Being the parent of a child with anorexia is terribly isolating. We continue to be quite private about our struggles. I really wish that the public perception of anorexia was more accurate and not so based on assumptions of the past. It would be good to speak publicly and help change these inaccurate perceptions. But the reality is that those old perceptions are prevalent and most of those around us really don't understand. And N is going through such a tough time in life anyway. I just feel like we can't openly discuss the anorexia and not have people prejudge him (because I continue to see evidence of that judgement). N is a great kid -- but it seems that the anorexia gets in the way of people seeing that.
In the past few weeks, I've felt this loneliness more than usual. I've had several conversations with people who are aware of N's illness. I thought that they understood the realities of the disease. But in these conversations, I became quite aware of how much they don't understand. I spent many minutes last week, for example, trying to explain to someone how exercise figures into the problems of anorexia. It was hard to help her understand the idea that not exercising (regimentally) was in N's best interest. The media's misunderstanding of weight right now just adds to the isolation as I realize just how much of a paradigm shift I've already had (and how crazy I must sound sometimes).
Thankfully, I have a few friends and family members who really listen to me and believe in me regardless of understanding. [Edited to include]: And I also have a wonderful community of parents supporting each other as we all go through the same thing!