Monday, December 29, 2008

Visiting Grandma

We spent this afternoon with N's Great Grandma & Grandpa. They've been aware of N's illness and have prayed with the rest of us for his recovery. At the end of our visit, she asked how N was doing. She then told me about a relative's friend that is suffering from anorexia (and later we found out bulimia).

I've had several talks with Grandma about N's recovery, the research that we've found, and the different ways of looking at this illness. But I was surprised to hear her ask about this 18 year-old girl, "Why would she do this?" I was surprised because I thought we had blasted through those old stereotypes long ago. Yet all of a sudden, I realized that all of our conversations hadn't changed those old perceptions. So, once again, I (along with my son and husband) corrected her and said, "it's not about that, it's a brain disorder." I could hear in her tone a belief that this daughter was "doing this" to her parents.

I must confess that I wondered for the first time if all the education that we're trying to spread is even making any difference.


Laura Collins said...

My mother-in-law, who has been our greatest support in practical and emotional ways, still asks that.

Most people really struggle to absorb the fact that behavior can be involuntary, that a person could have a brain that breaks just like another organ.

This is a societal problem, and I guess we all just have to keep at it. It took a while for people to believe the world was round, after all.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up teaching and informing. When I was diagnosed 30 years ago, my doctor had never heard of anorexia and was investigating for cancer. Luckily a pediatrician at the hospital had more information. The nurses put a tube at the bottom of my bed and told me if I didn't "cooperate" they would tube feed me. I was blamed by the medical profession that I ran into for what I was "doing". Things have changed and they will continue to....change takes time.