My daughter’s eating disorder journey started during our very first lockdown in 2020. She started cutting down on food, increasing exercise and losing weight.
She was seeing a psychologist for anxiety and depression but my calls for help around her lack of eating weren’t dealt with as the GP we were seeing had little experience with eating disorders.
Physically, she looked drawn and tired with dark rings around her eyes.
It wasn’t until she was admitted to hospital due to her dangerously low heart beat and blood pressure, that we were given a diagnosis. Anorexia.
This is when we found out that she had lost a third of her body weight in two months.
Not 'sick' enough
My daughter was in the Eating Disorder unit for 3 weeks…but she didn’t see herself as being as ‘thin’ or as sick as the other girls on the ward.
When she was discharged, things got even more difficult. She fought every meal, cut out snacks, and she continued to see herself as ‘fat’, calling herself horrible names. It broke my heart.
Psychologist and recovery coach a ‘godsend’
Three months after she was discharged, we found a psychologist that specialised in eating disorders. Finally, someone who could help. She has been a Godsend.
We also found a Recovery Coach after coming across this in an episode of the tv show New Amsterdam…we didn’t even know there was such a thing! The Recovery Coach is wonderful as she has recovered from an eating disorder and can offer real, lived experiences and advice.
Our journey to recovery
We are now into our 8th month of the journey to recovery from the time she was admitted into hospital. She is going into year 12 in 2022 and we are praying that she has more good days than dark ones so she can gain her VCE certificate and go on to whatever career path she chooses.
Caring for my daughter in this intense way was has completely impacted my life. It is a rollercoaster of emotion and heartache coupled with days of happiness and joy.
I have definitely put myself lower on the list of people/things to look after as she relies on me more than her father or brother.
She waits until I sit at the table to sit and start her meals. I still prepare and serve her meals as she only wants me to do this and I am the one that takes her to all her appointments.
I am also the one that takes all the anger, abuse and hatred when she has her dark days.
My heart is shattered! I am exhausted and I cry when no one is looking.
I wish I had known…
I wish I had found an appropriate psychologist for her earlier…
I wish I had known about recovery coaches earlier…
I also wish that I had been connected with EDFA when we were first admitted to hospital, rather than just been given a few pamphlets and sent on our way.
I love seeing…
…my daughter’s smile, hearing her sing and watching her back in the kitchen and baking (not that she tastes anything).
My advice to anyone experiencing a loved one with an eating disorder – Reach out for help – each day is different. Some days are sunshine, some are thunder, lightning and stormy. Brace yourself.
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