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How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

To anyone reading this, firstly, thank you for taking the time.

 

I'm here in a desperate attempt for any advice or guidance on how to help my girlfriend with her eating disorder. I will try to nutshell the story with the key points otherwise I may end up writing a novel on the topic, but basically the situation is this. When we first started dating she was at a very healthy weight and never had health problems before in her life, until we hit a rather large speed bump in our relationship and we broke up for about 6 months. I guess she began to punish herself and hate herself so she stopped eating and when she did she would throw it up, then she started forcing it and its since become an addiction. We were not in contact then and I did not know this was happening, but now we have been back together for about 9 months and she is still doing it. She takes laxatives, sees herself as fat or disgusting when there is barely anything left of her, and she has been hiding the severity of the situation from me. She has been telling me that she's eating and keeping it down and on the road to recovery, and being the fool that I am I believed her and took her word for it.

 

The other night she had a couple of drinks and let it all out. She told me she has a problem and that I didn't understand just how bad she was and that she wanted help. I told her I would do anything to be by her side and help her through this and she agreed to see someone, but since then, the sober her now only says things like "I don't have a problem" and "I'm going on a diet tomorrow to lose 3kgs because I'm getting fat" and bluntly refuses to seek any sort of help.

 

She has a 3 year old son from a previous relationship, who I love as my own and I fear this will be the death of her and I honestly don't know what to do to help. I beg and plead for her to seek help, but she is in denial about her problem. She blames me for what she is going through, and says that if we didn't break up none of this would have ever happened. Most of the time she won't even talk about it and just gets angry at me and screams if I bring it up. 

 

Everyone, her friends, family, yells at her "Go eat a cheese burger you look disgusting" which I think is a very wrong way to approach this and makes it so much worse. I'm the only one who doesn't yell, I try to tell her that she is beautiful, not disgusting but that she needs to get to a healthy weight and that she needs to fix this for health reasons, not superficial ones. I try to tell her to use our little man as motivation to get better because he needs his mother alive and well, and if she won't get help for herself to do it for him. She is an amazing mother and I know she loves him more than anything, but honestly that isn't making any difference either. Nothing I say does. 

 

I want to marry this girl, and spend the rest of my life with her, and I will do whatever it takes to see her get better. Maybe a support group of some sort might be the way to go, that way I can come too and she doesn't have to do it alone? I don't know, It's 5am and I'm writing this and have been up all night reading trying to educate myself more on how to help. 

 

Any advice I can get will be really appreciated, as I said I am very desperate and lost and I can't lose her like this. 

Thank you again to anyone who has read this far, it means everything to me.

 

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

first of all, you sound amazing mr jedi !
she's definitely lucky to have you by her side.

i sure don't have the cure all but i think reiterating the benefits of seeking help is really important. hopefully with your honesty and good intentions she'll realise how important it is for her to get some assistance. not only for herself but for you as well.

i know it's a leap but would she even consider just one session with a professional ?

i like your idea about a support group Smiley Happy

keep us posted. i'm sure lots of people will have lots of great tips for you so keep an eye out for some really good advise

good luck !

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

Thank you so much for replying, fosterthepeople Smiley Happy

 

Basically she went to her doctor who told her she has to get professional help because if she is on this path for much longer, her kidneys are going to start failing or her heart will just give out. So she went to some therapist who apparently was of no help at all and she refuses to go back and seems to have it in her head that if one couldn't help then it's just no use. I know she doesn't want to go to a clinic because she doesn't want to be away from her son, which is understandable but things can't go on this way either. 

 

She is obsessed with exercise, counting calories and says she deserves to be happy and this is the only thing that could make her feel happy and beautiful. She says that she is afraid if she puts on weight that I'll leave her for someone skinnier .... ? I told her this is just ridiculous and that I would never do that and that I actually miss her curves but she won't listen. I also told her that there are other ways for her to be happy, she has me and her son and that I'd do anything to make her happy but she says there is nothing I can do. I feel so useless, she's only 23, I'm only 25 and I feel like this should be the best years of our lives, not like this. I'm currently finishing my last week of uni, I'm trying so hard to get a good job so I can support her and our bub so they have a good life. She wants to be a stay at home mum and I am completely supportive of that, but in order to support 3 of us I need a decent job so I can afford a good home. I haven't slept more than 2 hours a night in the last 2 months because of study so I can graduate with decent grades and hopefully jump right into the work field, but she sees me studying as neglect and selfishness. Even her mother does, her mother fuels that too. Last night her mother was drunk and started yelling at me while I was on the phone to my girl. She said "She is lonely and if you don't come and spend some time with her soon I hope she goes back to her ex" (Her son's deadbeat useless father).  I wish they could see that everything I'm doing is for her and the baby, and not just for me. 

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

Hi Jedi,

 

Good on you for coming to seek help here. I agree with FTP, it sounds like your girlfriend is really lucky to have you looking out for her. I just wanted to quickly point you in the direction of The Butterfly Foundation for eating disorders (http://www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/) who may be able to help you. There is information available on the website about support groups (I think they are all in Sydney though), a helpline that you can call and links to other organisations that may be able to help. I agree with FTP, if you could get her to see a professional I think that would be a big help. I see that you've said that she's already seen a therapist and she didn't think it was much help, but often people need to see a few different people before they find someone they click with so keep on encouraging her try again. If she's not keen on face-to-face help she could also call or have an online chat with Kids Help Line (http://www.kidshelp.com.au/) or eheadspace (https://www.eheadspace.org.au/) as both services are available to young people up to the age of 25. You might also like to check out one of those services because they might be able to give you some ideas and help on what to do next.

 

I'm not really sure what else to say but I really hope that you can get her some help soon. Smiley Happy

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

Thank you so much for that I really appreciate it, I will give them a call today. For some reason those links don't work and I'm just getting a 404 error but I will Google the organisations and find the contact numbers. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, this place is really great Smiley Happy

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

Hi Jedi

Good advice and links there from fosterthepeople and delicatedreamer.
And good on you for being such a great partner!

Those links aren't working because they accidentally include a ) at the end. Just remove that and it'll be fine.

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

@Jedi: No worries. Oh, I'm sorry about the links! As Lex pointed out it looks they're picking up the ) and the . when you click on them which is why they're not working. Once you remove those they should be good! Smiley Happy
@Lex: Thanks for working out the links! I didn't realise that would happen!

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

I really can't thank you all enough for taking the time to reply and give me advice. The more I read about eating disorder symptoms the more I realise how serious it all really is with her, and it's absolutely terrifying... But thanks to you guys, I don't feel like I'm just in my own head about it all the time. It's such a big thing to know I can turn somewhere for help and advice, you really made a difference and gave me hope. 

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

@Jedi: I'm glad to hear that coming to RO has made a difference for you, it really is an awesome place Smiley Happy. I really hope your girlfriend gets the support she needs. Take care Smiley Happy

Re: How do I help my anorexic girlfriend?

just read your other long post Jedi.

the more you post the more of an amazing person you sound Smiley Happy