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girlfriend was diagnosed with anorexia today

(17 Posts)

I'm a recovered anorexic/bulimic. It is definitely not your fault and you haven't failed her. It's very internal - going round and round in your own head - and nothing anyone else says or does makes any difference, so please don't blame yourself.

Twinklestein Thu 14-Nov-13 17:29:34

One of my best & oldest friends had anorexia, I've been on the journey with her so to speak. (I say had, she still has issues in her early 40s). I also know 3 other women (not close friends of mine) who suffered from anorexia growing up.

Your gf is not likely to end up as an NHS inpatient unless her BMI is so low as to be immediately life threatening.

If she has private health insurance, she could go to a private clinic like the Priory or other smaller specific Eating Disorder units. If she has the option of a private clinic I would take it, as NHS provision for EDs is patchy.

After years of ineffective NHS outpatient treatment, it was 3 months in the Priory that turned my friend's anorexia around.

Anorexia is a very difficult disease for friends and family because the sufferer will often turn on them when they try to help. If this happens try to remember that is not your girlfriend, it is the disease talking. It is also rarely about food or body image, it is usually about a feeling of a loss of control in someone's life. Food becomes something the sufferer can control when everything else seems to be spiralling out of control.

You haven't failed her as the sufferers hide it, and lie about it. I think most are ashamed to tell people as MH issues are the last taboo. Just be there for her, don't judge her, try not to get frustrated if she has a bad day and doesn't reach her targets, and remember recovery is slow and has to come from her.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Nov-13 07:29:17

I have quite some experience with EDs unfortunately. Indirect... I'm not a sufferer. I disagree with the 'feelings not food' above in one important regard. It is a mental condition very much so, but it is also nutrition-related. i.e. Lack of nourishment and energy triggers the chemical imbalance in some that causes the mental condition which then leads the sufferer to reject food. One of the in-patient treatments therefore is to set up a regular 'little and often' eating schedule. Many who recover will tell you that, even though they find this very stressful to begin with, there comes a point where the 'fog clears' (common phrase) i.e. their body is starting to get adequate nutrition, and they feel more stable.

If your friend has been offered in-patient care, they should grab it with both hands. Specialist services are comparatively thin on the ground.

VashtaNerada Thu 14-Nov-13 07:28:42

I'm no expert but I think you should see your role as the person she can be honest with, rather than the person who can cure her. If she feels she can tell you honestly what she has and hasn't eaten that day without any judgement or recrimination from you, it will help her be honest with herself about what's really going on.

twentyoneagain Thu 14-Nov-13 07:22:11

This is a fantastic website full of valuable information

members.feast-ed.org/ and their forums - www.aroundthedinnertable.org/?forum=136439

The sites are for parents and carers of anorexia patients. Your girlfriend is lucky to have you but if inpatient care has been suggested then it probably means that it is desperately needed.

something2say Thu 14-Nov-13 07:06:18

We used to have a poster about eating disorders where I used to work. It said 'Its about feelings, not food.' Thought I'd share x

ChateauCollapso Wed 13-Nov-13 22:25:04

Don't think as far as Christmas. It's a long way off. One day at a time for you both.

ninjaturtlemichealangelo Wed 13-Nov-13 21:53:19

Thanks everyone. Will have a look at that site Chateau, thanks. My main worry is how she's going to cope with Christmas whether she ends up as an inpatient or an outpatient at the moment, not exactly brilliant timing.

Joysmum thank you for sharing that, really helps to know that. Hope you're now recovering.

ChateauCollapso Wed 13-Nov-13 21:15:17

joysmum Thank you for sharing that eating disorders aren't due to other people's behaviour. I wish you well thanks

Joysmum Wed 13-Nov-13 20:35:34

Poor you and everyone else this affects.

I have had time where my binge eating has got hugely out of control. That's not a reflection of the people around me failing in any way. I'm very grateful that they've not judged me, just loved me.

She's very lucky to have you, don't blame yourself, you will get lots of help on here flowers

ChateauCollapso Wed 13-Nov-13 20:27:58

You haven't failed her at all. The fact that she has sought help is a good sign otherwise she would've carried on hiding her problem. She will need you to support her now although it must be subtle. It will be hard for you because the only person who can turn this around is her. It may be very frustrating for you but just follow her lead. It will take her a while to discover the best way to deal with it & it's hard for the people who are close to deal with it. Maybe the b-eat site could be helpful to you.

ammature Wed 13-Nov-13 20:21:50

Don't have any experience of this but a friend has just told me she is anorexic so just want to say hi and watch this thread. I'm sure someone with experience will be along soon. Your lovely too care so much, and you can't blame yourself.

ninjaturtlemichealangelo Wed 13-Nov-13 20:17:34

Thanks. She's been reluctant to accept any support from anyone so far, I'm hoping this is going to be what she needs to get some help. I've been worried about her for a while now, while I knew she was underweight I didn't realise how serious it was. Feel like I've failed her a bit sad

ChateauCollapso Wed 13-Nov-13 19:30:06

How lovely of you to be concerned & post here. She'll need your support. She probably knows she's anorexic but now it's confirmed she knows she'll have to confront it. I hope it all works out for you both.

ninjaturtlemichealangelo Wed 13-Nov-13 19:18:32

Have NCed. It's been a long time coming, in a lot of ways it's a relief to get a diagnosis. We've only been together a few months but were close friends for years before that. In patient care has been suggested but DP has a daughter from a previous relationship and is understandably worried about how this is going to affect her. Think she's still in denial about it all at the moment in all honesty. Not entirely sure why I'm posting really.

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