“When someone you care about experiences an eating disorder, it can be difficult to know how to help and how to adapt to changes in your own life and relationships”.
“Families, friends, and carers rarely have prior knowledge about eating disorders and recovery”.
“And the information available frequently focuses only on clinical symptoms and treatment, rather than recovery, relationships, and wellbeing for everyone affected”.
“But learning about eating disorders and recovery can make a real difference to you and your loved one”.
“I know firsthand how hard it is to live with an eating disorder and I know the damage it can cause to families”.
“The fear that someone you care for may not recover can create distress, worry and extreme feelings of hopelessness”.
“But people can and do recover, and family, friends and carers can support that recovery in many ways”.
“I’m delighted to be working with EDFA to support, educate and empower families affected by an eating disorder, as we work towards a vision where eating disorders struggle to emerge, thrive or persist”.
Joni Thomes is also the National Communications & Strategic Projects Manager for Bowel Cancer Australia, a national charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.
Joni’s top tips
Stigma, shame, and secrecy enables eating disorders and disables relationships.
Inform yourself about eating disorders and recovery: Look at a range of sources, including research-based information and resources from people with their own lived experience, both carers and people affected by eating disorders.
Make connections with others: although it can be difficult to connect with others, especially when you are busy caring for someone else, becoming isolated can impact negatively on you and your family’s wellbeing. If you can, seek out community networks like EDFA’s Strive support groups, where you feel welcome and included.
Stay hopeful: hearing from others who have experience with eating disorders and recovery can be helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed. Having hope in someone’s recovery, especially when they are feeling hopeless, can be very helpful for both of you.