I developed anorexia in 7th grade, which was pretty serious. After being admitted to the hospital, my parents became furious at me. To try to make them happy, I binged my way back to normal weight, then relapsed, and now am back to a serious binging stage again. I try to talk to my parents about this for support but they won’t talk to me about it and I have no friends who understand what I’m going through. I am seeing a therapist but my parents get angry whenever I have to see her because it costs money. I am literally running into a wall with my emotions and seem to keep turning to food to help me. Please, what are ways I can stop this horrible cycle?
I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. It sounds like you feel very alone in this, especially since your parents are having a difficult time and are not able to provide the support you need. But know that there are people who understand and do care.
So let’s start by talking about your parents. When faced with a child who has an eating disorder, parents are usually full of emotions themselves: fear, helplessness, guilt, frustration and confusion. Sometimes it all comes out as anger, which is possibly the case with your parents. They, too, need help to understand more about eating disorders and the impact on the whole family. There are several video clips on our site that would be helpful, under the “Relational Aspects” channel. Also, I recommend the book Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder. Perhaps there is a trusted family member, friend or pastor who you could ask to present these resource options to your parents, since they would probably be more open to talking to an adult.
It is important for you to keep seeing your therapist so you can get to the root causes of your disordered eating and learn to cope with your emotions in a healthier way. Even if your parents express anger, continue to go because it is vital to your recovery. Below are some resources that you might find to be a helpful supplement, but they can’t replace the one-on-one counseling you are getting.
It is a VERY positive sign that you recognize that you are stuck in a cycle and want to stop it—you have made a big step forward already. A freer, healthier life is possible. It will take some hard work and determination, but you can do it!
Ann Capper, RD, CDN