“Eating disorders cripple not only the spirit of those who suffer from the illness but also their loved ones.”
Whenever I speak those words to patients during my monthly talks at Eating Recovery Center, the energy in the room immediately changes, seemingly hushed by a thick, woven blanket of guilt and shame. It can be overwhelming to imagine the pain others are experiencing at the hands of an eating disorder.
Each month, I also speak to families during the Eating Recovery Center’s family days, where the conversation inevitably leads to taking time out for self-care. “Who has the time for this?” Somehow, worrying about our loved ones has become a full-time job (along with having a full-time job!). Often, we walk around with the fear of loss; it debilitates us so that we cannot move. This constant fear of what could happen (anticipatory grief) keeps us in a narrow world, just as the eating disorder does to the sufferer. Constant fear has us so far removed from our lives that it’s sometimes hard to remember there was any other life before the eating disorder, but there was, and there is. The truth is that family members don’t get better because the loved one who is suffering gets better. We need to get better, too. Ultimately, we aid our loved one’s recovery by aiding our own. Click here for full article