Kim’s Carer Story

I’ve strengthened my personal relationships, learned a deep compassion for others, and immensely value the little things in life – and the value of gratitude.

My life has revolved around my daughter’s eating disorder for eight years now. The first two years were spent supporting her through FBT, which appeared to have helped her to recover within those two years. And for a while, everything was back to normal, and it appeared our daughter was her happy, healthy self again. 

We learned quickly that eating disorders can be much more persistent and unforgiving than that. We noticed the signs just shy of her 18th birthday, and by the time she was 18-and-a-half, her ED had reared its ugly head once more. Then, for 18 months, it was a slow, yet relentless daily process of full meal support while she achieved weight restoration. Progress was always bittersweet – every time she was in a good enough place to try autonomy, her weight fell once more, and we were back to square one. 

For now, we’re trying our hand at outpatient recovery to keep a semblance of normalcy as much as we can. While she’s still underweight and her mind is overrun by ED thoughts and behaviours, it’s been four months since her hospital admission. It’s a small win in the long run, but one we value all the same.

Looking for the positives

When supporting any loved one through a difficult time, there are clear negatives. Of course, there’s grief – for the person they were before, for your relationship untouched by this particular harshness, for the simpler times. Sometimes, it grows beyond that, and you feel like things can never be as good as they were before. 

It also impacts your world beyond you and your loved one. When my daughter was attempting weight restoration, we were worried about her potentially self-harming, and needed constant supervision over 18 months. This meant no social life or personal time for me.

But there are also hidden positives that help you see through to the light at the end of the tunnel. For all the destruction the eating disorder has brought, it’s made me that much more appreciative of all that is good and how strong people must be to overcome their own struggles.

My husband and I came close to breaking up, but we are now closer than ever before. We stand as a team and united front against our daughter’s illness, and know we have each other’s support going forward.

Siblings are often prone to becoming collateral damage when there’s an eating disorder involved. Both of my daughter’s younger siblings are deeply affected, but have shown resilience for themselves (including our son’s anxiety) and their sister, and I couldn’t be prouder. Our daughter has been a great support to her older sister.

We’re thankful to have had access to an amazing team of professionals (GP, private dietitian, and psychologist) along the way. Our daughter now pays for these services herself and has taken over full responsibility for her treatment and recovery. We’re so proud of her for taking this ownership.

Kim Carer Story

Beyond my control

After eight years, I’ve come to recognise that I can only change some things and many things are beyond my control.

It’s a difficult revelation – especially as a parent – but one I wish I’d known sooner.


I also wish I’d known that validating my child’s feelings would help her feel heard and help her to heal.

To those embarking on this journey, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Always be aware of your own personal critic and be kind to yourself.
  • Know it is hard and it’s okay to grieve the loss of the child you used to know.        
  • Validation of your child’s struggles doesn’t mean you agree with their thoughts and behaviour.
  • What is happening is trauma to your child’s brain.
  • Food heals the brain.
  • It is likely the hardest thing you will ever face as there is no clear start or end; you are likely to go backwards as often as you go forwards.      
  • Your child’s eating disorder is not your fault.
  • They need your love, but you also need to love yourself and it’s a long battle that hasn’t been quickly won in our case.
  • Life is too short not to be grateful even during great adversity.

Armed with knowledge

For me, EDFA’s support was life changing. The organisation’s webinars and information have taught me so much, and having a community that understand has made me feel so much less alone. I now help EDFA on a volunteer basis so I can use my own experience to help others. 

I have also learnt to look after myself. Meditation, gratitude, coffee, beautiful plants are just some of the things that bring me joy. I love hanging out with my family, joking, playing and spending quality time together. Being purposeful about living my best life daily is what keeps me strong and keeps me going.

For more information on EDFA’s education webinars, click here. To access EDFA’s support groups, click here.