National Eating Disorders Association

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Wife is bilimic

So first a little background. My wife has bulimia, anxiety, and suffers from depression. She has been parts of groups and has been in therapy as well in patient treatment. Her experiences with them were mostly negative or nonhelpful. We also have a 5 month old. Her bulimia is getting worse. She was slightly overweight when I met her but during her initial pregnancy she lost weight with morning sickness. She has always been a very picky eater but during pregnancy she ate really healthy and even branched out and ate other foods. Now she is regressing being very picky. We both believe that she is dealing with at least some form post partum depression and now her bulimia has come back amd is getting worse. She acknowledgea that its unhealthy and dangerous but its a struggle to encourage her to seek any kind of treatment. She has an appointment to see a therapist and she joined an online group. I just don't know what the next step is for her. She wants to get more medication that she had some success with in the past but she admitted that in just helped her mood not her ED. I'm trying to balance between pushing her toward treatment and being supportive and giving her room. I'm just worried that its not going to get better. I don't see how talking will help her control it. If therapy and talking about don't work what are the next steps I should encourage her to go for?

Hi Josh1027,

Welcome to the forums! It sounds like you and your wife are dealing with a lot. I think the fact that you've both come this far, and that you're still able to reach out and look for help and new resources shows your strength. I think a lot of people on these forums can relate to your experiences and your wife's experiences. EDs are complicated enough, and can be hard to treat on their own, but then when you combine them with other factors and other disorders, it can make recovery pretty challenging. But don't give up hope; remember that recovery is possible!

I'm sorry that your wife had negative experiences with therapy and other kinds of support in the past. It's great that she wants to try therapy and groups again. Sometimes looking for a therapist or other kinds of treatment and professional help is a "trial and error" process. There are all kinds of different professionals out there, and many different therapeutic techniques and treatment methods, so what works for one person may not work for another. If the things your wife is trying now don't seem to work, I would encourage her to keep looking. As others on this forum will tell you, when you find the right professional to work with or the right treatment team, it makes a huge difference. It helps if the people you're working with specialize in EDs, as that means they'll have more experience and training working with these kinds of disorders. If you want to find out about different kinds of resources and options near you, you can call or chat online with the NEDA Helpline:

Here are some other links from the NEDA site that might be useful for you and your wife: (This has a lot of great information and isn't just for parents of people with EDs!)

Please know that you're welcome to post here anytime you want advice, or even just a listening ear. We're here for you!

Thats a good point about how

Thats a good point about how she may react to therapy differently now that so much has changed in her life. That gives me hope as she is in a lot better place in life at least for the most part.

Its really hard to do active stuff with a 5 month old, but I understand your point. We will try to stay active and do stuff.
^^^ Pertains to bob's comment

I guess my biggest concern at the moment is her binging. We have made good progress with her attitude and staying positive but I don't know how to help her with the binging. She hides it from me or waits til I'm distracted with the baby or if I go to the gym. I have caught her a few times but she just denies it and makes it excuses. I don't want to push too hars because that usually ends with a fight or her crying. I have tried to help her plan her eating and make healthy choices but she never sticks to it.

Hey Josh.


It's just a fact I think : Often people simply aren't in the right place emotionally for therapy or IP to work. Maybe they weren't a good fit with their therapist, or the program didn't resonate with them, or they simply had not reached the stage in their ED where they felt like they wanted to change. Things can work out that way for all sorts of reasons it's true.

Pregnancy can be a big trigger for people with EDs too, so I really do think you have reason to be encouraged over the fact that she seemed able to eat in a healthy manner during that time. Maybe she's not eating that way now, but even so, she did show herself what was possible.

If the both of you feel that post-partem may be part of the issue, then I'd certainly be going with that. What people actually believe themselves…there's a lot of power in that.

Also, the idea that she's' willing to see a T is encouraging too. Online groups are good as well, in that they have people to speak with who are going to know exactly where the person is coming from, and that can be reassuring as well.

But I understand what you mean when it's a family member. We want to help, as that's what any caring partner would want, but how do we avoid being intrusive at the same time ? It can present a dilemma sure.

One thing to keep in mind is the value of doing normal things. If you guys used to go out to movies, or plays or engage in other activities, then I'd make sure to keep up with that, even if it takes a little arm-twisting on your part to get her to go People can really start to withdraw when ED and depression kicks in, so being the planner of normal sorts of activities which serve to keep her engaged in the world might be a good role for you to play.

Otherwise, you may have to trust that she's getting help from therapy, and some knowing support from her online group as well.

Like you said, "support" can seem like a balancing act when it comes to things like these. But we can also play valuable roles which don't always involve confronting ED directly, so we need to keep an eye out for positive opportunities in that realm as well.

Bob J.