Confronting an anorexic stranger

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    Jan 28, 2013 2:13 AM GMT
    Last week, at the gym, I saw this obviously anorexic girl (with protruding bones) on the elliptical machine doing cardio. I obviously lack the fortitude to confront her (and I felt like a coward because I really wanted to help her, but couldn't). However, I kept wondering why the staff let her into the gym in the first place. This is an university gym & is filled with student trainers/nutritionists. Shouldn't someone have suggested that this girl see a medical doctor before she was allowed in? Would any of you have confronted this girl?
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:15 AM GMT
    sweetyork saidLast week, at the gym, I saw this obviously anorexic girl (with protruding bones) on the elliptical machine doing cardio. I obviously lack the fortitude to confront her (and I felt like a coward because I really wanted to help her, but couldn't). However, I kept wondering why the staff let her into the gym in the first place. This is a university gym & is filled with student trainers/nutritionists. Shouldn't someone have suggested that this girl see a medical doctor before she was allowed in? Would any of you have confronted this girl?


    Chances are you could have made things worse. If you have ever spoken to an anorexic person you would remember. There is nothing you can do or say that will make it better. But good for you for wanting to say something icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:46 AM GMT
    I think it's admirable that you want to help this girl but holding your tongue is the best action you can do. Anorexics have strong personalities because they're constantly thinking that there is something wrong with their bodies. Just as jewlicious said and if she was indeed anorexic, you would have made the situation much worse and that's a situation that's hard to correct.

    The university gym and its staff have no business telling this girl to seek medical attention just the same way they have no right to tell an obese person to find a weight loss clinic. Unfortunately, this is one of those instances where all you can do is be a bystander. Hopefully, she'll realize (or her family and close friends) what she's doing to her body and seek help.
  • PolaroidSwing...

    Posts: 1131

    Jan 28, 2013 3:01 AM GMT
    I don't know if someone can be obviously anorexic. Some people are just genetically very thin.
  • JackDoyle

    Posts: 706

    Jan 28, 2013 3:05 AM GMT
    Most Anorexics know they have a problem and you saying something to her wouldn't have made a difference. I remember the first time I saw an anorexic girl, I was really young I was so shocked, my Ma explained it to me and I wanted to jump out of the car and tell her she wasn't fat ha I was so innocent but that girl is dead now icon_sad.gif it's such a horrible disorder
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 28, 2013 3:24 AM GMT
    Was she dying on the floor? Probably not. So I think unless you actually know her it is her own business. Unsolicited assistance is never appreciated. Commenting on such a thing, might just get you a slap in the face.
  • mizu5

    Posts: 2599

    Jan 28, 2013 3:59 AM GMT
    You can't tell someone they can't go to the gym because they are too thin. It would be discrimination I'm fairly sure.

    Also speaking as someone who had EDs, it's not your place. It really isn't.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:04 AM GMT
    I would discuss this with a university counselor, perhaps anonymously, who'd be aware of mental health resources available for students and see if they could possibly intervene (ethically probably not, or barring other ethical and liability constraints perhaps they could identify her and express concern to her parents, from whom she may have camoflauged her condition). I wouldn't perform an intervention directly. I'm sure she's already been told she's too (or dangerously) thin by total strangers - people are pretty indiscreet and unedited that way, particularly those who'd think nothing of telling a stranger they could afford to lose a few pounds.

    2hxlv6v.jpg
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    Jan 28, 2013 7:09 AM GMT
    Throw a sandwich at her face.
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    Jan 28, 2013 7:14 AM GMT
    wow ur a fuckin prick.
  • NHLFAN

    Posts: 370

    Jan 28, 2013 8:19 AM GMT
    There is a lady at my gym who appears to be anorexic. She has all the signs and is in the gym on the cardio machines for as long as she's there. I've seen her on my long gym days where she's there working out before me and still there after I leave. How she even has the energy to work out is amazing in itself. Picture a skeleton with skin on top and that's what she looks like.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jan 28, 2013 2:34 PM GMT
    It's rude to confront strangers on their perceived disorders, faggot.
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:38 PM GMT
    How do you know she hasn't already gotten counseling?
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:39 PM GMT
    Reminds of this one guy who held the light of the Sun in his hand, for me... until he made me feel like a freak cause of my issues (none are self image issues). He'll never live it down.
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Jan 28, 2013 2:51 PM GMT
    PolaroidSwinger saidI don't know if someone can be obviously anorexic. Some people are just genetically very thin.




    This...


    anorexia-nervosa.jpg

    +


    This....


    TREADMILL.jpg

    =

    "Obviously anorexic"
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    Jan 28, 2013 2:53 PM GMT
    He_Man said
    PolaroidSwinger saidI don't know if someone can be obviously anorexic. Some people are just genetically very thin.




    This...


    anorexia-nervosa.jpg

    +


    This....


    TREADMILL.jpg

    =

    "Obviously anorexic"


    You mean Im not supposed to desire to look that thin?
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Jan 28, 2013 3:05 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    He_Man said
    PolaroidSwinger saidI don't know if someone can be obviously anorexic. Some people are just genetically very thin.



    You mean Im not supposed to desire to look that thin?


    Well, you might be able to pull off this look, but not too many others can say the same.
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    Jan 28, 2013 3:23 PM GMT
    Jewlicious said
    sweetyork saidLast week, at the gym, I saw this obviously anorexic girl (with protruding bones) on the elliptical machine doing cardio. I obviously lack the fortitude to confront her (and I felt like a coward because I really wanted to help her, but couldn't). However, I kept wondering why the staff let her into the gym in the first place. This is a university gym & is filled with student trainers/nutritionists. Shouldn't someone have suggested that this girl see a medical doctor before she was allowed in? Would any of you have confronted this girl?


    Chances are you could have made things worse. If you have ever spoken to an anorexic person you would remember. There is nothing you can do or say that will make it better. But good for you for wanting to say something icon_smile.gif



    This.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:01 PM GMT

    There are other things that can be wrong besides anorexia, sweetyork. She could have a degenerative disease or cancer, for example.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:17 PM GMT
    sweetyork saidLast week, at the gym, I saw this obviously anorexic girl (with protruding bones) on the elliptical machine doing cardio. I obviously lack the fortitude to confront her (and I felt like a coward because I really wanted to help her, but couldn't). However, I kept wondering why the staff let her into the gym in the first place. This is an university gym & is filled with student trainers/nutritionists. Shouldn't someone have suggested that this girl see a medical doctor before she was allowed in? Would any of you have confronted this girl?


    As much as you'd like to intervene, this wasn't the time, nor place, and it might be that the gal has hyperthyroidism, or something else. You never know. In any event, it likely needs treatment if it's not the result of, say, chemo, etc. She might be on her way back up. You never know.

    Chances are she is anorexic. I would hope that professional staff at your school would intervene.

    I don't know if you've seen the story of Karen Carpenter and her fight with anorexia, which killed her many years before her time. Very sad. She was so talented.

    We do need to intervene on both obesity and anorexia, even when it's not politically correct. (2/3 of all folks are fat asses). Doing what's right is not what's always easiest. Leadership can be hard. Given that we have a healthcare pandemic on our hands with all the fat folks, we need changes in public policy and in popular culture's view of obesity (just like smoking...where it is not cool to smoke).
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:28 PM GMT
    I'm not a trained nutritionist, medical doctor, or personal trainer so I would keep my OPINIONS to myself. I suggest you do the same.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:44 PM GMT
    sweetyork saidLast week, at the gym, I saw this obviously anorexic girl (with protruding bones) on the elliptical machine doing cardio. I obviously lack the fortitude to confront her (and I felt like a coward because I really wanted to help her, but couldn't). However, I kept wondering why the staff let her into the gym in the first place. This is an university gym & is filled with student trainers/nutritionists. Shouldn't someone have suggested that this girl see a medical doctor before she was allowed in? Would any of you have confronted this girl?


    Don't be that person who tries to fix everyone else's problems (especially stranger's) because in that doing that, it assumes you know what's best, that person is subservient, and you look like an asshole.

    In grad school my thesis was on addiction. I spent days upon days in eating disorder clinics. Telling some one they're anorexic is about as helpful (if they have it) as telling them "you should a hamburger."
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:45 PM GMT
    PS. If the gym attempted to bar her from entering, that's opening themselves up to a whole lot of lawsuit.
  • CityofDreams

    Posts: 1173

    Jan 28, 2013 4:47 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    There are other things that can be wrong besides anorexia, sweetyork. She could have a degenerative disease or cancer, for example.


    This is the reason why you shouldn't open your mouth. One never knows what pathway someone is currently leading.
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Jan 28, 2013 5:46 PM GMT
    I agree that we should not run up to the poor girl and ask her bluntly if she has an eating disorder or that we should point in her direction and start screaming "Anorexic!" but I'm startled at some of your responses. It reminds me of the 1964 case of Kitty Genovese where a woman was stabbed multiple times during the night in New York and was murdered while her neighbors stood around doing nothing. The media interviewed many of the neighbors the following days and found out that they had all heard her cries and pleas for help, but none of them did anything about it.

    This case actually launched the famous social psychology experiment called the bystander effect or Genovese syndrome and shows how if there are a lot of people present during an emergency or an event, those people will generally look the other way expecting someone else to help. One of the main obstacles in others helping people in distress was what the psychologists called the diffusion of responsibility. Each individual group member wouldn't take responsibility for helping because each person was waiting for the other person in the group to help. Similar to our own anorexic case here, the individual members in the Genovese syndrome experiments would talk themselves out of helping because they didn't believe that they were qualified or that there were more qualified people coming to help.

    I see this kind of mentality in a lot of the posts above. A lot of you are saying the exact same things that Genovese's neighbors said years ago. -- "oh, we shouldn't assume that she has a problem, and if she does than let the authorities handle it," or "It's not our place or business to interfere with whatever condition she has," etc. Whatever happened to genuine human compassion and concern? Have we really gotten that politically correct that we are too afraid to reach out a helping hand and offer some assistance to our fellow man?

    It's all a matter of how you confront the person, really. Like I said, you don't bluntly confront the person, but you could always approach her and try talking to her like she's an actual human being. Maybe she could use a friend. It could take several conversation before finding out what's wrong with her, if she does indeed have anorexia or some other condition. Showing a little compassion and couth may go along way and will always be appreciated. In the end, what's the worst thing that can happen? You gain a friend?