SageModeAustin

how do i help someone with an eating disorder

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theres this girl im seeing and she has an eating disorder. id like to talk to someone who actually has an eating disorder so i could talk to them about it because when she opens up to me she is embarrassed especially since we both like each other so its a slow process, but id like to be fully equipped and know everything i can about it. ive researched lots on it already and have a very good idea of how serious this disorder is but id like to be able to talk to someone who actually has it 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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Try to help her in the simple ways you know how, but otherwise just be encouraging and supportive for her to get professional help elsewhere.

It's not your job to fix her or save her. That dynamic can get real weird and eventually unhealthy, trust me I know from experience.


"Your mind can never change, unless you ask it to. Lovingly rearrange, the thoughts that make you blue."

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7 minutes ago, Roy said:

Try to help her in the simple ways you know how, but otherwise just be encouraging and supportive for her to get professional help elsewhere.

It's not your job to fix her or save her. That dynamic can get real weird and eventually unhealthy, trust me I know from experience.

This is very true. Get professional help. You can talk to people with the disorder though too. But your knowledge should be geared toward harm reduction for them not controlling someone’s life to make them heal or actualize... I’ve tried that so many times. It doesn’t work. Let them pull themselves up, and be there to help in ways you know how to like this guy said. You don’t have to be some mastermind psychologist for her. Just helping with laundry, or complimenting her when she tries something new with her make up... there are so many simple but meaningful ways to support someone. 


You mistake my Raja Yoga. 

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I'm recovering from an eating disorder.  Each person's experience is different.

It's a good sign that she does open up about it at all because it's an embarrassing thing for many people. Your ability to help her will depend on the type of eating disorder she has (anorexia, bulimia, etc) and the severity of it. I.e if it's really severe, like she's deathly underweight or throwing up every day, gently encourage her to see a therapist or reach out to an eating disorder support group, (Eating Disorders Anonymous is a good resource) but don't push the issue simply because that can make matters worse. 

 

I know you said you really like her, but a girl with an eating disorder is going to have other, potentially serious, emotional problems and a lot of baggage so be aware of that. 


"You Create Magic" 

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Posted (edited)

https://oa.org/

The link ^^ to overeaters anonymous. It's for all eating disorders (including bulimia, anorexia,  etc), although the focus tends to be overeating. It runs very much like AA meetings. You can use the search function for meeting.

Edited by Ananta

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@Roy yes trust me i know i do NOT play that role thank god for research 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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@Flowerfaeiry hey, yes thankyou for your response. im aware that eating disorders and eating are just the surface, and its really an emotional issue deep deep down. i dont ask her about it only when she mentions it , when shes suffering ill tell her supportive ideas like there is people that recover, i try not to tell her what to do or blame her for anything. but anyways i kinda wanna know what it feels like to have an eating disorder..it sounds similar to OCD


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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@BipolarGrowth yes im aware that this is out of my league and i need to let the professionals handle this. ive tried to fix people before and it always ends so terribly lots of resentment and frustration on both sides at the end of the day. totally unhealthy , but yes thanks for your feedback. ill do what i can with encouragement, being there for her etc. 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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7 hours ago, SageModeAustin said:

I kinda wanna know what it feels like to have an eating disorder..it sounds similar to OCD

It consumes your life. Even if it's not that severe. I would think about food  -all- the time. Planning my meals, stressing about what to eat, feeling anxious or unsettled after eating and then starting that cycle all over again. If there's physical pain around eating that can make things more difficult. It kind of is like OCD because you're always obsessing about food in one way or another.


"You Create Magic" 

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@SageModeAustin I used to have a client with binge-eating disorder. The poor girl would eat over 5000 calories for dinner. Her obsession had nothing to do with food and everything to do with a traumatic past. I had to refer her on to a specialist. 

Don't try to heal someone's trauma if you don't know what you are doing. Keep loving her and help her find professional help. It needs to be a qualified professional in obesitology and eating disorder but alongside that she may benefit from speaking to someone to help if there is an emotional trauma or negative beliefs around food. Most likely there is a big shadow that fears something, perhaps a body-shaming past. 


MY WEBSITE  I'm a certified nutritionist & health coach. I help men who struggle with chronic health problems, to remember what happy & healthy feels like. 

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@Flowerfaeiry @Michael569 how do i balance being there for her without treating her like a child? ive done this in the past and it brings up lots of resentment 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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9 hours ago, SageModeAustin said:

how do i balance being there for her without treating her like a child? ive done this in the past and it brings up lots of resentment 

Do you see her as a child in a way? As less than you a bit? If so, that's gonna be a tough one to overcome. The best thing would be to be there for her when she comes to you. Cry with her when she cries, listen with your undivided attention, give your advice if she asks for it. But if she doesn't bring it up, don't try and fix her. 


"You Create Magic" 

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@Flowerfaeiry 100%. Good I have the right mindset then cause everything you said is what I thought too. No I don’t see her like a child. It’s just that when you comfort/help someone sometimes they can get angry because they feel embarrassed or somehow weak afterwards. Not saying she’s like that but yeah. 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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First of all, she’s really lucky to have someone who cares so genuinely about helping. That’s great!

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Depending on how “deep” the “condition” runs, everything that has to do with her body and food (behaviour) can be a touchy subject. The best thing there is to just lead by example: Eat healthy, balanced meals regularly even if she doesn’t participate. Don’t make her wrong for her food choices, but gently encourage her to join you. Just be relaxed about food around her.
  • Loosen all ties around food and avoid diet language. So no more talks about “reward foods”, “cheat meals”, “making up for stuffing ourselves”, etc.
     
  • Show her that she’s much more than the condition she’s struggling with. Focus on other qualities of her that have nothing to do with her body or food. Give her compliments and encourage her plenty. Could be about how passionate she’s a work, how good of a listener she is, how caring she is towards other people, how bright of a light she is to you… You get the gist;) See that struggle. of hers as a small part, don’t overemphasise it.
  • Also just focus on other fun things to do together. Take her mind off the issue. If she doesn’t want to go to a restaurant because that’s a difficult situation for her, just say “Great. Let’s go for a hike then. No big deal ^_^
  • In general, an ED can be scary when having a new partner. Getting undressed in front of you might be really difficult for her. Going swimming or to restaurants might make her really uncomfortable. If these things ever come up, don’t ever force her to do something she’s uncomfortable with. That would cross a serious boundary. Just say something like “That’s fine, we’ll find something else to do. I don’t care what we do, I just enjoy spending time with you.” ^_^
     
  • Some no-brainers are of course: Don’t joke about the condition, don’t ever mention her weight, don’t compare her to other girls.
  • Tell her that you love her and that you think she looks beautiful regularly.
     
  • You could sit down with her and tell her “Hey, I just want you to know that I’m on your side in this. If you ever wanna talk, just know that I’m here for you. I can’t say I understand what you’re going through but I’m willing to listen to it all. Now or whenever. If there’s anything I can do to support you in this, don’t hesitate to let me know. I love you.”
     
  • As has been said so many times, you’re not here to safe her. Encourage her to get professional help. Set proper boundaries for yourself on what you can and want to deal with. Don’t blame yourself if she falls back. You’re not her therapist and can’t fix things for her. People can, in the end, only safe themselves.

If you’d like to talk/chat, anytime man:) Best of luck!


My website: The Inward Morning

Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est

 

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@flume wow. Great post. I’ve done a lot of what you said already. And I made a grave error of joking about the eating condition in the past. But I’ve also done a lot of the good things you said like I may not understand it but I’m here to listen etc etc. ?everything you said is so spot on that I just may as well just use this as a guide to remember. yeah I figured she might get nervous when more intimate. So I gotta be really careful and not push it, take things slowly. how about in terms of space? Do people with eD usually want more space from you? 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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@flume also i heard that telling her she looks beautiful triggers them..so like its better to compliment their personality, mind, etc 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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Posted (edited)

I look back on times when my ex tried helping me with my eating disorder and it makes me feel humiliated. I hate that he was subject to it and it makes me sick to think he saw something in me that I couldn't control. Yet, at the same time, I appreciate his care for me. I know it was coming from a place of love and not judgment but I can't help but feel embarrassed when attention was on it. 

Edited by Gianna

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Check out Brene Brown's work, talks and books on the topic of shame. 


My Youtube Channel- Light on Earth “We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”― Robert Frost

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@Gianna yes i can see that. i  prioritize empathy over sympathy so she doesn't feel somewhat humiliated. my mom always gave me overt sympathy with struggles i had and it did not help. whenever she brings it up i try to keep my roles as to just be there for her and encourage recovery from professionals and that it is POSSIBLE to recover if you get help. this way the dynamic doesn't become hero savior/victim toxic dynamic. 


Your intuition is your own personal genie.  Learn to trust that infinite intelligence.

 

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I'm recovering from/struggling with ED at the moment while also seeing someone, you can PM me if you want :) 

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