Caring for a child or adult with an eating disorder is a deeply complex situation that can throw families into complete emotional chaos and disorder.
We asked parents and carers to share the tips and techniques that have helped them - and their family unit - the most.
The following contribution has been written by: Anonymous.
What positive suggestions can I make to families living through the sheer hell and insidious nature of a child or adult with an eating disorder?
When our daughter was first admitted to hospital our lives were cyclonic. Constantly trying to explain the mortal, physical and emotional reality of her situation to others became exhausting. After a while I learnt to save my energy – not to try to change everyone’s perception of an eating disorder overnight – but to concentrate on ensuring that each member of our family was coping in his or her own way and felt equally as treasured.
As we now battle through another acute period in our daughter’s journey, communication remains the important factor. We have all had to learn the skills of how and when to communicate with our daughter – that is fundamental.
In recent months our three other grown up children have found it increasingly difficult to live with, and each has to deal with it in his or her own way.
We have family meetings when I feel the pressure mounting and the strings thinning. There is no doubt that this continues to be my mainstay.
I have been blessed to have a wonderful relationship with our family GP and our daughter’s psychologist, and together we work as a team. We communicate. We listen always.
This extends to understanding the nuances of communicating and mediating between patient and in-hospital treating teams.
To make sure that this close family of ours does not fall over, I have the ongoing weekly support of a psychologist.
It is important not to keep all your feelings and emotions bottled up. Find a mentor, close friend or clinician to help carry you through – and encourage each family member to do the same. It is sink or swim – and maintaining that strength to swim takes an enormous amount of courage, love and support.