Loving someone who has an eating disorder can be difficult and painful for everyone. You may watch the loved one starving themselves and you may feel powerless to help or you may get into power struggles with them. The individual struggling may become withdrawn and secretive. The person who is struggling with an eating disorder may not want to get better and their identity may be wrapped in this disorder for quite sometime. Everyone maybe feeling tortured. Getting professional help for the individual from clinicians who have experience in treating people with eating disorders is important along with getting support for yourself. Restoring the individual to their normal weight is only the first step. Recovery is possible, but it does not happen overnight. Please use this forum to connect with other parents and loved ones for support as they too understand what you are going through. This on-line community is here for you!
Accept Yourself...Accept Others
I am a loved one with an eating disorder. I post in the group today because I dont see any posts from family or friends. I entered this forum to see what the loved ones of people with eating disorders were thinking or feeling. I know a lot of my secrecy is out of love for my friends and family to hide them from the reality of what I am going though. I would love to hear comments or feeling from family and friends of loved ones with eating disorders. Thank you
Tattoolove- so glad you came to post today
I guess...it's confusing to love someone with an eating disorder. It has taken me a long time to even understand what an eating disorder is....and I don't even know if I really get it. I sometimes wish we could go back to before my loved one had the ED...but then that can't happen.
What do wish your family members could know or understand??
"Accept Yourself...Accept Others" I took the ANAD Pledge - have you?
Hello, I honestly dont know if a loved one can understand completely, unless you have lived it. On one hand, I wish they did understand. If you have an understanding your more compassionate and patient. On the other hand, if they really understood they would know the pain and shame I feel, and I would not want anyone to feel as I do, or know truely how I feel as then they would hurt for me. I hide a lot so my loved ones and friends dont know the true pain I am in. I have been anorexic pretty much my whole life, and only truely relized the consiquenses of my actions about a year and a half ago. I am beyond scared, more like terrified. I am trying very hard to get well but it is the hardest battle I have ever faced. I try not to look at the big picture or the long hual or I get overwhelmed and start to panic. I am just taking things one day at a time, and sometimes one task at a time.
I would like them to understand to get the compassion I need, but would never want my loved ones to truely know the pain I feel.
When it comes down to it. Their compassion will not get me better. It is 100% on me. I cherrish there love and support knowing they would love and support me with or without my ED.
One thing I would like my loved ones to know.. I am trying. That is most important. This is a very hard issue to deal with. Sometimes I might not be doing good enough, sometimes I may do better then ever. But I am always trying my hardest.
The one thing my loved ones have done for me that has really helped. They tell me they love me. They are concerned. They are scared. They give me lots of hugs and love. That is why more important then always asking if I have been eating, or what did I eat today.
Hey tattoolove - you have mentioned some very profound things! a)"their compassion will not get me better".... wow that is huge! You own your recovery- and you realize that. Great! and b)"they are concerned, they are scared, they give hugs and love - more important than always asking: WHAT DID I EAT".... you are surrounded by people that are expressing that they care about every part of you.
That is a blessing. Hang in there... life has exciting things in spam for you~
Each day is a new day. Don't look back, just move forward.
Thank you very much. Your words help encourage me to keep going on the path I am on. I am trying to trust my intuition more and ignore my fears. I feel very blessed and Thank God everyday for the life I have and the people who are in it. It is nice when people tell me they see me on the right track. It really dose help.
I have fears too...and I too spend time trying to ignore them. But sometimes I realize that they are just fears. I'll truly ask myself...what's the worst thing that could happen? And then I'll think, what are the real chances this could happen? And then I will make myself think about the myriad of other things that could happen that aren't so scary...I don't try to just push the scary thoughts out of my head...it's more like allowing them space to be there and also allowing them a path out.
"Accept Yourself...Accept Others" I took the ANAD Pledge - have you?
Several years ago I became a part of a story, one that you might call a "work in progress", but nonetheless one that I still feel blessed to be a part of. When I was younger I used to ask God to help me find a girl with a heart as heavy as mine, to show me His sense of humor and also teach me some valuable lessons He just had to have her live across the country. Sara is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, and she's got a heart and soul to match, but behind the scenes there's a battle taking place. This story began with her struggling with depression and self-harm, all I could do was offer her an audience for her story. The most I could do was listen, and offer her words of hope and of love, so that's what I did.
I later found out that Sara struggled with anorexia. Anorexia made it impossible for her to have a normal life, she couldn't attend school because she was always in the hospital and as a result she didn't really get to spend much time with friends. It kills me to see her like this and not be able to do anything about it, the most I can do is help herthe beauty that is so evident to me With Her Own Eyes.
Jamie Tworkowski wrote in his original story that would later become To Write Love On Her Arms that "We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home." Let us play the rescuers, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.
I don't have the loudest voice, and I have no idea how the story I feel led to tell will end. If Sara's shown me anything it's that what matters is not the story, but the passion with you tell that story. A great storyteller has a way own telling their stories with such great passion that people can't help but listen. We all have stories, what are you going to do with yours to make people listen? Don't ever underestimate your story, sometimes people need to be reminded that sometimes our struggles are what form us.We all have scars, mine may not be like yours and yours may not be like mine, but it's something we all share.
Scars don't have to be physical, sometimes they're what we keep inside, what we can't let go of. Scars begin as scabs, scabs are gross and irritating so we often pick at them, this only makes it worse. You see, scars are proof of pain, but also proof of healing. It's only when we treat our wounds properly that they heal.
She's got the purest eyes I've ever seen
A kind of faith that makes mine look more like a mustard seed
And I know she's got a heart of gold
Because she's not afraid to wear it on her sleeve
But a heart of gold only gets so pure once it's gone through the fire
And that mirror never runs out of ways to remind her
That she's always lived in someone else's shadow
I wish she could see her reflection in my eyes
She skipped another meal today
To make sure that she would still fit into a mold that she wasn't made for
If only my words could reach her
You were made to break molds, shut mouths, and open eyes
Don't ever let them feed you lies
You're beautiful, it doesn't matter what they say
You are Dulcinea
It is good for me to read what tattoolove wrote because I am the parent of a young woman who only recently developed anorexia, and I'm struggling mightily with feelings of helplessness. I've read the books, tried to do exactly what the professional in charge of her case suggests, try to appeal to her reason, emotions--anything that might reach her. It all gets so distraught, nothing works, and my own problems with depression and anxiety--largely at bay for many years--are exacerbated. I forget to simply keep telling her I love her and give her hugs and compliments. There is always at least that.
Wow..bless your heart for that poem..did you write that?? I cried and cried when I read that. Thank you. Very new on here? But thank you. Not sure this works yet!
But I also have struggled w/ anorexia/bulimia for years. Recovering..does one evr recover is my question.? But I have a dear friend who never gives up on me..so glad I have a friend like him! So god bless for people like you..and don't give up on us who struggle. We can be so frustrating. But sometimes just a listening ear is all what one needs.
Yes...there really is recovery...but it might be a work in progress for a long time...and that's cool...but there definitely is recovery!
Hope I have that right, my apologies if I don't have your "user name" correct.
Thank you for letting me know that their is a thing called RECOVERY. As it sounds u are? May I ask..if u want in private that is fine. Shoot me an email. But what and who do you know specifically brought that on? And how many years did u fight this. Granted I know all answers are differ. But such aan inspiration and HOPE for me, anyways. Thx!
What do I wish they could know?
I wish they could know how scared I am that I will never be okay.
I wish they could know how ashamed I am of what I put them through.
I wish they could know that I desperately need their love, even as I push them away.
I wish they could know I feel like even more of a failure if I have to ask for help.
I wish they could know that I hurt myself because I don't have the tools to respond any other way.
I wish they knew that the hardest part of this disease is the devestation my family feels.
I wish they could know how totally embarrasing it is to me that I am like this.
I wish they could see how mean I am to myself because I don't believe I deserve anything good.
I wish they knew how much I need to hear that they believe in me, because I don't believe in myself.
I wish they could understand that this disorder is stronger than me.
I wish they could hear the things my mind tells me, constant reminders that I am bad and unlovable.
I wish they could know that I love them more than anything but I am afraid to show that.
I wish they could know that I will do almost anything to avoid being vulnerable.
I wish they could understand that I feel like a freak.
I wish they could know that I lie so they don't have to know the horrible truth.
I wish they could understand that I avoid them because I don't feel good enough to be in their presence.
I wish they could know that I need their help to beat this even though I am afraid to ask for it.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
Love that! Very true.
I wrote that poem about a friend of mine named Sara. It's hard to watch someone you love fight a losing battle with themselves, and even harder when the only weapon in your arsenal is pretty words. She lives across the country, so all I can do is talk to her, but I guess it proves what you said. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen.
IdahoGirl: thanks for sharing that, so many (if not all) of those thoughts I have/do hold myself. sometimes I think about how much easier it would be if I could just verbalize those exact things. hopefully the family members/support members that come to this discussion board will see that and get a glimpse of how we feel.
My very good friend, one day, just dropped out of my life. I never understood why.
It's been almost two years, and then the other day, I saw him on the street.
He was so thin, he changed so much. He did not look healthy. Once, he told me he struggled with ED years ago, but now I understand.
Over the past two years, he has completely shut me out. I've let him know I care a few times, but no response.
What do I do? He's not receptive. Do I continue trying?
I really don't want to give up, but I also don't know if I'm helping...
My 14 year old daughter has been battling her ED since February of 10. She was hospitalized in June then kicked out by insurance after 7 days! Follow-up with 4 weeks of 1/2 day OP services. Has gained 10lbs but is so depressed all the time. Mealtime is a battle. As a parent I am supportive, also very angry. I don't know how to deal with the anger and have a hard time understand why my daughter has so much hatred for herself. It is a day to day struggle for me and even bigger struggle for her. I don't know how to deal with my anger and know she is aware I am angry.
I myself am a 16 year old who has been battling an ED for a year now, and I understand where you are coming from- because I see it at every meal with my own mother. to reiterate Kimberly, it is perpetually difficult to put into words the feelings that motivate the ED itself, and what is going on inside the head of the person. But in personal experience, the struggle is overwhelming to the point where I feel like I have lost my personality, and I know it angers my mother to see my so apparently nonchalant and ignorant about life or death aspect of the matter, but although it is hard to express this formally, it is not a lack of knowledge or naivety that makes the person with the ED ostracize themselves, but a true feeling of surrender. It is like a constant voice in your head telling you what to think and perceive as reality, as strange as that may seem.
Ultimately, you feel the need to withdraw any preoccupations and become that voice. This happens especially if you feel a lack of support for those so furvently bent on helping you- even if they express anger, at least they are caring enough to feel something for you.
So do not give up on your daughter, because sometimes I know I see a flicker of resignation in my own mother, when she cannot battle anymore, and although my ED tells me it's a win, I still have the intrinsic knowledge that this "win" will not get my anywhere but deeper into a fatal illness.
For any family members or friends - ANAD does have Family and Friends Support Groups. We hope the number of these groups continues to grow because everyone needs support. Just a few days ago, we had another group start. Here is the group information:
Location: Warrenville, IL
We hope everyone receives the support they need!
Can you direct me to any family/friend support groups in NJ?
My daughter has an eating disorder and my husband (my daughters step dad) and I are currenlty bringing her to a specialist for help. She does not want to get help and is now out of the blue saying that she wants to go live with her dad. Is this typical of someone with an eating disorder to try to escape the problem by running from it??
I am also a mom of a young adult recovering from ED.
A year ago, she was in a bad place weight, mood and cognition wise.
ED was so entrenched in her that she didn't want to get well.
I told her that I would not let her die.
We got her into treatment and kept her there by having an involuntary hold put on her into she could get enough treatment to want recovery.
Today, she is fully weight restored, working part-time and enjoying life.
It's been quite a journey but worth all the effort.
We don't know where things will end up but we are very hopeful and grateful.
I would tell you to separate your beautiful daughter from the monster that has taken over her. Think of ED as an abusive husband who has brainwashed your daughter.
For an understanding of the latest research that ED (especially anorexia) is a biological brain disorder resulting from malnutrition, read the excellent book by Dr. James Greenblatt - Answers to Anorexia.
We started the process of getting my daughter to go to treatment by having her call an Intake Coordinator. These people are skilled at talking to a person who is suffering.
Don't give up.
Get her into treatment, and she has a good chance at recovery.
@szwakyd... please go to this page on the website for 4 different groups/leaders: http://www.anad.org/get-help/support-groups/new-jersey/. Even if the group doesn't meet near you, contact those leaders for suggestions for support!
My daughter recently turned 17 y.o. and she has suffered from a bingeing/purging form of anorexia for about 2 1/2 yrs which came after 6-9 months of starvation and excessive exercising. She has been hospitalized in an eating disorder facility (hospital psych center) for month long stays twice, but it seems to have made no headway. We are at a point now that any (and ALL) food I have in the house, she will binge and purge in the middle of the night while we are sleeping. I am married, but my husband is totally disabled, so for all intensive purposes, I am the only one who can have any sense of consistency. I spent about a year trying to keep tabs on her all night every night, plus do all that I needed to do for my other daughters during the day. Needless to say, I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted!
So my questions are for those of you in a similar place, how do you keep food in the house? Our area is expecting several inches of snow and ice tonight, and I am worried that we will wake up tomorrow morning with no food in the house like we did this morning... The rest of us are starving. My other two children are having to eat in abnormal ways in order to just get food each day.
But my bigger question is do you have suggestions for where to get her help? We have very little income now because of my husband's disability and our insurance seems to be really rotten as far as covering any help for EDs. We have seen several therapists/counselors in our area who are clueless about what to do...the last one outright told us that she didn't think she could do anything else for us. I believe that my daughter needs a residential facility, but we cannot afford one. Are there any facilities that can work with us on the cost? Help!!!
I would appreciate short term ideas and long term solutions... I am lost and so discouraged right now. I feel like there is nothing I can do to help my child. I am watching her slip away before my eyes and I cannot seem to reach her, nor can anyone else so far.