During our conversation, she started talking about ALL her health issues. I was able to get her to talk in a way that didn't make her feel like she was being drilled. I then looked all her symptoms up, and EVERY one of them is associated to Anorexia. Even down to an underactive thyroid and swollen neck glands.
She lives 800 miles away, around the rest of our family. I know this is the problem. There isn't a doubt in my mind. I've been seriously worried since I saw her last winter.
I guess my question is... does anyone else here have experience with this? How can we get her help? She's the most stubborn woman you'd ever have to deal with. So even bringing up the subject will send her into major denial. The last time I tried to address her weight with her, and tell her it was way too low for a 5'9" woman... she denied being that height, saying she was shorter. I'm 5'8" and shes at least an inch taller.
I'm open to any and all advice. I'm worried her heart will give out, if pushed at her work, and we sat back and did nothing.
It is a bit unusual for a 42 yo to become anorexic, just out of the blue. If she has had a major trauma then it makes sense, and this can be anything from infidelity, to being raped, to a child being ill.
Anorexia manifests itself as a way to be in control, and it is not at all unusual for extremely stubborn people to have it. After all the amount of self discipline it takes to not eat when your hungry, when your body is screaming for nutrients takes a special mind set.
I would be concerned if she has never had an issue before, and this is something new for her that there is truly something medically wrong. Many of the symptoms associated with anorexia, are really the symptoms of starvation, and malnutrition, which is also a result of a true anorexic eating disorder. IT is difficult to treat. Self image becomes an obsession, and often there is a skewed self belief/ and negative talk that goes on internally where they convince themselves that they are fat, they are unattractive, they need to diet, they need to loose more weight. When they see the scale go down it gives them a sense of worth, and relief.
Like many OCD and Addiction issues until the person with Anorexia acknowledges they have it, you are fighting a loosing battle. Can you fly her out for a visit, and a stay to see if you can get her away from the toxic environment, and see if she rebounds? Can you talk to her spouse, adult kids, anyone who isn't toxic to her mindset?
but again I would be tempted to absolutely rule out any disease that may be causing it. Not to scare you, but there are some disease that cause excess wasting, and often go undiagnosed until there are really ugly problems.
Tell her your concerns at a minimum, tell her you aren't judging, but that you love her and are concerned. Make sure she knows what the bad outcomes are if she truly is Anorexic.
Whshing hugs, strength, and prayers.
Unfortunately, she lives with our mom. Was never married, and has a troubled 23 yr old daughter (not living with her). We had my sister out last year for a visit, and that's when we saw so many signs. She has always had an issue with her appearance, equating it to self worth. Last year, when I picked her up at the airport, she was starving, wanted to stop for some food. Ordered a veggie burger, ate maybe a third, then wrapped the rest up, said she was stuffed and couldn't eat another bite, almost acting disgusted. Once home, we had some wine, and she ended up devouring a pasta salad I had made.
Upon talking with her yesterday, I learned she has lost more weight, is exhausted all the time, has low blood pressure, a low heart rate, is now suffering from low blood sugar, has an underactive thyroid, swollen glands for months in the front of her neck that dr's refuse to treat with antibiotics, her blood cell count is off, she's waking up at night with periods of low blood sugar and cant focus other than to eat something quick, she's down to a size zero and proud of it, complaining how hard it is to find jeans that make her look good.
I think what's happened is her doctors may have suggested she has an eating disorder, and because she's so stubborn, she takes her issues to another one. She's seen three doctors, and according to her, all have suggested a biopsy of her glands, but they refuse antibiotic treatment. Knowing my sister, she's leaving something out. If a doctor told her they wanted to biopsy something, she'd do it.
She started losing weight because she was unhappy with her weight. We noticed she was comparing herself to her daughter a lot, and always seemed to want to let everyone know if a person thought she was younger than she was. The weight loss has been going on for a few years now, and after talking to her about the health issues, I'm truly scared that her lack of food is causing all her problems. She sent me pictures of some sundresses she purchased this summer... ALL came from the juniors department, and looked like something made for a young teen.
She is continuing to talk about how she wants healthy foods, low calorie, and still needs to "watch her weight".
I'm just scared. I will talk to my mom about it, but know she will do nothing. Our parents are just too old. Her daughter isn't going to be any help. But maybe some other family members will step in. I think everyone is afraid to say or do anything, just to keep the peace. But in the process, she may not make it.
I'm sorry, but I don't have any advice. I hope soon she will see that she has a problem and gets help. Sending good thoughts, mojo, prayers, and strength.
We're going through this with a good friend right now. We had a place for her at an inpatient clinic, did an intervention, she promised to go...and still hasn't, 3 months later. It's so tough.
http://www.something-fishy.org/ might be helpful to you.
So sorry your sister is going through this.
Married: 11 years, no kids
Character is destiny
Can you talk to her about her stressors? The weight loss is typically a symptom. Do not mention her weight. Would she see a counselor about anything? Is she seeing an endocrinologist? With blood sugar and thyroid issues, she needs to see one.
[This message edited by lynnm1947 at 9:52 AM, September 26th (Thursday)]
"I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance." Garth Brooks
That makes sense Pentup. With all the pressures on women to look good and compete with other women, that it's now effecting older women. So sad. My sister has apparently seen three doctors, and they all have told her about her blood sugar, thyroid, heart, etc. My belief is she doesn't like what they are telling her, and is in denial. I looked up all those symptoms, and while they can indicate a number of other problems, when you combine them with her other issues, and knowing her personally, it indicates starvation.
I'm so sorry lynnm. That must be so hard to watch your friend for years, in this pain. I don't understand it much, but it's killing me to see this happen to my sister. I want to shake some sense into her, make her see what we see when we look at her... but she thinks it looks good. And hearing how her body is being affected, it's so scary. I don't want to assume anything, but when I hear about the heart suffering (blood pressure and heart rate) it makes me think if she suffered any major stress her heart may not handle it like the heart of a younger woman.
Originally I was planning a trip with the kids to see my family (800 miles away) this Thanksgiving, for my father (in his 80s). I think now it's going to be for her too...
First she was anorexic and was down to 94 pounds. We couldn't talk sense into her and because she was under age we were able to get her into an inpaitent treatment center.
She now binges and is overweight. She can't control herself. Our insurance ran out and we can't put her back in.
The counselors said that 1/3 never get over it, 1/3 never get over it but learn to live with it and semi control it. The last 1/3 are able to turn their lives around and live functional lives.
It is hard to see someone struggle. I think it's important to let all who is willing to help do so. It is an emotional thing and as someone else said the pattern is hard to break.
I see my daughter growing up to be like your sister and it saddens me to think she will be struggling her whole life.
She has also been in IC and seen a psychiatrist. None has worked. I think it has to come from within her. All I can to at this point is hug her and tell her how beautiful she is and let her know we will get her help anytime.
I hope for your sister and hope she will one day wake up and ask for help. It's not easy.