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To Sam

My Best Friend

My best friend is really ill. She's bulimic, anorexic, self harms and is suicidle. I honestly have no idea what to do or say because when i try to help, she just gets worse.

She's so skinny and pale and fragile..all her hairs falling out, her nails are yellow and her bones are really fragile.

I know its really hard on her but its really hard on me because I have no one to talk to about how i feel about this because im the only one who knows. She won't tell her parents and i am begging her to get help but all we seem to do is argue about it and i dont want to loose her friendship but i dont want her to become so ill, she dies.. She just can't see how ill she's getting because of her anorexia and shes adiment she's fat but she could snap everytime i touch her..

What do i do?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi,

Thank you for your letter.

I think you’ve been really brave to write to me. It’s understandable that seeing your best friend this way is upsetting for you. It’s also a lot for you to have to keep to yourself.

It’s clear that you care a great deal about your friend. It’s important to also remember that as much as you care about her, it’s not your responsibility to solve all her problems. There can be a variety of reasons why people might self-harm or have issues with eating. Your friend is really lucky to have you and she obviously feels safe enough to be able to talk to you about these painful issues.

I can hear that you feel you will be betraying her if you were to tell someone about what is happening. I also think that some things are just too big to deal with on our own. It can be hard supporting a friend alone, especially if you feel their problems are serious. I want you to know that it’s ok to talk to someone, even if your friend is asking you not to. When a friend is at risk, then getting adult support is the right thing to do. Perhaps you could think about telling an adult that you trust, such as a parent or a teacher at school.

You might also find it helpful to take a look at the page in Explore about Helping a friend. There’s also useful information about supporting someone with an eating disorder on Epic friends. If you’d like to talk about this further before you make any decisions, you can talk to one of the ChildLine counsellors by calling on 0800 1111 (which is free) or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat, which works like instant messenger. Perhaps you could suggest to your friend that she could also speak to a Childline counsellor to talk through her feelings.

Take care,

Sam

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