National Eating Disorders Association

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Supporting my bestie

New member, hoping for support and wisdom. My best friend (known each other for 1 year), has had re-emergence of anorexia and is really struggling with it. She has been living with us (spouse and two 10 yr old boys) for 6 months now due to a dangerously abusive ex-partner who's taken her daughter. The ex has no idea who we are so we're very safe, she is working with Safeplace and has a therapist there. She is gay, so there's very little legal help for her to win parental rights, especially in the state her partner ran to. Whew! I think that history is necessary to clearly depict the incredible stressors on her.

We don't know her weight; she won't let me see the number and doesn't want to know herself. I think that's wise for her but am wondering if I as her only support should? She's lost a great deal since she's been with us so we know this is very serious. She's been hospitalized twice recently and is starting to show the same symptoms again after 1 week post discharge.

I'm feeling panicked and helpless to help her. She is on the city's indigent medical coverage (hasn't been able to work in over two years) and the ED facilities refuse to take that. I'm worried that we're looking at another ER trip; she's terrified of that and won't eat for fear that they will weigh her again.

Any advice, encouragement, and positive thoughts willing be greatly appreciated!

Hi Maiasaur,

Hi Maiasaur,
Your family is wonderful for helping her so much. It's really important to let her know she is loved and cared for and it sounds like you're doing an incredible job.

As far as advice goes, try calling NEDA at 800-931-2237 and see what kinds of treatment resources they can locate in your area. From there you might have a better idea on how to help your dear friend.

You can always ask us for advice, but we're not medical professionals. We can only point you toward potential resources and support you as you support her.

Thank you for posting, you're doing a wonderful thing.

Thanks so much, Brooke125! I

Thanks so much, Brooke125! I think I just needed to get the panic out a little bit. There are no resources available yet, but we're still looking. I think the next few weeks are going to be very hard with getting on board with the medical and psych teams in the city's health care scene. She's terrified, but so brave.

I have anxiety about how her health is affecting my boys; but I wonder if most of it is my fear for her. Does anyone have similar family situations? We've talked to them about her heart problems amd that she's not able to eat. Any advice oit there for other conversations?

Hi Maiasaur!

Hi Maiasaur!

I'm not a medical professional, but I'm worried about your friend's overall health, but most specifically her chest pains. I think medical intervention should happen sooner rather than later and a trip to the ER, or a phone call to 911, is the most prudent option. You and your friend are so incredibly brave and strong that I can't see any way she won't move past this and adopt a healthy lifestyle once again. It seems like she is doing everything she can to handle her stressors, but a counselor and team of professionals for a full recovery is a good idea for her.

Please keep us updated on her progress!

My daughter's best friend just told her she is anorexic

My daughter came home from school today in tears because her best friend (I'll call her B) of 3 years just told her today that she is anorexic. She has no idea what to do to help B. B assured her that she told her mother and her doctor and that if she continues to lose weight, they will have to get her a therapist. This did not make much sense to me, because as far as I know, therapy and perhaps even in-patient help is a big part of overcoming this. I told my daughter that all she can do is be there and listen to B. I advised her to tell the school nurse, as she would talk to B's parents. My daughter said she would rather I call her mom and make sure she IS AWARE of the situation. Meanwhile, my daughter has no idea what to say or not say to help support her friend. Any advice would be very helpful. Thank you.

Hi DebraB,

About two years ago, I found myself in almost the exact same situation as your daughter. I was scared, overwhelmed, and felt helpless, and just wanted my best friend to get better. Unfortunately, there's no training manual for these kinds of things, but I learned a lot throughout her journey to recovery.

The most important thing I did for my friend was remind her that I was there for her and that she could always come to me with anything. Your daughter may feel like she's not making much of a difference at times, but I can assure you that B will benefit greatly from knowing she has someone to go to with anything. Fortunately, I was able to convince my friend to talk to her parents about seeing a therapist, and I definitely think that was a very important step. Professional help is irreplaceable in a situation like this, so I think it's very important that B's mom knows what is going on, regardless of how she finds out.

I highly suggest you and your daughter go through this link together: NEDA has a lot of valuable information on their website for all parties involved, and I truly think you'd both benefit from looking through them.

Finally, remind your daughter that it is not her responsibility to take care of B. Feelings of guilt can often come along with the feelings of helplessness, and it is so important to reassure your daughter that she's there for her friend and that's truly all she can do. Of course she wants to help her friend, but your daughter's well-being should always be her first priority. Please make sure to remind her of that.

Please keep us updated on this situation!