emergency. 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
  • 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

We hope that your girlfriend gets the help that she needs. Please continue posting! 

Hey Somewhat

No kidding, this stuff is complicated, and is often something that's kept as a secret. It's medically and psychologically serious too, and since so little of it is ours to control, we can find ourselves freaking out in ways that don't always help the situation.
And even if we manage to stay calm, what are we supposed to do with our frustrations, and feelings of powerlessness ? So yeah, I'm glad you took the time to write.

" When she talks about it with me she often gets frustrated saying "you dont get it never mind" I feel like she thinks this is something that only she will ever understand and that its "her thing" …"

Well yes, it is her thing. If you ever get the chance to hear people with EDs discuss things among themselves, "tribal wisdom" says it's about having control. Not the sort of control that actually fixes things in any sort of practical way, but the psychologal sense of at least having control over something. In contrast to having control over not much at all.

So yes, when stressful things come up, where things in life feel beyond their control, it's not unusual to see restriction ramp up, and their condition getting worse.

"When she talks about it with me she often gets frustrated saying "you dont get it never mind" " And really, how are normal people supposed to "get it" when on the surface it seems so illogical ? It's possible that she doesn't quite get it herself. On the one hand she may understand some of it, but if she does, she may also understand that it's ultimately illogical too. Which…can be pretty crazy-making for the person.

On the other hand, it's all nice and neat. The scale goes down = I'm a good person. The scale goes up = I'm awful. This sort of black and white assessment can in some ways be a comfort, as it simplifies everything. But it's also completely unreasonable.

So yes, people with EDs often end up depressed.

And what about us ? Trust me, this is not a thing we can hope to reason the person out of. From a practical standpoint, yes; they should be seeing the doctor in response to real or potential health problems, and its' probably not wrong to put our foot down about things like that. But as far as the other parts go, much of what we can do is to try and educate ourselves, so that in some ways we actually do "get it" about the sort of world that they're living in within their minds.

Because while the person is going to be protective of their condition, on the other hand, I do think that they hope that their loved ones would "get it". And it sounds like you're working at that.

Keep writing ?


Hi. I want to welcome you to the forum and am really glad you did so you can share and get some feedback. First of all, it is okay to be upset and frustrated. You have feelings just as much as your girlfriend and you can not pretend that what is going on isn't affecting you. There may be ways to share that without placing blame, but honesty is so important in relationships and just as you are upset that she wasn't upfront with what is going on with her, you need to let her know that you are scared. That is okay and she needs to hear it. And eating disorders to kill, a lot of the times the heart isn't strong enough. I do not think it is fair that all the responsibility is falling on you. You do need you time, so if hiring a baby sitter or having her family member help out, something needs to be done so you have time for yourself. I think it is admirable that you are doing all you are doing but you do need some time for yourself. No one can force anyone to get help unless that person wants it. One can be forced to gain weight, but if they aren't ready to keep it on, they may take it back off. I am sorry she lost her father and her mom isn't there for her. There is much pain there I am sure. You have done your best researching and it is okay to be angry that she knew all along what the problem was. But that being said, she may know it, but not know it. Denial is Huge with eating disorders. So she may have all the facts in her head, but if it doesn't get into her heart, the denial is strong and little change will take place. I was there once. Dying and sick and in such denial. I am now recovered, but it took me a very long time to be able to get to where I am today. You are correct. Unless one is willing to look at why they have developed an eating disorder, the problem probably won't go away. I suggest you get yourself a counselor and support for yourself and NEDA can help you with that. Just call them or chat online with them and they can hook you up with a specialist in your area. I can tell how much you love this girlfriend of yours. She isn't "doing" this to you. She has a mental illness and needs help. But you may have to step back so she gets the help she needs. That may mean having her find some childcare so you don't have to do all of the work around the house and she may need to know there are things you won't do. This is not mean, it is actually love. It she is physically unable to do it, you may have to call 911 and tell them of her situation and have them come out and run an EKG strip on her to make sure she is okay. She may be angry but if she can not get out of bed, you may need to do something like that. I am so sorry you are going through this, but I am glad you found this forum. I hope others respond and you find this support helpful. Take care.