The only thing good about being the person with an eating disorder is how blind you are to the dangers of what you are doing to yourself. When I was anorexic, I didn’t realize how weak my body was. The few times I was told, I just didn’t care. Back then I thought I would rather be dead over fat any day. I can’t tell you how many times I said those exact words to myself.
When I was a binge eater, my mother would warn me that she was worried my weight gain would cause the development of Diabetes II. Every time I heard this I would hardly wince. I didn’t care about my health because I didn’t care about me.
My parents though, they did not have an eating disorder messing with their head. The burden they felt was far worse than mine ever was. When I was anorexic, they knew my heart was weak, my mind was foggy, my bones were thinning, and my body was tired. They went to bed every night not knowing if I would wake up the following morning.
When I was binge eating my parents saw my lab results and worried the next time I came home from college I might need prescriptions and extra attention.
Everyday I see myself in the mirror and worry that I will fall off this healthy lifestyle path that I have finally found my way on to, but at the end of the day, I tuck myself into bed knowing I made it through another day on that healthy path.
My parents don’t have that luxury as they are no longer with me everyday. Before I left for Australia for the first time 7 years ago, my mom said to me, “every time you leave home for a long period of time, you come back with an eating disorder. How can I trust that this time will be different?” Almost every Facetime for 2 years, right before we. would hang up she would ask, “Are you eating? Are you treating yourself well?”
I think part of good parenting automatically includes losing sleep over your child’s life choices, whereabouts, and habits; but I do wish I could take back the worry that kept my parents from sleeping peacefully through the night for years.
I realize I’m lucky to have parents who worry so much and saw all the signs. Some parents are not aware of their child’s ED until it may be too late. But even though I feel blessed and comforted by their love and concern, it still breaks my heart when I think back on all I’ve put them through.
If you know someone battling with an eating disorder, pray and hope for them to make it through rough times, but while doing so, keep their parents, siblings, and friends in mind! My personal belief is that it is harder to be the observer of a family member or friend with an eating disorder, than it is to be the one with it.