Anorexia can affect anyone no matter of age, social level or sex. It is known to be a serious mental disorder, not a whim as some may suppose it to be. Anorexia sufferers are usually extremely sensitive and exposed to a consequential traumatizing by misunderstanding, neglecting and a hostile atmosphere at work. Being valetudinarian due to their mental state, they are often easily offended by workmates, though the last ones didn’t have any intentions to do that. So you’re working together with a person who puts all his or her strength to beat anorexia. What is the correct behavior in this complicated situation?
First of all, don’t show any interest concerning the body shape of an anorexic. Try to avoid any commentaries on this topic, no matter if they are positive or negative. Anorexia sufferers are usually concentrated on how they look, but be sure that they are not satisfied with their reflection in the mirror. So that would be better not to remind about the problem and deepen it that way.
Lunch break may turn into a living nightmare if you start giving advice about food. Yes, they can’t eat more. And don’t try to persuade them to eat two more spoonfuls of that delicious cheesy pasta. Instead of making them eat a larger portion at once, try to offer a tiny amount of a homemade apple pie in a very delicate manner. Bind this piece of food with a positive emotion by telling about your childhood or family traditions connected with it.
Even a recovering anorexic is still stuck to his or her strict rules quite firmly. These rules may seem to be weird for you, but it’s better not to show any surprise when you hear that your workmate will definitely not eat this salad just because it contains yellow vegetables. Try to find another approach. Bring some diversity to your routine by decorating your workplace or going out and watching a movie on some workdays. Anorexic behavior is tightly bound with the idea of control and the sufferer usually makes these rules up by himself to maintain the illusion of a total controlling his or her life events. Breaking these rules can be helpful, but it must be carried out as mildly as possible, otherwise it will be considered as a rough intervention.
Show that you are open to any kind of communication and give a kind smile. Be sure that will be appreciated. Even if you don’t receive the answer smile, know for sure that your anorexic workmate feels much better. People with such disorders often hide their shyness behind the emotionless mask, but that doesn’t mean that they feel less. Otherwise this can tell about their sensitivity.
Don’t give then a reason to see that they differ from you. Generally anorexia sufferers are not in need of being pitied. The less interest towards their illness you show the better. The best way to break the ice and help them to cope with their disorder is to bring out the interest in their personality.