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Work Eating Disorder issue?

(11 Posts)
hmmmmthinking Sun 18-Oct-15 17:32:52

Posting here as have never used this site before and badly need advice from adults on this situation, please feel free to move or delete this thread if not in the right place!!

I'm 17 and work in an upmarket kitchen store, we sell electricals, utensils and kids food prep, such as clip top lunchboxes and meal time accessories for young kids.

My dilemma involves a customer who happens to be a friend of mine, she's in the year below me so would be 16 going on 17 and has previously suffered from a severe eating disorder which after a stay in an inpatient facility for 8 months has been deemed physically safe weight wise to leave and become an outpatient. Although she is physically healthier weight wise now I know she isn't mentally, and lately has been expressing a desire to relapse and begin dieting again as she feels she is getting fatter again.

My issue is she has requested I buy her a meal separation tray, which is a tray meant for babies learning to distinguish between different food groups with small not even hand sized compartments where separate foods can go and not be mixed together behind her parents back, which I honestly have no desire to do whatsoever as I feel it will do her no favours whatsoever in terms of recovery and I do not like the idea of going behind her parents back who I know were deeply affected by the discovery of the eating disorder and struggled very much coming to terms with it. The problem is she will not stop bugging me about it even though I have told her countless times no as I don't want to (I tried to be impartial in the way I worded it to her as I don't want her thinking I'm encouraging her by doing it, ie I've said I'm busy and can't or I forget etc, basically making excuses not to do it!) and will regularly come into my store and ask if I have it and interrupt me when serving customers demanding that she urgently needs it.

I honestly don't know what to do. I'm at my wits end as it hurts me as although I am not close as a best friend to her I would consider her a good friend and it's difficult to see her slipping back into difficulty and I'm powerless to help. The reason I'm posting in AIBU is that she regularly interrupts me when I'm training and working and I feel like if she doesn't stop I will to tell her parents for the sake of my job and her own safety and I'm not really sure whether I should as I don't want them thinking I'm interfering or overreacting?? AIBU by betraying her trust or would it be the best thing to ignore the worry of losing the friendship to put her health first?

Knottyknitter Sun 18-Oct-15 17:40:31

Tell her you won't be getting it and why you're worried. Explain you're more concerned about her health than the friendship in the short term, let's face it she'll be cross. Make sure she knows you're going to tell her parents. Maybe offer to go with her to tell them? They may already suspect but need to know to help her.

I might also explain situation to your boss before she next causes a scene.

19lottie82 Sun 18-Oct-15 17:40:31

I'm a bit confused as to why she has get you to get it? Can she not go into the shop, or another shop, and buy it without your assistance. Do you think maybe she's passively asking for your help with her eating disorder, I.e. Looking for someone to talk to?

personally, I would speak to her parents and voice your fears, but I appreciate this might be harder for you as she is one of your peers.

That aside it looks like you have three choices

1) bluntly tell her no, and for her to stop bothering you in work as she will get you in to trouble.
2) buy it for her
3) sit her down and tell her no, as you're worried about her, and ask if she wants to talk

I guess the "best" one would be 3, but do you have the time / energy, to take on this girls problems?

19lottie82 Sun 18-Oct-15 17:41:10

And YY to telling your boss.

GabiSolis Sun 18-Oct-15 17:42:09

Is it possible she's reaching out to you for some support (in a warped sort of way)? Otherwise wouldn't she just walk in and buy it herself?

With regards to your concerns about her, is there a trusted sibling of hers that you could talk to? Or maybe a mutual friend to see if they have seen any relapse signs?

Seeyounearertime Sun 18-Oct-15 17:44:00

Have you thought that maybe it would help her?
A lot of people have issue with food touching each other, that's one of the reasons they make these trays. It even has a proper name and everything: Brumotactillophobia. smile
If you really don't want to buy her one, tell her so and suggest she get one for herself from Amazon etc.

Yellowaveo59 Sun 18-Oct-15 17:46:31

I agree with Gabisolis I think she wants you to intervene. She could if she really wanted to purchase the tray herself. Is there someone in RL you could mention this to?

Axekick Sun 18-Oct-15 17:57:09

What's stopping her walking in and buying it herself? Or ordering it off the internet?

hmmmmthinking Sun 18-Oct-15 18:07:56

Thank you for all of the responses! As for her passively asking me for help we're close enough that she will come to me if she needed anything, I guess it could be an extreme cry for help but in regards to the eating issue I know practically everything due to a previous situation I had been in where she felt she could talk to me about it.

I know she can't order it online or may be struggling to order it online as her parents block and regularly monitor her internet and computer usage due to pro-ana sites (where she discovered the idea of using the babies tray to eat from).

Bluetrews25 Sun 18-Oct-15 18:24:49

You are right not to get her the tray. It will feed in to the eating disorder (please pardon the pun)
I suggest you tell her parents, if you know them. They will be more able to engage the professional help she is going to need.
That would be the action of a friend, though she may not see it as that just yet.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 18-Oct-15 19:01:00

I think you should tell her that you're not going to help her and that you will tell her parents, that you would prefer to help her tell them herself but if not you will tell them because you love her and you're more concerned for her health than whether she's angry at you.

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