I have a friend who I’m pretty sure is bulimic. She lives in my dorm and I know she’s bingeing and purging, but I don’t know what to do about it. I’m afraid that she’ll get mad at me if I say anything. I used to binge and purge all the time, but I haven’t done it since high school and I’d die if anyone knew, so I think that if I talk to her, she’ll stop being my friend.
You’re right to be concerned about your friend. As you know, bulimia is incredibly addictive and deadly. Congratulations on recovering from your disease. This is a really good opportunity for you to maintain your recovery by beginning to talk about your own process. Rather than talking to your friend about her bulimia, it might be a good idea to tell her about your eating disorder. Perhaps the two of you can take a walk and you might disclose to her that part of what has been an important challenge for you in school has been staying clean from your bulimia symptoms. It’s always easy to go on the defensive when being accused. However, when you speak from your own experience and talk about your own battle, it allows someone space to open up. Even if she doesn’t open up to you immediately, she will know that you are there to talk to about this. It’s not your responsibility to cure her from her bulimia, however, keeping it a secret can only be harmful to her, so you should probably tell an R.A. or administrator what is going on so they can intercept.
Do you have a question about binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, or anything associated with eating disorders? Send an email to leora at leorafulvio dot com. All questions will be kept confidential. Include your first name or the name you want to be referred to as and your location.