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Posted 8 months ago
My daughter was first diagnosed with anorexia 10yrs ago. She is now 21.
She is my only child and having lived with this disorder for so long I think I have become totally blank to how to best help and support my daughter.
When she was a child I was very proactive in her treatment.
Now as an adult I do not attend her hospital or therapy appointments and feel a bit out of the loop.
I just don't know what to do to best help her.
I have become so conditioned that I am scared to talk for fear of upsetting her and walk on eggshells.
When she is able to talk to me it feels like an attack against me, that i am not helping. That i think everything is ok when its not. That I say and do the wrong things. She is unable to tell me how I can help and support her.
My heart is just sinking as I feel like such a failure and I am not sure i have enough energy in me to deal with it indefinitely.
Admin 157 posts
Hello Mum Michelle,
I wonder if you have seen Binis post on this online community, it seems that you have very similar experiences with the length of time that you have been supporting your daughter, please do feel free to comment on anyone/everyones post.
My experience does not compare, but I can completely imagine how it must feel to support your daughter as she battles through the ED. Massive changes happen between the years 11 and 21 and we all know that as a parent carer we're not on a level playing field, in fact we are more of a target, I often felt as if she held all of the cards as I too tiptoed around on eggshells. I suppose the only thing that I can offer is that when your daughter first became poorly she was 11 and you have then had to support her through those years which usually involve adolescent rebellion as the adolescent tries their wings and tests the boundaries, like you I felt that I couldn't really say anything that might upset her. If she said jump I would say how high, I have missed out on family events and even turned my sister and her family form my door because I couldn't risk what she would do if they came in when she was eating. My daughter was not keen on growing up and facing the adult responsibilities she did infact ask me if she could go straight to retirement at 14. There have been studies that are looking at the area of the brain that is associated with EDs and adolescence and their interaction(see the article by Bryan Lask signposted on the top right hand corner of the P and C home page. So to try to get to the point because you have been with your daughter over such massive changes I wonder if it would help to try looking at her objectively as an adult so see if that gives you any other way in(hope that makes sense).
Finally please don't see yourself as having any blame - I know when I look back that I was culpable in not challenging the behaviours and that was mainly through a lack of information and not wanting to accept that she was poorly, and certainly not a mental health illness. I read that you are exhausted with it that is fully understandable, are you asking for help from others in your family - your friends - her friends,( I know that might not be so easy). Would it be ok to get back involved with her care to find out if it is working to ask questions about why she is still in this space and if you don't like what you hear then asking questions, discover whether there are any other underlying issues.
Finally she will be depending on you, I used to think that as horrible as she is to me then she is much worst to herself and so I tried to understand through that perspective, trying to encourage dialogue away from mealtimes, to have trips out together, to set small achievable targets so that she felt that she had achieved and I had recognised her achievement.
Sorry if I have waffled, sorry if I have said the obvious but hopefully some of this may help you.