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 Post subject: GF Relapsing ED - Advice on what TO say...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:29 am 
stranger in an orange land

Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:27 am
Posts: 2
Hi there, my girlfriend is a recovering anorexic.

She was very ill a few years ago but has been better for the last 2 or 3. Recently she has started getting fears again (partly to do with her becoming vegan). We are both doing the vegan journey together (I didn't ask her to, I even suggested we take it slowly) but I am confident she wants to do it for the correct reasons (animal cruelty, a healthier way of living etc).
However, I know this is starting to trigger her. I've researched and I think I'm pretty good at what NOT to say to her to make things worse, but what I really want to know is what I CAN say to her. Even if it's indirectly to at least make her feel more positive on a day to day basis.
I've been told saying how beautiful she is can make it worse at times because it reinforces the need to look good.

She is also quite off sex at the moment, she is wearing a lot of baggy clothes etc. I'm obviously fine with that - I understand, I'm just torn between not wanting to initiate sexual contact because it will make her feel under pressure, but I'm also scared of making her feel unattractive by not initiating something.
I myself have OCD and have had years of therapy for it, along with anxiety and depression.

She is a very strong woman and I don't want to patronize her, but I know she has been confiding in a friend of her's (who suffers as well) and I'm worried that she will get into a cycle again.
Any advice would be great. She talks to me about it sometimes, but I'm looking fot day to day advice on how to make her feel better.
I know she's at work now upset about things and I want a way of comforting her, without DIRECTLY mentioning her disorder.

Sorry for the long message, thank you in advance for your help.

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 Post subject: Re: GF Relapsing ED - Advice on what TO say...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:30 pm 
admin goddess from hell
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 1:10 am
Posts: 12363
Hi, there. I am moving your intro to our Friends and Family forum, which is where you can explore things to say and not to say to a loved one with an eating disorder. I encourage you to consider whether this is a good time for her to be pursuing veganism, no matter how good her intentions for doing so. Veganism is highly associated with eating disorder development/exacerbation, and is often something that may need to be put on hold until after your loved one is strongly in full recovery. You can also find some interesting thoughts about the "politics" of food (i.e., that veganism is a political act based on avoiding cruelty to animals) in this thread and this thread, and challenges about why people with EDs so often choose veganism - a lifestyle obviously based on diet - as their political activity rather than, say, the plight of child slaves in chocolate production. Veganism is often about avoiding or minimising cruelty to animals, yet humans are ultimately also animals, and a diet that exacerbates a restrictive ED is cruelty to ourselves.

Whispered words of wisdom,
Let it be.

~~ John Lennon

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 Post subject: Re: GF Relapsing ED - Advice on what TO say...
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:12 am 
Demi Mod
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:19 am
Posts: 1842
Location: UK
Hi, it sounds like you are supporting her in a caring and gentle way, which is great. All I can suggest is to be honest with her, ask her if there is anything you can do to help, and perhaps ask her if she would be willing to talk to a therapist or counsellor.

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 Post subject: Re: GF Relapsing ED - Advice on what TO say...
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:14 pm 
orange is a state of mind

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:14 pm
Posts: 2434
I agree with the above posts.
Also, don't be afraid to ask your girlfriend directly what she finds supportive or helpful. Let her know that you care about her and are worried about her health (and give specific examples) and that you want to help but aren't sure how to go about it.
You may also want to see if there are any friends or family groups who are supporting a loved one with an eating disorder to help you get an understanding of what eating disorders are all about and to get some support yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: GF Relapsing ED - Advice on what TO say...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:16 pm 
i love orange

Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:10 am
Posts: 59
Location: US
I know for me, what is or is not the right thing to say (or not say) on any given day can be a landmine for my husband. It has been something we have struggled with for our 23 year history together. What I have discovered during this time that quite often it has nothing to do with what he said, but the way I take what he says, which is derived from a number if issues - including my mood of the day and where I happen to be in recovery at the moment. For me, what has helped is learning to talk about it with him. He has always been very supportive. However, it was difficult for me to share without feeling additional shame or guilt even though he was not placing it there. From his standpoint, he has had to learn to give me my space in this area and only provide support when and if I ask for something specifically. I am not sure how much of this applies to your specific situation, but I thought I would at least share some of my experience with this issue. Hang in there.

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