Monday, November 12, 2018

Dandelions and Daisies

Imagine, for a moment, a dandelion – lean and long with a fluffy, delicate and intricate top, vulnerable to puffs of air. It doesn’t take much for it to disappear- stem left standing. Solitary, bare and alone.

Where we see dandelions, we often see daisies. Also delicate, they appear more grounded, their flowers like pretty faces with a solid yellow center. They frequently grow in clusters. I remember as a child, sitting on the grass gathering them to make daisy chain necklaces and bracelets.

It has been exactly 8 years since I began to share ED stories and experiences with other parents of ED children. They range in ages from their 30s to 80s. Their journeys vary but their anguish and suffering are the same. I met parents whose child recovered, and others who grieve their loss forever.

What is apparent is that the sooner parents accept the reality of their child’s situation and take action, the more promising the prognosis for their loved one’s recovery is. Our responsibility to take care of our children never goes away, no matter how old or sick they are. We signed up for this! Inaction empowers ED to dominate, deceive, and destroy. Your child needs you more now than ever (yes, even as an adult).

Are you going to leave him/her to become a dandelion, defenseless and powerless - to wither and disappear in a puff of wind? Or are you going to embrace your child in the daisy chain of connectedness, love, and support, in order to thrive again? 
Once a parent, always a parent.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Peaches and Cream

My silence has been a case of "no news is good news." Aside from the usual body image issues, which affect most women, ED is absent. In contrast to his dominance 5 years ago, we rarely mention his name or notice any signs that he was even part of our lives.

So what has inspired me to write a new blog after so long? The death of an acquaintance and colleague. Someone who was slim, but not emaciated. Someone who exuded happiness - laughing and smiling more than anyone! Someone who shared peach shortcake with me, and gladly grabbed several cookies when the plate went by. A capable, beautiful and loving 45-year old, who never told anyone her dark secret. Haunted by ED, she took her own life tragically and decisively, and those of us who knew her reeled in disbelief.

Knowledge of her long illness, at least since college, came to me later. I, of all people, who is never shocked or surprised by what someone tells me about ED, was totally floored. Then I remembered that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of psychiatric illnesses because of an elevated incidence of suicide. Overwhelmed by guilt at not having paid more attention to early warning signs (baby voice, heightened anxiety, difficulty with commitment, and yes she did suddenly look really thin the last time I saw her), I struggled to accept her death. 

Why am I writing this is in a blog about my daughter? To remind myself, and those who read this, that early intervention is critically important for recovery. There are countless happy endings to ED stories, but people need help and the sooner the better. Her death epitomizes the devastation and loss caused by evil ED. He seduces and abuses, his advances impossible to reject, rendering your loved one powerless. Act now – he or she needs your strength and courage to help them beat this.