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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What can I do for my friend who has an eating disorder? I don't really know anything. She's one of my rare friends I see a few times a year.
She has been admitted to hospital today and I said I would visit her tomorrow.
She's not told her family so feel she needs someone and obviously I know how rubbish anxiety and depression are.
Thought I could take flowers and maybe a card-is that appropriate? She's in a 10 person specialist eating disorder centre.

It's stupid but it is difficult as called her up and have to drive to strange new place. Barely left the house recently. Also I'm depressed and off work so feel silly when she's asking after me and she has been hospitalised. I am wondering if I am in a position to help.
 

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A visit and flowers are perfectly appropriate. She is still the same friend.. it's just like any other mental illness in some ways. You are you, but that effing voice is there. I have dealt with an ED before, never hospitalized though, so generally I just say I have ED tendancies (they have never left me, I struggle with it all the time, but not in the constant way of some).

I personally find others with mental illnesses the best and easiest people to talk to when I am dealing with a lot. I suspect you can do a lot to help her. I know how hard it is to put yourself in that new situation when you'd rather be home, but I am sure she could really use your help.
 

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Chief Worrier
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i think flowers are a good idea because they'll brighten up her room and are a thoughtful gift, but idk about the card. i've had several friends with eating disorders, and while they are pretty scary, i don't think a card is entirely appropriate. it's not like her dog died.
 

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Buried at Sea
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Of course you're in a position to help, even if it doesn't feel like it. A visit from "the outside" means A LOT when you're stuck in a place like that. You don't even have to talk really, just being there makes a difference. I'm sure it will mean a lot to her.

You may want to call ahead and see what kind of things you're allowed to bring. If it's a place specifically for EDs they shouldn't have too many rules, but it's best to be sure.
 

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She-Wolf
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What can I do for my friend who has an eating disorder? I don't really know anything. She's one of my rare friends I see a few times a year.
She has been admitted to hospital today and I said I would visit her tomorrow.
She's not told her family so feel she needs someone and obviously I know how rubbish anxiety and depression are.
Thought I could take flowers and maybe a card-is that appropriate? She's in a 10 person specialist eating disorder centre.

It's stupid but it is difficult as called her up and have to drive to strange new place. Barely left the house recently. Also I'm depressed and off work so feel silly when she's asking after me and she has been hospitalised. I am wondering if I am in a position to help.
i've been in her position before, hospitalized twice for suicidal ideation, and my dad has as well, so i have experience.

flowers and a card sound great - make sure to write an extra few nice/positive thoughts in the card, not that i assume you wouldn't, but when i've been in distress and isolated like that having very heartful and completely honest words from a loved one, particularly you hadn't heard them say before, is so so comforting. (e.g. "i've known you for so long and you've always been there for me" yada yada). - rather than just having those cards with poems already written.

i was going to recommend to bring her some reading materials... for magazines though, uhh probably avoid any that just discuss which celebrity has an ED or which is too fat, or tips on dieting, or about food. those kind of things are everywhere, not really the best for her to read in that state. does she like comics, short stories, poetry, novels, etc? you could bring her something short you like, thats relevant, or just one of her favourites that might be comforting to read again.

often if you bring anything in for her the nurses/attendants there might check it to see if it's all appropriate to have in the ward, or if nothing is hidden there (some rebellious pateints might do that :p)

also, i understand just how difficult it is. even "normies" (non-SAers :p) feel uncomfortable having to visit someone in the hospital in a psychiatrict ward, partly because there's the stigma towards those illnesses and because they are not sure how to act in front of them. (i would definitely witness that behaviour when certain relatives visited me) so it's even significantly worse for people like us with SA. it was scary for me visiting my dad for the first time, in a hospital i've never been in, a ward i've never seen, around other patients who were equally ill, then not knowing what to say. taking a benzo would help, if you have them. just always keep in mind that she really wants to see you, and she is probably very thrilled to see a familiar face if she hasn't told her family. it's hard but try not to let anxiety hold you back in the situation.

about conversation topics - talking about yourself isn't a bad thing (of course AFTER you ask her how she's doing), it isn't at all, in fact i really liked hearing about whatever is going on in the "outside world" or from my families lives when they visit. no doubt would i get sick of discussing my problems with docs, nurses, social workers, etc all damn day so it would feel much better to just discuss completely unrelated and meaningless **** at the end of the day when they'd visit.

sorry for the novel. :p hope it goes well. i'm sure it will. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the nice replies.

What's strange is she sounds quite upbeat when I talk to her which makes me think she is hiding it. She's not told anyone in her family and a work colleague took her in. I maybe did mess up there as saw her text a day late (don't get many texts!) and she was already in by the time I had phoned. It's very confusing for me when she sounds so together and yet she's the one in hospital! She's got loads of reading and has a TV. She is one of 2 people I have met that seems to genuinely care and is easier to talk to than normal.

She comes across as normal apart from looking skeletal, but she's had some serious physical illness and is very petite anyway so I presumed that was why. She did say the issues go back to when she was a child.

Probably a good idea to phone about the gifts. I did work in a children's home on reception and had to check people's belongings and they wouldn't allow paper with staples as some people used them to self harm. We had plastic safety clips.
 

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didn't read it all but if she doesn't know you don't have s.a. this is probley the best time to tell her.
 

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didn't read it all but if she doesn't know you don't have s.a. this is probley the best time to tell her.
This is a good idea. Knowing she has someone else who has experienced similar struggles-- ones with commonplace, everyday functions, I mean, should take a huge load off. It will most likely seriously help.

I personally find others with mental illnesses the best and easiest people to talk to when I am dealing with a lot.
This isn't always true. Once I tried talking to an obese man who thought he was a 140 lb fifteen-year-old about how I couldn't connect with my mom, and we didn't get anywhere.
 

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I have been dealing with eating issues for a while, but I haven't been hospitilized. However for me, when I'm having a rough day, I just want to be with a friend. Just sit and watch a movie, play cards, do whatever to distract myself. It sounds like your friend is already distracting herself. In the type of program she is in, she probably has to think about food all day, so any distraction is welcome, just to attempt to be "normal" again.

So yeah, I would ask how she is, then maybe update her on your life, so she can refocus herself. Or just not talk- read together, watch a movie, play a game. And if she wants to talk, she will initiate it, just make sure there is plenty of quiet space for that.

I know it can be hard to do that with SA, but thats how I like it when I need to talk to someone. Plan a few conversations, like what you did over the weekend, the funny thing your dog did, that sort. So it doesn't have to be about you, and it can branch out into whatever your friend wants to talk about.
 
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