Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Lonely Parent

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!


Anonymous said...

Wendy, Those of us who are parents of kids with anorexia know what you are going through. Thank you for getting the message out, and warm wishes to you and your family.

Wendy said...

Thank you so much!

Erica said...

Wendy, we are here -- you are not alone! Today was a bad day for my d. She is growing and so we increased her breakfast by adding oatmeal. Oatmeal was a staple during refeeding, and I really didn't think it would be a big deal, but she started sobbing...to her oatmeal represented a step backwards. I was heartbroken and so sad about this illness does to our kids. She pulled it together and was able to talk about what the oatmeal meant, but I was still in a pit all day. Who could I ever talk to this about? Only another parent who has seen this illness up close...surround yourself with those people that truly care about you and your son.

Wendy said...

Thanks Erica - you're right, I left out all of you who are going through the same thing and yet are simultaneously supporting me and helping me. You definitely understand. I am so thankful for all of you who help me, support me and make suggestions.

I'm sorry about your daughter's bad day. I'll be surprised if my son ever wants to eat oatmeal again. It is still a staple for breakfast here.

Colby said...

There are a number of different treatment programs and approaches to support people suffering from eating disorders who decide to get help. I’ve found that Silver Hill Hospital has a number of treatment options, including adolescent residential programs, that encourage family involvement in the recovery process.