BFF struggling with eating disorder. Need support 😔
I feel like I'm hitting a wall with trying to figure out what to do in regards to my best friend's eating disorder.
She began diet and exercise through Weight Watchers about a year and a half ago when her doctor said she had to lose weight for her health (she was around 300 pounds at the time). She has struggled constantly in the past with restricting, bingeing, purging, and feeling like she has an addiction to food. In the past, she lost weight by using meth and Adderall, but has now been sober from all substances for over 2 years (we are sober together, actually.) So it seemed like a great idea when she adopted healthy eating and started to be more physically active because she was taking care of her health, and I thought that her success in sobriety would somehow translate to this.
Things started to change when she stopped attending regular recovery meetings with me, and said that she needed to go to the gym instead. She told me that once she got to a certain weight, she wouldn't have to prioritize exercise as much but that the gym was what was making her happy for now. I was a little worried, but I let her do her thing. We stopped hanging out and just chilling in a relaxing way. Eventually every time we hung out it had to include her getting a certain amount of steps or exercise in, and the conversation was no longer about funny things, our emotions, or anything, it became solely based on ingredients of food, calories, WW points, etc. It was getting exhausting to keep up with what she was saying, and since I struggled with body image in the past too, I was not comfortable hearing it. Still I just tried to comfort her every time she would tell me how she was worried she would gain weight by eating a few chips, or a bite of something, or not going to the gym for one day. Our texts, which used to be lighthearted, became all about her telling me what foods she was going to cut out. When she told me she was going to cut out fruit entirely because it would make her gain weight, that's when I knew something was really wrong.
Her periods stopped, and her blood pressure and heart rate have dropped below normal range. She feels dizzy and can't concentrate. Her employer had to sit down with her because they were worried about her not eating, and also since she was not doing her job at her desk (she's a receptionist) because she would spend the time getting steps in or climbing up to 50 flights of stairs per day. The hard part is, her body type is not underweight, but I can literally see her body shut down before my eyes. And her mental state is shutting down even faster. She will text or call me about how hungry she is, but that she's hungry because she's "addicted to food" and she doesn't see that she's not eating enough. She says that she will only go to seek any treatment options if it abides by her gym schedule. She cried on the phone with me last week because she was scared that she'd gain weight from the skin on a cucumber, and that's really when I started thinking of maybe having an intervention.
She's convinced that since she's not “physically” anorexic, that she's not at risk of serious health concerns, and that her mental state is just something she has to deal with, and when she gets to be a certain weight it will all go away. I can't deal with this anymore and I want my best friend back.