What to say when someone says “I’d like a little of your eating disorder”..

This is in response to a great blog post written by Rebekah.. read her blog here…http://risforrecovery.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/you-dont-want-an-eating-disorder-you-just-want-to-be-thin/

Thanks for this. I’m a lucky survivor and was astonished that two of my girls, the youngest only 11, were hit. It was one thing to deal with this myself as a teen and in my 20s+ but another thing to see my little girl become a hard core AN. We caught it early, are doing family based treatment – its the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and she’s coming along. i’m hopeful she will recover fully with minimal scars. But I also know she will carry this with her for years and I’ll be there making sure she EATS and cares for herself in times of stress. I’ve also gotten that response and comment from friends and strangers.. i could tell them that they DON’T want to know that my sweet girl can be a monster when faced with a meal, which is SIX TIMES A DAY; that her ED will regularly tell me to go f*ck myself; that I often have to peel her off the floor crying – sometimes both of us; that they don’t want to clean up thrown food or cups or glasses or plates; that feeding someone with anorexia essentially takes EVERY MOMENT of your day and forget about work, social life, relaxation at least until you get out of the phase of refeeding; They don’t want to do that or watch that for sure. Or the fear that your little girl, your beautiful, charming, intelligent, charming 11 year old could be a statistic…that she and others like her have a 1 in 10 chance of DYING because of this eating disorder.

But what I do say now is this. I pause. And I say ” In fact Eating Disorders are a BIOLOGICALLY BASED Brain disorder…they are a form of mental illness. They are serious and have a high mortality rate.” Usually the person looks stunned. I will say more if they seem interested. I like to use the phrase ‘mental illness’ even though I know it is loaded. But NO ONE WANTS A MENTAL ILLNESS. I want that to be perfectly clear. and NO ONE WANTS AN EATING DISORDER.

The very amazing thing now, unlike when I was hit 20 years ago, is that sufferers and survivors and their families now have resources and research to support treatment. That just was not there 20 years ago. I remember really thinking I was crazy, and only finding Hilde Bruch – which sent me into alot of therapy and blamed (unfairly) my family and (incompletely) society. Now we know that FBT works, that early treatment works, that FAMILIES have to be involved and part of the treatment, and that we have to make our girls EAT to send ED off to where they belong. Deep down a dark hole, hopefully only a reminder of the past and a tiny alarm to help manage the future.

I think it is fabulous that we can start educating people. Schools need it. Parents need it. Coaches need it. Classmates need it. Media needs it. In the US the FREED Act is a great start to FINALLY get a federally funded effort to address education, advocacy, research, treatment.

Thanks again for your great post… xxxx


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