Looking after yourself

Eating Disorder causing stress and arguments. Mum needs to take care of herself

Caring can be exhausting

When you are caring for someone with an eating disorder, it can be very easy to put aside your own needs when responding to the crisis.

After all, as the primary carer, you are providing the care they need on their recovery journey.

For families participating in treatment models like FBT, this can be particularly intense and require carers to be on duty 24/7.

There is often anger, conflict and arguments around meals causing tension… not to mention ongoing worry, uncertainty and fear. 

Eating Disorders are not linear, and the road to recovery is not an easy one. Many carers and families experience symptoms of fatigue, trauma, insomnia, stress and more…

…all of which impact their ability to care.

Parents often put themselves last when caring for someone with an eating disorder but they need to take care of themselves.

Carer and parental guilt

Parents need to take care of themselves so they can care for their loved ones suffering with an eating disorder.

Many parents and carers experience guilt for a number of different reasons:

  • You wish your child was well, but this illness is something that can’t be fixed quickly.
  • You feel you are neglecting your other children and that you can’t devote enough time to them while a member of the family is unwell.
  • You can’t focus clearly at work because you’re overwhelmingly worried and frightened for your unwell child.

Take some time for yourself.

It’s pretty clear what the message is here. And yes, while it sounds simple, and we put it on our to-do list, more often than not we neglect to take on board suggested self-care practices. But for your own state of wellbeing and those of the other members of your family, please take some time for yourself. It will help you to care more effectively for a longer period of time, not overreact when you see early signs of relapse and help you come out of this process intact as a family and as a person.

Need some inspiration?

  • take time for hobbies or interests that nourish you
  • get a massage
  • catch up with a friend for coffee
  • put the headphones on and listen to inspiring music
  • negotiate nights away between your spouse and you (going away together may be impossible for a while)
  • practise yoga and mindfulness 
  • call for help from families and friends 
  • let someone else cook some meals
  • ask others to focus on siblings, take them out for a meal and away from the family distress.

Become a member of EDFA for $25 per year (Australian Carers Only)

EDFA is a proud not-for-profit, predominantly volunteer-run organisation. 

We invite you to be part of a revolutionary peer support group making positive changes in the eating disorder space. Strength in numbers means we are able to affect change and have the collective voice of the carers recognised.

We provide opportunities to connect with other parents and carers who share your experiences, helping you to feel less alone and isolated.

Yearly membership is just $25.

Membership gives access to:

A range of resources in our Member Only section of the website including Educational Recordings, Member Recommended Clinicians and Services, and more.

Over 70 support groups and education sessions per year. including:

Twice monthly education sessions

strive Carer Support Groups for carers of loved ones with any type of eating disorder (run three times each month)

strive ARFID Carer Support Group (run monthly)

strive bulimia nervosa Carer Support Group (run quarterly)

strive binge eating disorder Carer Support Group (run quarterly) 

strive4Men Carer Support Group (run quarterly) – a group for male carers 

siblings Support Group (run monthly) – a group for siblings of those with an eating disorder

daily online support through our private strive Australia Facebook Group and the opportunity to connect, share, learn and ask questions is another benefit of being part of our EDFA community.

discounts to eating disorder events and conferences

Your membership helps EDFA with ongoing costs of running a not-for-profit organisation, and importantly, shows Government that families value, need and believe in this type of lived experience support. Strength in numbers helps EDFA lobby as the collective voice of carers for  better services, treatments, access to expert clinicians and specialised eating disorder units, to help our loved ones in their recovery journey and to acknowledge the impact of an eating disorder diagnosis on the entire family unit.

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