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Old 10-16-2002, 11:10 PM   #1
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Question I really need some advice!

Hello, everyone:

As I am fairly new here, I really didn't know which string to come into, until I saw this thread.

This problem has to do with a friend of mine, and I'm not really sure how to handle the situation. For the last two weeks, I have become more and more certain that my friend (let's call her Sandy,) is bulimic. Sandy is not only a good friend of mine, but I also work with her, and I have seen her do things that have made me wonder.

I see her eat lunch in the office almost everyday; then she goes straight to the bathroom, stays there for 5 to 10 minutes, and returns. She does the same thing when we go out to lunch once a week, or when we've been over to each other's homes for dinner or lunch. The same thing happens when she has a snack (like an apple or a couple of cookies with her coffee.) Short of following her into the bathroom, I don't how to find out for sure.

I don't know much about eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia, and I'm just wondering if I'm reading too much into the bathroom trips.

The main reason I am so worried about her (besides the fear of her being bulimic, of course), is because she has just recently been diagnosed with diabetes. She's in her thirties, is losing weight, and seem's to be healthy enough - but, I'm worried about what could happen to her.

Are there other signs I should look for to confirm that she's bulimic? Should I say anything to her? Should I mention what I think to her husband? I like this woman a lot and she's been a good friend to me for over three years now....I don't want to do anything wrong that could ruin our friendship in the future.

Please advise!!

Dee
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Old 10-17-2002, 04:55 PM   #2
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Wow thats a tough one.
I think I would go to a website that deals with bulimia (sp?) and start there. Things like this could make or break your friendship. One thing I do know... Your a wonderful person to take the time to look into this for your friend. This is very serious.

But before and if you do confront her... why don't you sneak into the bathroom right after she goes in...but be discreate. Maybe you'll be able to hear her throwing up ? Make absouletly sure she is before you take another step.

Sorry I can't be of more help but I think you need to talk to a professional on how to handle this.

Huggs to you !!! Good Luck and Prayers to you and your friend.

Love, Leenie
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Old 10-18-2002, 11:53 AM   #3
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Question What is the worst thing that can happen?

I have some thoughts on this.

If she is indeed struggling with an eating disorder she probably really needs a friend.....sounds like she has a good one in you.

Asking her about it will be the beginning of stopping the secrecy which is a start....who knows maybe she has a smalll bladder.

It is a very complicated issue and there are no easy issues.....I believe in being pretty honest direct and to the point.

There must be more reasons than the ones you mentioned to make you wonder....ask her about it when it is just the two of you together on a weekend or something.

Eating disorders are so dangerous...I lived with an anorexic when we were in our early 20's....the thing that made her stop was the chance of never being able to have children as her periods had stopped...she is still addicted to exercise but she eats!

Hang in there and let us know how it goes.

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Old 10-19-2002, 02:47 PM   #4
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Default Leenie

*I've been having trouble posting in here the last couple of days, so wish me luck in getting this out to you, okay?*



Hello Leenie:
Thank you for your nice words, and yes, I did go to a couple of sites on bulimia. One of the main symptoms of this illness is sudden, frequent trips to the bathroom after eating meals -- even small snacks. This is exactly what has been happening the last couple of weeks. I don't remember her going to the washroom so much in the past.

My husband thinks I should quit worrying so much and DO something about it -- such as confront her face to face, and ask her point-blank if she has a death wish or something. This just isn't my style. Perhaps I will sit down and have a talk with her soon, but I'm not about to do it in a confrontational manner.

I just don't know -- do you think I should talk to her directly, or go to her husband and mention something? I don't want her to think I'm sneaking behind her back and telling tales to her husband........but, then again, if I mention it to her directly, she may think I've been spying on her and butting my nose in where it doesn't belong. *sigh*
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Old 10-19-2002, 03:10 PM   #5
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Hello Liz:
Thanks for taking the time to answer my post.

I also believe in being honest and direct (in almost all issues.) When it's something like an eating disorder, that I don't have much knowledge of, then I have to tread carefully. It is a serious situation, and I don't want it to all explode in my face.

Yes, I have definitely seen her do other things that seem strange.......one of these things happened yesterday at the office, by the way. One of the girl's I work with was celebrating her birthday, and we all chipped in to buy a cake, and one of those big party submarine sandwiches. I noticed that Sandy was not only eating her share of the food -- she was shoving it down as fast as she could get it into her mouth. After a while of this, she quietly slipped away, and headed towards the washrooms. One of the websites I went to mentioned "binging" and then "purging" as being definite signs of bulimia.

I have also seen her use a lot of breath spray and Visine, lately -- which is something else I've never seen her do before. Any suggestions or thoughts on this?
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Old 10-20-2002, 10:23 PM   #6
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Hi UrbanWoman,
I'm no expert on eating disorders, but I've had both anorexia and bulimia. Since it is not something that you never truly get over, I will deal with it for the rest of my life. I can tell you that there are definite signs for someone with an eating disorder. First let me explain that anorexia and bulimia are much more alike than different. Some ppl think that anorexics hate food and fat, therefore they don't eat. Not true. Anorexics love food just as much as any one of us and so much so that they are afraid to lose control. I was anorexic until I just couldn't take it anymore and then started the binge/purge cycle. Ppl with both anorexia and bulimia are extremely afraid of food. Atleast food that has been demonized...which basically means anything that is high fat such as peanut butter, chocolate, regular mayo, sour cream, etc. If your friend truly does have an eating disorder I would suggest watching for signs such as avoiding foods or social situations that involve food. Bulimics tend to eat extremely fast. If she really is purging, she will probably have bloodshot eyes, grooves(made from her teeth) on the backs of her knuckles, or maybe look like she's been crying after her trips to the bathroom. Forcing yourself to throw up is pretty rough on the body and usually gives someone a sickly look in the face. It is a touchy subject and if she does have a problem she may not be willing to face it or even be aware that she truly has a problem. I don't want to ramble on, but if you need to know anymore feel free to ask me. I have dealt with these issues for over 15 yrs now and if I can help I will. Good luck!
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Old 10-20-2002, 11:18 PM   #7
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Default Hello Kylie, please call me Dee

Kylie:

You have answered some of the very things I was wondering about -- the Visine Sandy's been using lately because of her red eyes (probably after 'purging'), the way she eats so fast (like the day of the birthday party at work -- she shoved big pieces of that submarine sandwich and cake down her throat so quickly, I was afraid she was going to choke on it.) She's a diabetic, so it made me very uneasy watching her eat that much cake.

I've never noticed any grooves on the back of her hands before, probably because I didn't know what to watch for. I have seen her come out of the washroom looking a little sickly at times, and I know she's been using a lot of breath spray and mints.

I think you've confirmed my worst fears, but I do have a question. You mentioned becoming a bulimic only AFTER going through the anorexia. Is this the norm for people with an eating disorder? As far as I know, Sandy has never been anorexic before. As you said, this is a very touchy subject, and I simply don't know how to handle it. It isn't that I'm a wimp, or afraid to take action -- I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing BEFORE I do it.

Since you have had this problem before, I will welcome any and all suggestions you may have. Thank-you so much for taking the time to speak with me on this subject! I know don't know if it was hard for you to bring those memories up, but I appreciate it all the same.

Dee
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Old 10-21-2002, 12:52 AM   #8
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Default Hi Dee, I'm Christy

First let me say that it is not a problem for me to speak about my own personal struggles. We all have them and since I've had my share, they have helped me to evolve into a kinder more compassionate person, and for that I'm grateful.
Not all of us start with anorexia. I would say it's probably more the norm for girls/women to become bulimic. Our first comfort is mom and FOOD. Then we are bombarded with it. Our entire lives revolve around food. Binge eating is not only for bulimics. If you watch television you will see series such as Golden Girls, Living Single, Judging Amy, The Gilmore Girls, and more showing women congregating in the kitchen after a stressful day "chowing down" on whole cartons of ice cream, cheesecakes, etc. I guess women are known for these behaviors. Bulimics just do it in greater quantities, at a faster pace, and then purge by throwing up, abusing laxatives, or over exercising. It certainly sounds as if your friend has a problem. I assume from your posts that you talk on a pretty regular basis. Do you ever get a chance to talk about deep emotional issues? Just sitting down and talking about "stuff" in your own life may be a start. Sharing with her your own difficulties with food, self esteem, or trials and tribulations in your life may be a way to draw her out and talk. You might want to just ask her how she's coping with everything. If that doesn't work then I would just throw it out there......in the gentlest way possible. Maybe tell her that you've noticed her struggle and that you are there if she needs to talk. Unfortunately, most ppl who have eating disorders tend to be extremely reclusive partially b/c it's natural to want to seclude ourselves in our homes where we feel safe, but also b/c of shame.
I think it's great that you have been observant and caring enough to notice. Most ppl are so caught up in there own lives that they don't want to get involved.
Please update me regularly to let me know how it's going, how she's doing, and even how YOU are dealing with all of this. This is not an easy road you have taken. It can be rather tough on the ppl who love and care for anyone with an eating disorder. I look forward to talking to you more Dee.
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:29 PM   #9
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Angry Hi Christy.

I've been trrying to get a post out to you for the last two days -- but, for some reason, this site wouldn't let me. I sure hope I can get this one out!

Your idea was a good one, Christy, and I've decided to invite Sandy over this weekend for dinner and a talk. My husband is going on a fishing trip with some buddies, and my daughter will be staying at a friend's house overnight, so we'll be alone to talk freely. I'm going to try to get everything out in the open with her, and let her know that I'm aware of her problem. She looked very pale and ill today at work, and I think she's getting worse.

Are there any eating disorder therapy groups or or sites she or I could go to for some help? I went to a couple sites myself, but they weren't very helpful, and I need to gather some more knowledge on this subject, before I try to talk with her on Saturday evening. I don't want to sound like an idiot, lose all my credibility, or put my foot in my mouth.

This is serious, and I thank-you for your advice and help. I just wish I knew how I was going to bring the subject up in the first place.
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Old 10-24-2002, 02:19 AM   #10
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Default Hi again

I wish I could help you with how to bring the subject up. I don't know....As I said before, talking about your own struggles in your life or about self esteem, food, etc. might be a way, but you will have to feel it out. I am going to a place online that is helpful. It has 24 hr chat areas so that anyone with an eating disorder can talk to someone else who is in the same boat and just have someone that understands. It is definitely pro recovery. You may want to check it out yourself. You can read up before Saturday and they even have a chat on Friday nights for friends, family, and loved ones of those suffering from ED's. Here is the link http://www.something-fishy.org/
I wish you luck with your friend. Take care.
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Old 10-25-2002, 04:33 PM   #11
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Angry Hello Christy

MSN is making 'improvements' today and tomorrow, so trying to get a post out, has become a nightmare!!


Anyway, I wanted to thank-you yesterday for the site you told me about. I have been doing some reading up on this disorder, and it scares me, because I now KNOW Sandy has it.

I am going to try a very laid-back approach tomorrow evening, and slowly lead up to what I have to say. A nice dinner, a few laughs, and then down to business. I can't put it off anymore, as Sandy has been missing too much work, and look's like a complete wreck when I do see her. If tomorrow night doesn't work out, then I guess I'll have to mention something about it to her husband (by now, he MUST know there's something wrong with her.)

Thanks for your help and support, and wish me luck....I think I'm going to need it!


Take care,
Dee
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Old 10-26-2002, 11:02 AM   #12
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Default Goodluck Dee!

I hope it goes well this evening....and please, please let me know how things went and keep me updated.
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Old 11-03-2002, 08:36 PM   #13
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Angry Sorry it took me so long to get in here!!

Hi Christy:

I didn't want you to think that I just ignored you, once I'd made up my mind what to do regarding Sandy..........I have just been so swamped at work and at home, that I've had no time for getting on the computer.

I did exactly what I said I was going to do that night. I made a nice dinner for the two of us, we laughed and told jokes -- I even allowed myself two glasses of wine (probably more for courage than for fun!!) When she ate everything she could get her hands on, then excused herself to go to the bathroom, I knew it was time to bring the subject up.

I did this, just as soon as she came back to the table. I told her I was aware that she had an eating disorder, and that she needed help. She denied everything at first, and even accused me of listening to her at the bathroom door. When I told her I wouldn't do such thing (and I never have, either,) she said that I was just trying to be a drama-queen. I told her I had enough going on in my own life without trying to look for other peoples problems, etc, etc.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up telling her that if she couldn't admit to herself she had a problem, and try to do something about it, I would have to bring the subject up with her husband and see what he had to say. She asked me not to do that, and then she started talking about it.

Turns out, most of her problems are job-related, and she feels she has to lose weight (and lots of it), in order to get anywhere in our company.) She has a point, too -- I never received any kind of promotion until I dropped all that weight, and I feel kind of guilty for being one of the catalysts that set her off (she mentioned this fact to me, too.)

She says she will get some help, and I promised to help her with the Atkins diet, if she wants to lose weight so badly. I don't know where all of this will lead, but I'm going to hope for the best.

Wish me luck, and thank-you for all of your support and help, Christy. You are a terrific person, and I hope to talk to you again soon!!
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Old 01-07-2003, 07:25 PM   #14
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She may ne just going in for privacy when she checks her blood. If she has to prick her finger to di it, she may want to be discreet. She may also have to give herself insulin shots, if she doesn't have the pump.

Be careful....it may not be what you think. Bulimic people tend to gorg and eat large quantities of food. Because they purge, they will soon not look healthy. They will come to look sickly, they are purging all of their vitamins. If they purge by vomit, they tend to have bad teeth ( from the stomach acid) and scratchy voices ( also from the acid).

She may just be taking care of her diabites though
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