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Thank You For Being a Friend

Dear Sugar
My best friend is bulimic, I have known for quite a while, but her secret is now out and she blames me. We recently went on a camping trip with our senior class and she had some sort of a fit and couldn't breathe. I called the paramedics and when they came, they asked me all kinds of questions since I was the only one with her when this happened.

When they asked me if she makes herself sick, I couldn't lie so I told them that she is in fact, bulimic. The rumor mill went into effect and slowly but surely people began to find out. A few of our other friends knew about her throwing up before this incident, but now my best friend refuses to speak to me.

I thought I was doing the right thing by telling the doctors the truth about her sickness, but it looks like my honesty is coming back to haunt me. Do you have any advice for me on how to deal with her? I was only trying to help. Supportive Samantha


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Dear Supportive Samantha
It sounds like your friend had an anxiety/panic attack which often times goes hand in hand with those who suffer from an eating disorder or depression. When someone experiences a panic attack for the first time, it can feel very similar to having a heart attack. It feels suffocating, and may trick you into thinking that you are dying, so you absolutely did the right thing by calling for help.

Eating disorders are very serious illnesses that need to be treated just like any other disease. I am sure your friend is embarrassed right now, but hopefully, she can use this experience as a jump-start to her long road ahead of recovery.

Talk to your friend. Let her know you care about her and you were only trying to help. It may feel like she is singling you out, but after she seeks treatment for her disorder, hopefully she will see how instrumental you were to get her back on the right track and will thank you for being her friend.

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