Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day #24 - Parent Conference

Parent Conference...

If I were to advise a parent on how to help their child who was suffering from an eating disorder in precisely the same way I was, I would maybe say...

Don't be intimidated by her.  Don't let your fear of how she will react stop you from asking her how she is doing.

Get her help.  If you see her rapidly losing weight, and know she is not okay, even if she says she is, just get her help.  Call a therapist.  Call a treatment center.  Reach out, because this is probably bigger than what you can handle on your own.

It isn't your fault.  I know it hurts to watch her do this, but it isn't your fault.

No matter what, never stop showing your love for her.  Even if you are so mad at her you could scream and tear your hair out, never stop loving her or demonstrating to her that your love is unconditional.  She feels pretty vile and worthless right now, and your unconditional love could really do a lot to help her.

Photo - Mila sportin' the hat that her Aunt K.Y. gave her.  She says "fanks!"

Always believe what she says.  Don't discount her emotions or discredit her feelings.

Never give up on her.  That is perhaps the most important thing of all.  Even if she suffers for years or has many relapses, NEVER stop believing she can do it.  Because she will, undoubtedly, have many people brand her a "lifer" and not believe she will ever attain recovery.  But you are her parents, and you need to be her #1 cheerleaders in all things regarding eating disorder recovery.  Always have hope.  Never let go of that.


That was hard.  And it made me think of Mila.  I hope I never have to take my own advice.  It would be so terrifying and devastating to be a parent, watching their child slowly self-destruct and kill themselves over an eating disorder.  It makes me sad that I put my parents through so much.  But I love them and am so grateful that they handled this all the best they knew how, and that they never, ever gave up on me.  That perhaps means the most of all.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  Love you.

1 comment:

po said...

This is excellent advice. I am sure parents lose hope many times, but I think it is important for them to fake it during those times, because having someone who is always there unconditionally makes a huge difference to a person's recovery from any mental illness.

This post makes me think of my own parents who have watched all three of their kids go through terrifying mental illnesses. It's just to much to even contemplate :(