Hello everyone,

I need some help and opinions on what you think that I should do in this tricky situation.

See, I have a younger sister (I'm 21 and she is 16), and I am afraid that she has an eating disorder. I know that because I have had an eating disorder (anorexia) myself, I may be over-sensitive to these things, but I really feel like it is becoming a problem and I am scared.

Let me explain. My sister is a dancer, a very talented and passionate dancer; she is so talented that, at her young age, she is already teaching dance, dancing across the country (United States), and choreographing her own dances; basically, dance is her life, and that is why I do not want to take it away from her. But, being the recovered, volunteer and advocate for eating disorder recovery, psychology student and soon to be therapist for those who suffer from eating disorders, I notice the signs. She is disconnecting, isolating, she talks about food and exercise an unhealthily glorified way, and, although she has always been picky, I have noticed a change in her eating patterns (restricting). I thought that it would be easy to help someone who is struggling, but, when family is involved, someone that you are so close to, someone who you do not want to put through the pain that comes with giving up everything you love in order to recover, it is so much harder.

I see a lot of my sister in me at her age and, although the hard working, passionate person that we both are can be a good thing, I can see that she is starting to become lost; her passion is turning into an obsession, and it hurts to see that she is falling into ED's traps. I'm scared right now; just last night when I came home to see my family after a long time away, I noticed that she had become thinner, she seemed really tired, less passionate, and just broken...It hurts me to see her like this and not do anything about it, but every time that I bring this issue up, my parents just disregard it, probably because they do not want to go through the same thing that they had to go through with me all over again, and I can understand this, I do not want to fight the battle again either, especially if my sister is the victim, but I cannot let ED take another life, I won't.

I really think that there is something going on here and, although the logical side of me sees the signs of ED arising, I can also feel it. When I am around her, when I look into her lost and broken eyes behind the mask of impossible perfection, I can feel ED... I want to tell my parents, I want to ask them to at least get her an assessment with professionals, but I am scared to bring up the subject because every time that I do they avoid it. Please help me. This is my sister, and I cannot lose her to ED. Please help.

Thank you for listening.

sboggs33's picture

Kristin, if you feel like this is a real issue (which I can tell  you do), please talk with your parents...about the assessment. There is also a helpline on NEDA's website and a chatline on this website where you can get some better answers than just mine. 

It is extremely hard, but you may be the best person to help your sister. Also, if you are still seeing your own counsellor, talk to them...they might have some great tips on how to help your family. Stay strong and let us know how we can help! 

Kristine3's picture

Thank you sboggs3.

I did talk to my parents, and they were really compassionate and understanding about the issue. I also talked to my sister, which seemed to help a lot as well. I tend to naturally over-analyze these things, especially since I went through my own seven-year battle with an eating disorder; I guess I am just hyper-sensitive to the little signs. But, after talking to her personally, I realized that she is much more insightful then I made her out to be. She is clearly above all of the body image, compulsive exercising, and dietary restriction that the stereotypical dancers tend to enforce.

Overall, I feel confident that she is going to be okay. :)

sboggs33's picture

Absolutely wonderful! Thank you for letting usk now how the talk went. I wish you and your sister the best of luck! 

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