National Eating Disorders Association

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I'm new in the subject, and i don't know how to help

I have a girlfriend with a past of an eating disorder. She was around 16 when she started. I met her this year, her being 22. When she told me about her problem in the past, I thought it was just that, in the past. I understand that it is a life long struggle, but I really didn't think it would be a problem now. She never actually admitted that she had a disorder, (she actually seemed to get mad at the idea ) but she did tell me that she purged frequently as a teen. This was a huge step for her to even tell me or talk about it, and i was completely grateful for her honesty and trust in me. She also admitted that she still thought about it from time to time but never acted upon it because she was better now. As time went on i noticed how concerned she was with calories and food consumption. At dinner she would get little bits of food and eat very little. When she ate more than that she would be upset at how full she felt. I also noticed that she would go to the bathroom frequently and would just be in there running the water.
Today, she was acting really strange. So i asked her if she had purged recently. She said no, looked me straight in the eye and promised me she hadn't done it for years, but i know when she is lying, so i sat with her and asked her again, letting her know that I'm there for her and she told me she had, yesterday.
It scares me completely that she did that and lied to me about it. It makes me wonder if she's done it recently before today and how often she actually does purge without me noticing or her hiding it from me.
I have never dealt with something like this and i don't know how to react or help her. I'm afraid that if i suggest she gets help she will be angry or dismiss that she has a problem, but i really don't have the tools to help her myself.

Comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

You are an amazing friend!

Hi Spratt92,

You have amazing intuition about your friend and she is so lucky to have you. Even though you have never dealt with something like this before, you somehow knew instinctively that she might be engaging in ED behaviors. The fact that she opened up and admitted what happened yesterday is HUGE. She trusts you because you let her know that you are there to support her, not judge her. I hope you realize what a compliment that is to you - it's a testament to what kind of friend you are!

I know it is very scary for you to hear what she is going through and what she may be hiding. Please understand that it is not personal. I have found that the important thing is to let your friend know that you are there for her (and it sounds like you are an amazing support for her!). It can be really hard to approach someone suffering from an eating disorder, so your concern is completely valid.

Have you tried these tips from the NEDA website?

There are some good tips on how to facilitate a conversation with your friend. The fact that you even realize that she may be defensive about her eating disorder shows how intuitive you are. She trusts you enough to tell you about her ED, so you must be doing something right!

Please let me know if this helps you at all! You are an amazing friend and I have no doubt she knows this. As you did today, let her know you are there for her, that you love her and she always has a friend in you. That will mean the world to her.


I am SO glad to hear your

I am SO glad to hear your comment eghall. It is very encouraging to hear that I'm doing something right! Thank you for your kind words. Also, thank you for the website link, that is super helpful!! It is good to know that I can come here for any help or questions, and i'll be sure to post again if i have any more concerns. Again Thank You!!