A girl in my class hardly eats anything, is always exercising and thinks she is fat even though she is only a size 8. I think she has an eating disorder but I'm not sure. What exactly is an eating disorder?
It's possible that this young girl may have an eating disorder and yes, if left untreated, this can have lifelong consequences. People with eating disorders can be very resistant when it comes to talking about it, so you may have to be firm but sensitive in your approach to this girl. If possible, try talking to her. If not, ask advice from a teacher you trust or the school guidance counsellor. There are three main types of eating disorders:
There are a number of signs you could pick up at school that could suggest someone has an eating disorder. It doesn't mean that they have, but that they might have:
Fortunately there is specialised counselling available to treat eating disorders. A representative from the school or the family's GP will be able to put the family in touch with these services. This girl may not be too happy with you now, but in the future she will thank you for looking out for her. Check out Bodywhys (www.bodywhys.ie) for further information.
My sister seems to have cuts on her wrists lately. When I asked her about it she said she it was an accident but not to tell anyone. I'm really worried about her, could she be cutting herself?
It does sound worrying and yes she may be self harming. Self harming is a way to relieve extreme stress. There are no typical people who self harm. Read through the following list of signs and symptoms and if any of these apply to your sister, tell your parents or a trusted adult. It doesn't mean that your sister is definitely self harming, but she might be.
If some or all of these signs apply to your sister, think about possible reasons she may have started to self harm:
Stay calm. Tell your sister that you can't keep this a secret even if she says she is very embarrassed about it or annoyed at you. Talk to your parents or another adult that you trust. Your family doctor will be a good source of advice and help.