taking action ...
[New Parent Resource: ED Educate] Often as parents we experience a tremendous amount of shame when our child develops an eating disorder...
...We must face and work through (or in spite of) our shame. These illnesses come with a great deal of stigma that is neither deserved nor helpful.
We must not keep our child's eating disorder a secret. The illness will demand that of us, but this is a demand we must refuse. Gently, we need to inform our child that we will speak openly with others, without shame, about their illness so that we are not isolated from the support and resources that others can offer. If the diagnosis were cancer, would we remain silent? Would we wait for our child to want treatment? Would we allow them to hit bottom before we took action?
Our immediate action is necessary, but it must be instituted with care and love. We need professional guidance on how to act and speak so that our child can hear us...as well as instruction in how to listen so that we are able to hear beyond our child's words.
That said, we also must trust our gut instincts. If we feel that things are amiss in some way and our child's current treatment providers disagree, we need to muster the courage to check in with other experts and persist until our questions are answered. If our gut is telling us our child needs a higher level of care, more intense treatment...we need to trust that instinct. We often regret when we do not listen to our "internal wisdom."
Please know that this illness is not our child’s fault. The development of an eating disorder is extremely complex, with genetics and biology playing a huge role in making one susceptible.
The final message we would like to leave with you is that healing from an eating disorder happens! Even though bulimia took Andrea's life, we firmly believe that complete healing IS possible, even if a person has suffered for decades. We've met far too many people who are testaments to this fact to have any doubt of its truth. Do not lose hope ... your child can not only survive but can thrive through the healing process. As parents, we need to have this thought uppermost in our minds and we need to make sure our child's treatment team believes in complete healing as well.