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    Old 06-09-2006, 06:17 PM   #1
    thedifference
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    living with an anorexic

    Hi,

    We have had a ‘recovering’ anorexic, bulimic and body dysmorphic girl move into our flat to live with her boyfriend. She has been here around about two months. In this time, we (the other 5 members of the flat) have not seen her eat.

    I have asked her about this an she says she eats when she is out in the afternoons, that she can’t eat a lot of food varieties because she is pescatarian (or something similar), cant eat bread or similar, and that she does eat just not in front of anyone (dubious).

    I have also been told some ‘facts’ by her and am wondering whether they are true – when she was 1st diagnosed she was told that is she ate an apple she would gain 2 pounds because her metabolism was so slow, that she has to walk after every meal for it to digest, she has the metabolism of an extremely obese woman and so can’t eat anything that ‘sits heavy’ in her stomach e.g., that’s not veges/salad.

    At meal times she sits on the couch and reads magazines (such as Vogue etc, the type with far too thin models) while we eat, like it is normal. As we are all girls who are, at times, conscious of our weight this in turn makes us conscious of what we eat.

    What can we do? I have talked to her about it but there appears to always be an excuse – if I ask her to make some meals to freeze then have them with us she says she doesn’t like cooking only for herself, if we cook something vegetarian or similar its ‘no thanks’ and if we ask her to cook us a meal so that she can have it with us she says that we wont consider it to be real ‘food’ because its pescatarian/salad/similar. Once though she did make a salad for our side and ate maybe ½ a small bowl which was encouraging.

    This has escalated to when the other day I said I don’t believe she is eating in town, as she has lost weight (is –and always was- rail thin, just more so now). Her boyfriend (who said he didn’t want anything to do with it, to talk to her about it, didn’t want to know if there was actually a problem etc) has gotten incredibly fired up over this confrontation.

    I am at a loss of what to do next. Does this sound like there may be a problem or have I brought up something that is not really an issue?

    Some advice on how to approach this would be EXTREMELY appreciated as I don’t have any prior experience of dealing with/approaching an eating disorder.

     
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    Old 06-10-2006, 04:37 AM   #2
    firewtr38
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    Re: living with an anorexic

    Hey there
    I would definitely say there's a problem there. The thing is, there's not much you can actually do. She has to want to change and it sounds like she doesn't. You've brought it to her attention that you know it seems. All you can really do is offer to be there to listen or help her if and when she wants it. There's really not too much else. It makes people feel really helpless but the thing about an ED is that nobody can do anything except the person themselves. People can make suggestions, give opinions, offer treatment, etc, etc. But the person has to be willing to take it or at such a dangerous weight that they need to be hospitalized or that kind of thing.
    It's hard to watch but you're really doing all you can. Just being aware, offering to help and offering to listen.

    Hang in there

     
    Old 06-21-2006, 10:51 AM   #3
    juicy*lucy
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    Re: living with an anorexic

    Hi thedifference,

    I read the title of this thread and thought I had to read it. I'm a recovering anoretic/bulimic with, I'm prety sure, body dysmorphia as well. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live with one of us, so let me try to explain a few things about your housemates behaviour, and perhaps you could post about what would make it easier to live with one of 'us'? I live at home but will be moving in with my boyfriend in a year or so when he finishes uni and I really want to make it so I'm not hell to live with.

    Okay..first off, you said you were 'dubious' about this girl not eating around you. I first developed anorexia 10 years ago and I still find it incredibly difficult to eat in front of people I don't know too well. I've known my boyfriend's housemates for nearly two years and I won't eat in front of them. I've been in my job for a year and I really struggle to eat lunch with them - (salad yes, sandwich no.) We are generally very competitive and feel we must eat less than everyone else around us, otherwise we are a failure. I'm not saying it makes sense but I think most anoretics would agree with that mentality.

    Secondly, her 'facts'. These are obviously a bit screwed up, but the digestive system of an eating disordered person (recovered or not) are often screwed up too. I've been in recovery for a while now but I've only recently got into the minefield that is putting on weight when you've eaten 500 calories in a day because your metabolism really has slowed down and your body is trying to hold on to every bit of food it can get, the food allergies that suddenly appear (wheat is a common one) and have every digestive problem under the sun from bloating to severe discomfort and week-long constipation. So although I wouldn't believe perhaps the extremity of her words, understand that she may well believe it and what she says will have a degree of truth in it.

    The reading magazines thing...she's probably comparing herself to them all, picking out which one's she's thinner than and which ones are still 'beating' her in the thin is the winner contest. We all do it but that doesn't mean to say it's healthy for us. If you have those sorts of magazines try to keep them out of her way so she doesn't gorge on the pictures. If she doesn't have anything to read maybe she'll join in the dinnertime conversation too.

    You mentioned the excuses...my god, we will always have an excuse for everything. She's making these excuses out of fear. She's only known you for a couple of months and is probably scared witless that you won't like her. She needs to settle in and feel comfortable before she'll start to open up, help out with meals and at some stage, I hope, eat with you all. It's weird I know but the way I feel at mealtimes is this: everyone is watching me eat, I may look stupid, they'll think I'm stuffing my face, I don't deserve food, they'll all judge me and hate me because I'm such a greedy fat pig. It doesn't make any sense but it's fear that's causing it. Some people get shy when they're nervous, some people talk to much, have anxiety attacks or blush. Recovering anoretics don't eat when they're uncomfortable, so when she starts to relax because she knows you a bit better, you may well find she starts to eat with you too.

    My god, this is a mammoth post. Sorry about that. I hope it helps some. I would say don't talk about it too much with her or behind her back. Try to include her, perhaps even in the cooking (even if she won't eat anything you've cooked) and don't alienate her just because she doesn't appear to eat. And please remember that she isn't a better person than you because she doesn't eat - it must be difficult eating when someone else refuses to, but people like us are not to be envied. Trust me, if there's one thing we don't need and don't deserve it's envy.

    xxx J*L xxx

     
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