Imagine you are speaking to a parent of a person who suffers from an eating disorder in precisely the same manner as you did. What would you advise that parent? What would you tell them to avoid? What would you encourage them to do? What should they say? Not say? Are there any resources or agencies you think would help them? What are they?
This is quite a difficult one so I will approach it as how I felt and how I reacted to what people said to me.
I didn't suffer from an eating disorder until I was in my late teens, but was an adult. I was still someones Daughter. I also lived away from my parents so they didn't really have a lot to do with it. The one thing my Mum did say to me nearly 2 years ago was, 'youve beaten it before and you will do it again.' I'm so glad she was right.
Eating disorders don't just happen overnight, and before you know it you are sucked in to what I can only describe as a lonely and torturous existence.
If you are concerned about your child speak up. Ask for advice from your GP or an eating disorders organisation, don't think it will just go away because It wont. Don't take no for an answer from the GP, get a second opinion if needed. Do some research on the Internet if need be.
Try to communicate as a family, with your spouse, partner, other children. It can be so easy to focus on the individuals eating disorder and push others out. Try to support each other.
I wrote about identity on day 22. This person is more than their eating disorder, try to keep that in focus. Help them to see who they are as a person, their achievements, goals, personal attributes. Focus on who they are as a person, how special they are to you and how much you care for them.
Try not to focus on their weight, how much they have lost, or what they look like. Telling me how skinny I was would only add to how much I thought I had achieved. Telling me how well I looked meant I had gained weight.....No win situation at times.
Speak to other parents for support, maybe on an online forum or local support group. It can help to know you are not on your own.
Remember that your Son/Daughter is not doing this to hurt you or to get back at you. Its not your fault. Its a serious mental illness which they think they can control when realistically it is controlling them.
People can recover from eating disorders,there is hope, just try not to give up.
Organisations which may be of help include,