Wednesday, March 12, 2014

the people around me - our second offering -

recently i decided to tap into the incredible wealth of thoughts, insights and experiences
of the people around me. i wrote to a buncha different people i know asking for their thoughts
on different subjects. i hope to be posting one of their responses each wednesday.

our second offering in our new series is from a friend of mine who has a daughter with

it's a topic i know all too little about and yet is so widespread. i thought it was time i
started learning a bit.  it is with gratitude for her sharing and her daughter's permission
to do so, that i offer you the following...


This is a mothers perspective of anorexia. I want to write a disclaimer here though. Anorexia is a complex thing, and is as unique as each young girl and boy (eating disorders now affect many males as well as females) that struggles with an eating disorder.

It has been over a decade sharing my home with an eating disorder. It was about five years in that I realized that I had an unwelcome guest living in my house. "Ed" had come to dinner and had refused to leave. It was truly like an uninvited guest had come in and had been controlling many facets of my life. Ed changed how I shopped, how I cooked, how I even ate and how I spent my time and my resources; and it had happened so subtly that I didn't even realize that Ed had moved in with a stubborn resistance that I could only define as insidious.

My life became absorbed with trips to therapists and dietitians, none of which was covered by insurance; in search for answers, a cure. Ed did not like to be weighed and did not want to talk about food, but Ed sure spent a lot of time measuring food. My trips to the grocery store were no longer simple. I could no longer prepare a family meal that we would all sit down to enjoy together. Ed would look at my meals as if they were poison and would sit down in anger staring at them with mistrust and disgust. If the family went to a restaurant Ed would sulk and refuse to eat anything at all. I found the more I focused on what Ed would refuse to eat, the more I found myself eating. Ed did not even like to eat in the presence of other people. Ed put separation between me and my daughter. Ed changed my daughter's appearance so much that it would terrify me to look at her body at times. Ed has very nearly taken my daughter away from me. I began to address Ed and tell him that he was no longer welcome here. That didn't make Ed leave. Battling Ed has only made him stronger.

It has been a lot of years living with Ed now. We no longer see therapists or dietitians because they all betrayed Ed and he could not trust them. Ed and I still share the same house. My daughter has had the most success with encouraging Ed to try new things. I've given up and learned to accept what I cannot change, although I still get pretty terrified at times. Ed has made me feel pretty powerless and hopeless at times. He has often left me feeling as though my heart has been wrenched from my chest.

Ed, is the man that my daughter gave her heart to and he has not been kind to her. He has been a hard taskmaster; demanding her thoughts, her obedience, her deprivation, her loyalty; and the cost has taken a toll upon her soul. She has given her strength and so much more, beyond what any human should have to endure. What is it that this man does for her, that she has allowed him to rule over her for so long?

It kind of dawned on me today, that I really need to understand what he provides for her. Ed is here for a reason, obviously. I am certain that ed is a jealous protector, who has promised to give her what her parents never did. Enticing her with promises of giving her the childhood that she so desired.

How can I make her understand that I hear her and grieve for her childhood loss?  Her father  never adored her or held her close, he never sat her upon his knee.  It was not because anything was wrong with her.  She was a precious little girl.  It was her father's greatest loss that he was not healthy enough to adore her.  Try as I might, I couldn't do this for her and I am so sorry that I could not make everything right.  All I can do is love her still and honor that little girl by telling her she was worthy of so much more.


Here are a few sites that I have found helpful:


Pamela Jones said...

It is my fervent hope that one day your daughter will reach a place where she can know that she is enough -- and that she doesn't need Ed.
I can really relate to putting on pounds by proxy. My six-year-old granddaughter has medical issues that make it hard for her to eat. In trying to encourage her, I gained fifteen pounds! Wish we could do it for them. Hugs, Lynn...thank you for putting your story out for us to see.

Diane in AR said...

Thank you Lynn for sharing about you, your daughter and ED . . .like Terri, I know little about eating disorders. . .and learned from you how hard and terrifying it can be. . .wishing you the best. . .