National Eating Disorders Association

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I don't know what to do....

My best friend has been suffering from an eating disorder for about 4 years. She has been in and out of treatment centers in San Diego as well as Denver. Each time she comes home she swears she would never be that "person" again. I have researched everything to know about eating disorders but i still just don't really know why. she is the most beautiful girl in the world and deserves to get better! i love her with all my heart and would not know what to do without her. she was able to attend my birthday party this year for the first time in years and you have no idea how happy i was to have her there. i cried reading the card she wrote me. Ana came home from Denver this January and has been doing so good. (Well I thought she was).. We had plans last night to hang out and she texted me saying she has had a horrible last few days and is not doing well. I immediately started to cry. I just don't understand... What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to give her space?

I know it can be hard


I can feel your pain and concern from your post. What an amazing friend you are. Your friend is so fortunate to have you in her life!

The 'why' behind an eating disorder is the hardest to understand. From all your research, you probably know by now that it is not about weight and vanity. It can stem from feelings of unworthiness, guilt and not deserving what life has to offer. It can be a form of self-punishment. The 'why' could come from something in her past or from a negative relationship somewhere in her life. So many factors could contribute. I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know.

In the recovery phase, relapse is very common, whether that means a bad day or a complete fall back in to the eating disorder. The bad days may come and go for a while. It's important for her to know how much you love her and want her to be around. I hope you have expressed to her all the love you have written here. Let her know how much it meant that she was at your birthday. And when she has bad days, let her know you are there for her if she wants to talk about it. When she is struggling, she needs you more than ever.

I know it is so hard to understand what she is going through. And you may never really know why she is suffering, but as long as she knows you love her, you are helping her in an important way. It can be frustrating at times to support loved ones who are suffering, so don't ever be afraid to come on here and talk about it or go to a support group to help you through.

You are an AMAZING friend! Thank you for sticking by her through all this and not giving up on her!