Helping a 22 year old niece with anorexia
In less than a week, I will be seeing my niece whom I only see once a year at max, given that she lives in France with the rest of her family.
She has been anorexic--at least has had all the behavior and physical appearances of it--for many years but her condition is now severe. Her mother, father, and grand parents are unable to help her: they make remarks, try to talk about it, recommend that she sees specialists about it but she seems in total denial. I doubt very much I can change anything to the situation but I have a couple of small advantages over the rest of the family in that:
1. I live far from her and therefore can be seen as an outsider to the situation
2. I am much calmer than the rest of my overly stressed family
I am wondering if anyone has any advice as to what I can do/say, if anything.
My instinct would be to have a frank conversation with her, one on one, and try to help her face the reality of the situation and help her accept that she needs professional help, right now. But I also know what seems obvious to our eyes isn't what anorexic individuals see about themselves, and I don't want to waste the trust she might have in me by following a path known to fail from the start.
Is there a better approach? From the last pictures I saw, the situation seems dire enough that just acting as if there was nothing would not feel right.