My family and I are too close to this mental disorder.
Too close to write about it without heart-wrenching emotion. Why? My adult daughter suffers with an E.D. has since she was eleven years old; she will turn twenty-five this year.
We did not discover what was wrong, what was actually going on with her until after my father lost his two-year battle with cancer when she was fourteen. We knew something was wrong. You see, she was no longer the vibrant, happy child we knew. What stood before us was a shell of her former self. Part of me wondered if it was just her becoming a teenager, part of me chalked it up to grief over my father, but another part of me? That part of a mother that deep down really knows their child? That part really knew it was something much deeper, much darker, and much scarier.
Yet she would not talk to us.
She did not talk to anyone about it.
She kept it all in, kept it hidden.
So, when she asked to speak to me and my mom, alone, and revealed what she had been going through, I will admit to conflicted emotions. Conflicted emotions? How in the name of all that is good can a parent have conflicted emotions about their child coming to them with something so devastating? I wish I could say it made sense. I wish I could say it was easy. But truth be told, none of this makes sense and none of it is easy.
When the words, “I have an eating disorder.” Left my child’s mouth part of me was relieved, part of me was horrified, part of me was shamed. All of those swirled together, threatened to pull me in and hold me down, but before me was a wonderful spirit that was crying for help and that was enough to strengthen me for the long, hard battle ahead.
And a battle it has been. One that has taken many, many paths and is far from over.
Over the next several posts I will tell you our story. Not for you to emulate. Not for sympathy. Not to offer excuses. No, I will tell you our story with the hopes that it will spread awareness of these horrifying mental disorders and help those who are going through it know they are not alone.