Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Friday, February 13, 2015

How to act/behave when your child/partner/family member has an eating disorder

Ive gotten alot of questions recently regarding, how to act when a friend/family member/partner has an eating disorder.
  I have THIS page which might help, but i thought i would also write some tips from my own experience... both from being sick, but also from conclusions and reasonings from now, after i have recovered.


When someone you are close to is struggling what you want to do is make the pain away, you want to take away their suffering, make it easier for them and that can often mean that YOU change your life around the person who is sick. You let the sick person get away with they want, you turn an eye on the person because you know it is easier for them. If they tell you that they have already eaten yet you know there is a 99% chance that they havent but you feel you dont want to argue or you dont have the energy to argue with them, that doesnt help them or you.
   Just like if you see the sick person cheating with food and you decide to just not say anything, let them get away with it. It doesnt help..... I know it feels better thinking that you are making it easier for them, but if you love them you will call them out on what they are doing.

If you know that they are exercising in their room, you will walk in their and tell them to stop even if they scream and cry and say nasty things because you are stopping them from exercising and doing their obsessive exercise. It will help them in the long term. Ive had my mum walk in on me when ive been exercising and it was awful, having to stop exercise... for me, it went so long that i wasnt allowed a door to my room at home because i would just exercise otherwise or i wouldnt sleep. My mum knew that she had to be tough with me..... she spent far too long during my hospital stays being kind to me. Letting me cheat with my food, letting me lie right to her face and turning her head when i went out for 2 hour runs or walks. But in the end what did that lead to? It lead to me spending more time in hospital, me becoming sicker, damaging my body even more. But she wanted me to choose healthy, she wanted me to realise for myself that i had to recover.... but the truth is, when you have  a voice in your head telling you that you can get away with cheating, that you can get away with not eating or with going for a 20 minute walk... you take that chance because otherwise the guilt will overflow you. But what You as a friend/partner/family member is to be tough with the person who is struggling. To be a guard or to be the bitch of the house... its tough. You will take alot of anger and hateful words but you are helping the person who is sick when you are forcing them to face their fears and anxieties because the chances are they wont do it on their own when they have the chance to not to.

When i was sick, all i wanted was for my mum and sister to leave me alone. To allow me to not eat, to allow me to exercise obssesivly and live in my sick world. But when my mum realised that she had to be a tough cookie, that she had to force me to eat that extra potatoe, force me to eat full fat yoghurt and not low fat, its then that i was also forced to face my fears even more and that HELPED me in the long run. Even if right at that moment i hated her with every molecule in my body. I would scream and cry and call her the worst mum ever, but she helped me. By being tough and not letting me cheat, that helped me even if i couldnt see it right then.

But also my sister, she never let me get away with anything. If she got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and heard me exercise she would then wake my mum up and my mum would have to sit in my room to keep me from exercising. If my sister saw me cheating with my food during dinner she would call me out on it and say directly to my face that i was being stupid and that all i was doing was making things worse for me. At the time i hated her for it, but it was a good thing that she did that. She knew what was best for me (even if it was unconscious, she was just so angry and irritated at me and she wanted me to stop being so weird around food).

YOU as a friend, family member or partner of someone who is struggling, you need to make them face their fears. But also be their to support them... listen to them, try to help them and also be a role model. Show them that they can eat, and be healthy.
 
I suggest that if you as someone close to the person struggling that you try to eat meals with the person who is sick, you dont talk about calories or good or bad food. You dont diet, but you focus on eating balanced and healthy as well. Eating all types of food. It becomes alot easier for the person who is struggling if the people around them arent dieting or trying to lose weight or diet, because that makes it very hard when the person is trying to gain weight. Of course, the person who is sick also needs to realise that there will always be someone dieting or trying to lose weight. And that they need to deal with the emotions that that triggers, but when its someone close to the person who is struggling its easier if there isnt so much dieting or weightloss going on.


I dont really know where i am going with this, but if you read my blog and its because someone you know is struggling then know that YOU also have to be strong and do your best to try to help and support the person who is sick. But also know that you cant take away their struggles or face their fears for them. Instead you have to support them and make them face their fears... dont change your life just for them. Dont allow them to get away with their ED habits because that doesnt help anyone.

I guess i am just a little angry and irritated when people just let those who are suffering follow all their bad ED behaviours... it doesnt help them to allow them to skip meals and go to the gym if they are underweight and unhealthy.

Anyway, i hope this post was a little helpful :)

6 comments:

  1. Hi Izzy, thank you so much for this! Do you have any specific advice for helping your fellow patients when you are being treated as an inpatient?

    I have become close friends with some of the fellow patients here, though it makes me sad when I see them getting upset and panicy about eating food, and worrying about the mealtimes, the weigh-ins, etc. its hard for me because I am in the same position as them, but I'm better at hiding my emotions, and I feel alot stronger now than I once was to deal with my own fear. But I would like to help them, if possible, but I never know what to do/say. It's tough sometimes as well because even though I care very much about them, their own actions trigger me sometimes too - calorie-counting, eating slowly, comparing portions, etc. I just wondered if you could give me any advice/thoughts on this? Thanks so much Izzy :) xxxxx

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  2. Okay, so... I disagree with your post. Sorry, but from my experience it is not helpful at all. Of course when you're an adult then it is family's responsibility to take core of the child. and I understanf your point of view. That looking at someone suffering is bad and pointless. But I think that doing what you've said is pointless too. Especially when you're 18 (okay I know it doesn't mean anything but let's say mature). Your life is your decision. And you know best that recovery is a decision of the sick person. It's the sufferer who must decide that he/she wants the change and fight for the life. Of course talking and support is good. But I see this control and arguments just not necessary. It only causes stress and anxiety. The pressure may only make things worse. Of course if that's what you see as a helpful method then okay... But it doesn't work for everybody. It can do more damage sometimes than good... Just my opinion. And I know ED is an awful illness but unless you want to end this by yourself and it is YOU who takes control, not the desease then it is the right direction. I had the best support in my family. And they didn't forced me to do this. They gave me the love and showed me they care. But it was me who recovered and nobody shouted at me or something because they know it won't help.

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    1. Oops When you're NOT an adult but a child/teenager ! Sorry :)

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  3. Amaaazing post Izzy ;) great work, it is sooo true what you write here :) *_*

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  4. I had a lot of family that knew but did nothing. I think I've seen all sides of the spectra in my own recovery. my sister always covered for me and helped me lie about it because it was easier for her, but ultimately not good. My dad would make a big deal about it and yell at me and say I had "model disease"-also not good. My mum never said anything but would go out of her way to wake up before I had school and make a full breakfast and try to get me to have some of it but I would watch all the oils and milk she added. Ultimately, I'm still in recovery practically 9 years later. I wonder if my parents had taken more initiative when I was younger and put me in inpatient if this would still have been as long of a process. I think what is best is whether child or adult, to connect the person to a treatment team and lead by example. Taking an anorexic's control away by watching every single move is not something that's ideal for either party And gets rod of self initiative in recovery. That being said, for most anorexic's, they need a solid reason to give it up And need someone else to take care of things and set an example until they can start to feel they can make the right choices on their own. That's just my personal experience.

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  5. I really think it depends on the person who's suffering from ED... And their stage in the recovery... some people are more fragile and if parents pressure them too much they just go into mental breakdown or something... Others are strong mentally and they can take it and it might be helpful in the very beginning, when the person is very much against recovery. But usually as time goes by the person can be talked to, not tied down to the bed. Also it's important for the family to become more educated about the disease and then they can really provide some held and support. it's better to be honest and open with the person, if you try to trick them into recovery nothing good will come. That's also from my experience))) otherwise great job, Izzy! it's a really important topic, would be great if you wrote some more post about it)))

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