How do you help someone get over an eating disorder when you yourself don't have a healthy relationship with your body and food? I do not have an actual eating disorder myself, but I have never liked my body and I have never felt comfortable with it. And as I try to "help" my loved one, all I can think about is how much ---I know this is stupid, but bear with me please --- how much I wish I had it too. I know it's just pain, and not a successful diet. I know it's stupid, and dangerous, and caused by stress and not by actual weight. But I wish I had the willpower to just skip meals and not eat like she does. And then I feel guilty, and stupid, and horrible. How can I get myself out of this track, and just focus on helping her and helping me? How can I stop myself from crying every time I read about eating disorders?
I wouldnt say that I have an unhealthy relationship with my body, but like you, I have never really liked my body or felt 100% comfortable with it. Physically, while I am overweight, I am healthy according to my Dr. however, that doesnt mean that I dont think about it when I talk, or try to talk to my mom about her eating disorder.
I can also relate to "wanting" to be like her at times when it comes to weight. As someone who is watching a loved one basically self-destruct with lack of nutrition, I wonder sometimes why I got an opposite mentality and body image.
I moved far away when it came time to go to college because I didnt want to have to be faced with her issues anymore on a daily basis. When I dont see it with my own eyes, I can sort of kid myself into thinking that she is ok. She very recently came down to FL to visit with my aunt, who has also struggled with being overweight for a long time. While my mom was here, she admitted that she hates the way she looks and feels, as well as the fact that she is at a record low weight currently.
Now, I had resolved to do something about my own situation before she even booked her trip, but this was the icing on the cake, she tried to minimize her issues by focusing on mine, which made me feel even worse. So, within hours of her leaving, I sucked up my pride, and walked into Weight Watchers. Its been two days, and simply just taking some sort of action like this has made me feel better already. I havent been to a meeting yet, and am nervous to do so, but I know that there is REALLY no excuse for her if I do this for myself. It will show her that change can be difficult, but extremely good, and in her case it will be life-saving. It will show her that it can be done and that with the right support, she may even enjoy it. It will show her that I care not only about myself by her as well. Most importantly, I will feel stronger, more confident, and even more motivated to help her help herself!
After years of convincing, I have also gotten my aunt on board with setting up an intervention for my mom before the year is out. In the meantime, we are trying to engage the rest of my family to be on board as well, which will be a struggle since they do not want to "do anything TO her." The most important thing when trying to help someone else, is to take care of you, Morningrose, and I am sure you know this. Crying is healthy, it is the body's way of telling you that you are stressed to the max and it must be released. Dont feel bad about crying. Eating disorders is a tough thing to learn about, read about, talk about and feel. It is even more tough to watch someone you love hurt themselves rather than care for themselves. If you remember nothing, remember this, YOU ARE NOT STUPID!!! I can tell if you have the courage to post on this site, you are looking for support, and that is the first step into anything like this, whether it is you recovering, or trying to support someone elses recovery, you can't do it alone.
Please feel free to write back.
I'm Vanessa. Keep on Keepin On!