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Worried about a friend, looking for advice

(5 Posts)
rhythmnationsensation Mon 27-May-13 22:32:33

Did post in chat but now wondering if this is a more appropriate place, had forgotten this section existed blush Name changed for this to avoid outing myself.

Said friend and I were at school together. She has always been one of these people who just seems perfect, brilliant at everything, gorgeous, really lovely to be around. She was bullied by a downright bitchy group of girls in our final year after she put on weight, she wasn't fat by any stretch of the imagination, but had been uber slim before iyswim. It affected her at the time emotionally a whole lot more than she let on I think, and slimmed down gradually over the next few years.

Roughly 6 months ago my friend and her DP split up, they had been together a few years. He got very nasty towards the end, I would class it as abusive in a lot of ways, one of which was calling her fat and making comments about her body in comparison to other women. All absolute rubbish, she just wasn't a stick insect.

Since he left her she's lost a lot of weight. You wouldn't look at her and think she was unhealthily thin, but you would in terms of her body shape iyswim, she's not meant to be so slim. She's seemed very withdrawn and not herself each time I've seen her, most noticeably today, I was hoping she just needed time after the split and she'd get over it but she seems to be getting worse each time I see her. I'm increasingly getting the impression that she's developed a real thing with body image and weight, what she's talking about bears no resemblance to what I'm seeing. I don't want to risk her pushing me away by bringing it up and trying to do something to help as I don't think she has an awful lot of people she's confiding in at the moment, but at the same time I don't think I can sit back and do nothing.

deedotty Tue 28-May-13 00:07:40

Honestly? I wouldn't say anything. It sounds lovely that you're concerned, but I think it might just come across as interfering and cause her to retreat? Your friend is sad. People need time to lick their wounds and heal, and 6 months isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things.

Personally, break-ups aside, I tend to lose a hell of a lot of weight off an already small frame when I get stressed out with life/work etc.

It's absolutely nothing to do with body image or men, I'm in good health, I've had some good lovers in my time and feel attractive. I just lose appetite, then I get it back later on when the stress has passed. No harm done.

Rather than talking about it, just continue being a good friend to her and DON'T let her feel monitored. If you really wanted to , maybe book her and you in for some yoga or some mindfullness or some belly dancing classes - that kind of thing is GREAT for getting into the "I am a lovely confident woman" frame of mind.

Good luck thanks

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 28-May-13 08:56:35

I think you have to intervene here. It's not possible to say what's wrong with your friend but she does sound as though she's depressed & there's a reasonable risk that she's developed an eating disorder or is at least malnourished. All you have to say to her is that you're worried about her.... being withdrawn, being very thin, not herself etc.... and it shouldn't push her away if you're expressing concern and saying you're happy to listen if she wants to talk. Listening is the important part .... very tempting to jump in with 'fixes' that may not be wanted at this stage. If she confides in you, you could recommend talking to a GP just for a general check-up perhaps. Six months is not long enough to get over a serious break-up.

Having lost a college friend to anorexia which was triggered in part by a break-up I would always risk upsetting someone rather than - what we actually did at the time - say nothing and hope they just got over it.

rhythmnationsensation Tue 28-May-13 11:06:40

Thanks so much for your advice.

deedotty I see what you mean, though what's concerning me the most isn't the weight loss, it's that from what she has said it sounds like she's developed a completely distorted idea of her appearance and it's becoming an obsession. That said, I really hope you're right, good to know it's possible to come out the other side in time.

I'm very tempted to contact her mum, who is lovely, and might be able to get through to her better than I can. I know they're in regular contact but haven't met up since Christmas, so I don't know if her mum is aware of any of this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 28-May-13 11:15:12

"it sounds like she's developed a completely distorted idea of her appearance and it's becoming an obsession"

Body Dysmorphia, depression and eating disorders all rather go hand in hand, sadly.

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