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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Apr 23

Helping a Bulimic Friend

Posted By iamincontrol | April 23, 2013


By Maggie Helping a bulimic friend

The hardest thing I have ever had to do is confront my very best friend who was bulimic. It was my junior year in high school. I found out from one of my other friends who had heard her throwing up in the bathroom after we had dinner one night. She said that she didn’t feel like it was her place to say something, so she told me as her best friend. I was so scared to say something to her because I didn’t want her to be mad at me. I did not want our friendship to change. I wanted to put off confronting her, but I knew every day I waited it would get worse. I knew I had to say something because I could not just sit there and watch my best friend get hurt.

After school the next day I asked her if she wanted to go to our favorite coffee shop to just hang out. We sat there for a long time just talking about the normal stuff until I got silent for a minute. I didn’t know how to bring it up, I didn’t really know what to say. Finally, I said it. “E, I know you are making yourself throw up.” She was completely caught off guard. We sat in silence for a long time, both of us not knowing what to say next. After a couple minutes, she asked how I knew. Then I knew what I had to do. For the next hour I explained how much I cared about her, how I could not just watch her hurt herself, and how I would do anything to help her. She agreed to get help, and the next day we went to the counselor at our high school to see what steps to take to recovery.

When talking to your friend, here are some things to remember:

  • Tell them how much you care
  • Assure them all you want is for them to be healthy
  • Always be positive
  • Never accuse

I would be lying if I said she lived happily ever after. The problem has reoccurred, but now I know the signs and I can help her. I thought confronting my friend would hurt our friendship, but it did the opposite. We are even closer now, and I know we can talk about absolutely anything. If any of you are ever in this situation, it is very important to talk to your friend about the problem.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder yourself, please call the Teen Line at 1-800-443-8336.

For more information on eating disorders, visit the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa website or the TeensHealth page on eating disorders.