Archived Forum: Parenting & Caregiving > What do you do if you feel as if someone is reaching out?

I feel like there is someone in my life who may be trying to reach out to me for help, but I have no idea how to approach this situation!

I am going to start this with a disclaimer that I'm almost positive that she is on the REDS. I didn't know her at the time, but this now TEENY tiny woman (who is likely just under the underweight marker) apparently used to be very overweight. I mean, just from experiencing it myself, I know that she's exhibiting a lot of the same symptoms I have-- Exercises excessively, eats very little but claims to eat so much, a very extreme form of OCD.
She didn't used to do this, but lately she has been dropping hints into our conversations-- I suspect that she either believes I have issues with eating behaviors or that I can recognize eating disorders. Either way, she notices everything and knows that I notice and rarely forget comments or observations. Lately, she's been saying things (in a light, jovial manner of course) about how so-and-so thinks she exercises too much, about how her cousin always questions why she doesn't eat pieces of pie at their gatherings, how people joke and tell her she needs to eat a sandwich.. And she even recently told me that she is on a diet, adding in extra INTENSE exercise into her already intense regimen because she "needs to get in shape".

I think she's reaching out for help because she knows she has a problem. She's actually a counselor and works with people on several different issues, she's very highly educated, very fact-oriented, knows the difference between what is excessive and what is normal, etc. As much as I know her, I don't know her well enough to even say anything to her-- And aside from that, in our current positions, if I said something that totally pissed her off I could be in some hot water. I really hate to brush this aside because I feel like she's specifically made it a point to tell me these things, and I know when I made those comments I kind of wanted someone to step in and pay attention to me.. But at the same time I adamantly would have denied it.

I mean, what should I do? Should I say something without saying something? It's really not my place, but I can't resist the feeling like I need to do something! I even thought about bringing up to her my own issues, and how I'm nearing the point in my life where I will soon recover, but I'm on this delicate balance between not knowing what is too personal, and what is appropriate, and I'm not sure that it is something I can or should say (no one in my life is aware of my issues).

Advice?

(P.S. I will admit that her comments were a bit triggering at first [[why does she get to stay thin while I head into the unknown, obviously it's normal!!!]], but I soon realized that if this bothers her deeply enough to the point where she brings it up to ME in a joking manner, why she allows herself to suffer some health-related issues, the fact that she has not once single ounce of fat on her body and needs to get in shape.. I don't want that. Yeah, bring on the pie!!! Pecan, please. Or pumpkin..)

April 23, 2012 | Registered Commentersetfiretotherain

I don't know for sure, may be though you could talk more about your experiences. May be you could say like when i'm stressed and super busy in life my eating goes out of the window to start. This doesn't have to mean that you have an eating disorder if you didn't want them to know that. You could also say that you're seriously thinking about gaining some weight and getting back to your optimal ideal weight. You could mention some of the effects of a suppressed metabolism and how dieting is bad news or something along those lines.

May be this can give her a bit of a hook.

Also, when she talks of being too big you can tell her how she is not.

The whole radar thing can be a bit too much sometimes.

I though made a very good friend in my old block by just going up to them and asking them about what i suspected..long time ago and my memory could be a tiny bit rusty on that. We did though become pretty good friends.

This lady in my area, i've not seen her around for a while just made me feel so uncomfortable. She was kind of ripped and i don't know if she had a problem or not. She would just though not stop staring at me whenever i was out. If she saw me with shopping bags she would stare at them to. I really disliked it, but may be she wanted to talk to me or just liked staring and if she was radaring i didn't like it at all.

Your situation with your collegue is different than the one with my friend as well work is a professional environment. So may be what i suggested might not be a bad approach. Other than that i would do nothing.

April 26, 2012 | Registered Commentermissrising

Thanks, missrising! This is definitely a delicate issue working here.. My colleague is higher on the food chain than I am, and while I don't THINK she would ever report something if I chose to share it, or hold it against me in my evals if I were to ask her if she needed some help, there is always the 'what if' factor.
I think the proper 'hook', as you put it, might be what makes or breaks any sort of conversation.
I really appreciate the fact that you shared your personal experiences with me-- I don't think I've ever heard it termed 'radaring', but it's rather appropriate!

April 27, 2012 | Registered Commentersetfiretotherain