On the road to recovery from an eating disorder...
Written by Julie Lodrick on 31/07/2012
Q. My daughter has been suffering with an eating disorder since last year. She has had counselling, been to our doctors and her eating has improved with lots of encouragement. However now that she has put on some weight she tells me that I’m making her fat and that she hates herself, she thinks every one of her friends is prettier than her, skinner than her and brighter!! I’ve really tried to boost her self-esteem but sometimes feel we are going backwards. Her moods are hard to cope with sometimes and I know slowly she is improving but how do I keep her on the right track and hope that she doesn’t go backwards? She has been under a lot of pressure with her GCSE s- I’ve told her how well she’s doing and that we are all proud of her but she doesn’t believe me. She thinks she’s going to fail and is always so negative. How can we help her see she is a wonderful, talented, beautiful person!
A. It is reassuring to hear that your daughter has been under the care of your GP, as well as receiving counselling. However, on-going support for your daughter and the whole family is essential during recovery, which can be a long and difficult journey that will have peaks and troughs along the way. The support your daughter receives will help her to develop coping mechanisms for life’s realities; for you and your family, it will provide an outlet for the roller-coaster of emotions that you are all dealing with in order to support your daughter / sibling. As your daughter begins to gain weight, her natural reaction will be to feel guilty for having eaten and she will struggle with the part of her that wants to lose the weight again. It is for you to acknowledge that this is a huge effort for your daughter, don’t patronise her, and avoid praising her for eating; a challenging and fine balance to strike.
The aim at mealtimes is to normalise eating; to diminish the threat and dread that is associated with meals and the environments in which they take place. Ensure that there is always structured eating at home – planned meals at planned times is crucial.
In terms of boosting her self-esteem, try to avoid engaging in conversations about food, calories, clothing, body size or weight. Rather, talk about how much you value her as a person. Compliment her personality and achievements rather than physical attributes.
Although she says she doesn’t believe what you say about how well she is doing and how proud you are of her, your reassurance really does make a difference. Keep telling her that no matter how difficult things get, you love and care for her unconditionally.
Remember that recovery is possible, so whatever you do, don’t give up.
Add my comment…
Nobody has posted any comments yet, why not be the first?