Archived Forum: Parenting & Caregiving > How do i support the anorexic?

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and may need lots of help. My young neice is newly suffering from anorexia. She knows she has a problem and is not talking to her direct family about it. Maybe she still doesn't know herself what the root problem is. Anyway, over christmas, the rest of our large family side stepped around her and never remarked on her severe weight loss or the fact that she sat and watched us eating our christmas dinner without eating so much as a pea herself, even tho she had almost single handedly cooked and prepared the whole meal and desserts herself. I couldn't leave without saying something to her and letting her know that i was there if she just needed someone to talk to.
Therein is my problem, she was at my place today with the family for an end of year bbq and she came to ask if she could come out to me sometime just to talk. I'm so pleased she has but i don't know what she is expecting me to do.
How do i help her ? What does she want me to do ? She won't (or can't) tell her parents why she started this. Do i play counsellor and question her or does she just need someone to talk to. Either way i'm here for her. I just need someone to tell me what they needed from their family so i can help her too.
Please help me to help her.

December 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterjinglez

It is great that your niece has you to support her and that she has asked to talk to you. Before you say anything, I would wait to hear what she has to say. For example the reasons for it - if she knows?
For me (I have been recovering for 12-15 months now), I wanted and needed someone to talk to as I felt so trapped and alone. Someone to listen and not judge or get cross with me, as when I did try and initally talk to my parents about it, they got frustrated and told me off for "thinking such stupid things". But through this whole process of recovery what really helped was having someone I could constantly tell those "stupid" thoughts too. Who would reason with them. Constant reassurance was also a great help! And by that I mean reassurance that I was not going to ballon, that I needed to take certain steps to repair damage to my body, and that it would take time. That I should view the recovery over a period of time and not analyse gains over short periods of time. Even though I knew all the stages of recovery, I knew why I was feeling a certain way, I knew the science, I still needed someone else to tell me. It really helps hearing it from someone outside of your own head! Weirdly, what didn't help, was people telling me I looked great. I know they meant it as encouragement and a compliment, but I took it to mean either that I was fat or that I should stop recovering. When I told my family this, they would follow it with " but you still have a long way to go". Depending on how much your niece is aware of the depths of anorexia, it may help her if you educate yourself by using this site so that you can help her take the right steps to recover mentally and physically. It is a scary process to go through as it feels like throwing caution to the wind, but having a support to be completely open with, to constantly encourage and reassure that you are doing the right thing, for me anyway, is key. As a start you may suggest she goes to a dr to get some blood tests as there may be much internal damage that cannot be seen or felt. I hope this helps and best of luck. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

December 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterhouseelf

Hello Jinglez: Your niece is very lucky to have you and your decision to say something at Christmas will likely be a life-saving turning point for her.

If you can, pick up this book: Brave Girl Eating. It's a first-person experience of the author's (Harriet Brown) experience with her anorexic daughter and helping her to recover. It's a good way to get up to speed when it comes to supporting recovery.

As houseelf has mentioned from her own experience, your niece is feeling trapped and panicked. In fact houseelf's description of what it feels like first hand is universal for those dealing with anorexia.

While their behaviors seem incomprehensible (self-starving is not sensible), they are not psychotic or mentally ill in fact. They respond well to learning about the physiological damage and impact of starvation. While your niece is still likely very much at a "both/and" stage (meaning that she somehow hopes she can stay very thin and yet not risk dying), she is reaching out because her will to live is intact and fighting back.

This post will likely be of the most help to you and your niece as a way of learning about what has happened to her, the whys and what recovery looks like PHASES OF RECOVERY FROM RESTRICTED EATING.

The restrictive eating disorder spectrum is genetic in origin. The genotype is activated by various stressors, the most common being that first diet. The environmental and social inputs determine from there where someone ends up on the spectrum and how the condition progresses.

It is a very serious condition with a high mortality rate, however your niece's prognosis is very good if she receives significant intervention now. She will very likely recover fully and completely with appropriate support now.

What I'm going to do now is suggest a path that is based on how counsellors would address an initial meeting where a patient is half-seeking some help but still very anxious and unsure of whether she needs help or not.

Your focus as you plan to invite her to begin the process towards recovery is to keep the lines of communication open and attempt to have your niece agree to some next steps if possible.

Follow-up by inviting her to your home and create a private and comfortable space to sit down with a cup of tea. Generate very open-ended questions and listen to for opportunities to ask more questions.

Express your concern for her health and that you have noticed she is not eating and very thin and then ask her how you might be able to help her.

Once you sense she has shared all her anxieties and concerns, then it is important to explain what you can and cannot do and how you intend to help.

If she is adamant she does not want her parents to know, then you have to explain that it is not possible to get her the help she needs to get well without involving at least one of the parents. However, you can offer to be the one to explain the situation to her parents (if you are willing), or to be present with her while she speaks to them.

Tell her you will support her but not her eating disorder. Explain to her that you do not see her and the eating disorder as the same person and that you don't believe they want the same things at all. Tell her you are there to protect and save her, not the eating disorder.

If she is a young tween/teen (anywhere between the ages of 11-14 or so) then there may be a lot of manipulation and bargaining that is really about the "both/and" stage of the condition. If you think clearly in terms that the eating disorder has essentially hi-jacked parts of her brain then it is easy to see that she is using normal teenage drives for secrecy and independence but for the wrong reasons (to support the eating disorder).

Taking the time to jot down ahead of time your goals and guidelines will help you stay on track and avoid inadvertently agreeing to things because she absolutely begs you to "not tell", or "give me more time", or she promises to eat on her own etc. etc.

Just so you are clear, she cannot eat more on her own and you can remind her of this by telling her that it would have already happened if it could, and it has not. Let her know that it is not a matter of willpower and that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. It is not a condition that you can think your way out of.

Whenever you draw your boundaries in these ways, always remind her "I know that you trust me and I am going to do my upmost to not let you down. That is why I am not going to let the eating disorder win. You don't want me to give in to these demands, the eating disorder does."

Reinforcing statements to show your unconditional love for her and your distaste for the eating disorder usually help to disentangle young anorexics from all the wheedling, bargaining and threats.

By being very clinical and precise about the dangers and risks of starvation you actually help her begin the process of distinguishing between her desire to live and the eating disorder wanting the opposite. So don't feel you have to protect her from the hard facts as these will help you to reinforce her need to get real help.

Using a quiet and calm voice at all times through the conversation no matter how agitated, whiny or shrill she may or may not become is always helpful. The restrictive eating disorders sit between anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders, so she may swing between being very agitated and very focused and repetitive on a particular point.

The next steps you are looking to get agreement on are ideally: involve a parent or parents either with your guidance or you as the proxy and to go see either her regular paediatrician or primary care physician (GP) immediately.

Family systems are sometimes complicated. If there is any reason in your mind, or that comes up as a result of your chat with your niece, that causes you to question the validity of involving her parents, then obviously that will complicate the matter greatly.

However hopefully no such extreme concern is present, and while her parents may struggle through some phases of acceptance and understanding, they are nonetheless going to be wholly committed to helping their daughter get well. They will find the book I reference above very useful in their efforts and there are many support services available to parents, some of which are referenced here.

Feel free to contact me directly if I can offer up any more information and resources to you.

Best wishes, Gwyneth.

December 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterGwyneth

Thank you both so much for your replies. I was hoping i wasn't going to be told to just butt out of her problem. We all just love her so much and are willing to do what we can to help her. And i was quite upset when the family was told to ignore it and not say anything. I couldn't do that. I've been through some things in life myself and just needed someone to listen. Not to fix it. That was my problem but just someone to listen.
I rushed straight out and bought a copy of Brave Girl Eating. No mean feat on New Years Day. But i have it now and my husband and i are taking turns reading it. Looks like just the thing we need. I don't for one minute think we are are going to cure her immediately but we will do whatever is necessary for her.
I worry for her parents too, who are just marvellous people, but they have just come through a long hard 4 year battle with the younger daughter struggling with a self-germy/cleanliness OCD. Interesting that you should say Anorexia is a struggle between anxiety and OCD, knowing that the youger sibling has the OCD.
I just don't know how much more the parents have to give to a second daughter while their son is fighting in Afghanistan as well. If we can help the lot of them through this then so much the better.
I'm away off to read this book now. I started on the way from the store but just wanted to acknowledge your replies and concern. I have no doubt i will have many more questions as we start this journey. Thank you in advance for being there for us.

December 31, 2011 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Glad you were able to get right out there and get the book, I expect it will be relevant and very helpful.

I am going to guess that the family requested everyone say nothing of the obvious weight loss and starvation because your niece herself became so agitated and panicked in the days leading up to Christmas that the parents were forced, as a way to obviously juggle tremendous challenges right now, to agree that she could sit at the table and not anything and no one would comment or take her to task in any way.

She likely promised to eat more the next day and begged so forcefully and with such terror that her parents are still hoping for miracles and that the next day she really would eat.

However even though the eating disorder has a good strong hold on her, your instinct to reach out was brilliant because your real niece underneath the terror of the eating disorder is desperate to have someone reach out.

My absolute best wishes to you, your niece and entire family. Gwyneth.

December 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterGwyneth

Hi. I'm having trouble posting anything here again. I have been trying since New Years Day. Is there a Maximum length i can write ? I will try to shorten what i've been trying to send and retry it.

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Ok. It seems to working again. I'll write this in several smaller blocks then.

Well, my niece finally came for a visit on Tuesday, just as i had finished reading 'Brave Girl Eating'. What a great book. And i could see her and the family in every page.

She has been to the Doctor. She obviously didn't get much out of it herself tho. He took one look at her and told her 'clearly you have AN'. Ordered a blood test, gave her a list of therapists to choose from, all who are over 2 hours from town, and told her she just had to eat. !!! I suspect there was more in it than that tho.

She dosen't accept that it is AN and justifies it because she is still eating (if you can call it that). Obviously she is still in denial. She is eating salad, canned vegetable soup, tofu and canned fruit in lite juice. She tries to increase the amounts every day but there really is no caloric value in what she is eating and then she walks for 2 hours every day as well !!!!!

I have tried to explain why she needs to be more sedentary at the moment but she has always been fanatical about her walking. This is going to be a very hard habit to break for her.

Her iron levels were ok, her BMI wasn't good but she couldn't remember what it was, her weight is down to 41 kilos (90.3 US lbs), she is 5'1", so to lose over 2 stone in just over 5 weeks she has plummeted suddenly. She doesn't actually remember restricting her food and really didn't notice anything until her friends started commenting just before xmas.

She still has control over exactly how much she puts on her plate. The problem here is - in her last year of High School, she wrote a paper on the caloric values of many well known diets like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers etc., so she knows exactly how to measure to the nth degree what is bare minimum. She starts a new course on Feb 16th and when we tried using that as a goal point to get herself well enough for that, she bit my head off about 'not being a child' and that she knew all about 'Brain Fuel' !!!

Our afternoon finished shortly after that as i felt we had hit a brick wall. She is a fabulous cook and is still baking and cooking wonderful meals for the family but just won't touch any of it herself. Whats with that ????? She is also taking her youger sister out shopping for food and telling her she has to eat certain things. The younger sister has no problem eating and altough she is only slight, she is 4 years younger but quite within the range for her age. This is the sister that has just recovered from a 4 year struggle with a germy/self-scrubbing OCD.

I will continue in the following post about her parents coming to me the following day.

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

As i suspected, there was a lot more to the Doctors visit, but my niece just doesn't like him because he is so confusing and dithers a lot. He did tell the mother off for self-diagnosing AN from the internet !!! It really isn't hard to guess tho. There were several other blood tests ordered that were far too low and need addressing too.

Her parents are really caring, intelligent people but we fear for them just as much as i explained above, they have had a really tough battle with the younger daughter and don't have a lot of resources left just now.

They are aware of what she is eating but haven't been able to take over control of that. They feel that because she is 20 it is harder to lay down the law with her than it was for the younger girl. They do see why they have to tho. They have been trying to restrict her walking (near impossibility), and often go with her to at least distract her while they shorten the distance. We've talked about getting her to be more sedentary, maybe get her to eat while watching tv and getting her out movies from the video store to keep her sitting a little longer everyday. She isn't a big reader so she wouldn't sit and read. She's been a dancer and actress so she prefers more physical forms of relaxation.

I have given them 'Brave Girl Eating' to read and although Kitty was only 14, i suspect they will still get a lot out of it to help them. I have also found them a care Specialist, while based over 2 hours from town, she will visit us here. Because my niece does not come under the Child/Adolescent system, she is not covered within our Public Health System for ED Specialists. But this specialist offers 6 free sessions to set up care plans for refeeding and any other medical services required. Anything after that she can refer back thru into the Public Health system.

I also found them a support group here in town just for the family and have offered to go with them if they want.

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

So we have made big inroads into getting things set up since i first wrote only a week ago. It already seems such a long time ago we started this and it will obviously take some time to 'fix' it.

I will continue to read what i can and support the parents. My niece has asked me to look into any websites that she might be able to use for support but i am reluctant to do that just yet. I have trust issues with the net and until i know she's actually trying to do something more positive towards recovery i think we'll leave the net alone for now.

She has txt me everyday to tell me she's ok. But i don't really know what her 'ok' is.

We will wait now for the care Specialist to start setting things up. She is still away on holiday till monday so its not long to wait anymore.

Thanx for letting me ramble.

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Are there really doctors out there that still admonish patients for taking the initiative to understand things by researching information on the web? Seriously old-fashioned I must say. There is not a heckuva lot of other conditions that involve self-adminstered starvation (and accompanying denial) at age 20.

And it's certainly not as if a physician's education on eating disorders is anything to write home about either. Sigh.

In any case, I understand that your niece's parents are already pretty extended taking care of their other daughter's needs and that your niece is 20 means that she will have to direct her own recovery to a certain extent.

If your niece is unhappy with her current GP it may really work better once she sees the specialist. She needs a treatment team that works for her.

The extreme hunger that a starving anorexic feels is usually subverted into thinking constantly about food. This is often expressed by becoming the family cook and baker. If it is at all possible for your niece's parents to stop that it would help tremendously. They need to take their kitchen back and insist that they will cook and she must eat. Her job is no longer to see that other people are fed.

This becoming the family cook and overseer of nourishment is so common that a treatment facility in Oregon (U.S.) requires of families that they agree to remove their anorexic from any kitchen and cooking duties in order for them to continue in the outpatient program once their daughter or son is released from inpatient care (that for both teenagers and young adults who live at home in fact).

Harriet Brown (author of Brave Girl Eating) also saw her daughter through a relapse at age 18-19 so she may have insight into the process when the anorexic is no longer a child.

Harriet has a blog Feed Me! and perhaps she could be contacted for further resources in information on those issues of being a parent when the anorexic is older.

Another book that may be helpful for you is Motivational Interviewing It's not a cheap book but it is a thorough review on how to create a space for someone to increase their own desire and motivation for change.

As for the net, your niece is probably pretty safe to be directed to my site and the organizations and support links I have under Support Links. In particular both Beating Eating Disorders out of the U.K and Something Fishy out of the U.S. are good sites.

As I deal with a community filled with those who are sure their circumstances are unique and that they somehow don't have an eating disorder (or that they are not as bad, have not starved as long, are not really starving, are a 'healthy weight now...) your niece is more likely to find information on the blog and the forums that will likely goad her to ask questions of me that include the inevitable "yes, but..." However, getting her to ask about her circumstances will be the beginning of her having to come to terms with the need to recover.

Right now she is still safely ensconced in the "both/and" phase. She feels the undertow of becoming very ill but she is sure that everyone else is blowing it out of proportion too.

There is of course no particular need for her to be directed to on-line support when she is about to see a specialist. Yet, she will be on-line nonetheless and is very likely involved in the pro-ana sites to some degree in any case.

You may want to read the blog post on pro-ana sites to get up to speed on that too: PRO-ANA AND PRO-MIA SITES: WHAT’S THE DEAL?.

If she is actually active with a pro-ana site that will in fact involve a bit less damage to her than if she is just browsing those sites, but either way she will undermine her ability to recover is she is somehow connected with those kinds of sites.

As for her active-relaxation approach to life, this is also often common in anorexics and pre-dates their first bout of starvation. Nonetheless, she has to develop non-athletic approaches and broaden her sense of self. She can actually treat her need to recover as an exploration into areas of herself that are as yet undiscovered.

Slow yoga, meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises will help. You may find even something as simple as inviting her to a mindfulness program at a local recreation center, or a gentle yoga class is a way to help her take time to connect with her body in more healthful ways at the moment.

These are just streams of consciousness ideas from me and I hope they help.

We have one other regular poster who has trouble adding posts to existing threads. I have little back from our provider (SquareSpace) on the origins of this, however it may be related to browser application/version.

I expect you would have to resolve it directly with our service provider if it persists. Let me know if it continues to give you grief and I can put you in touch with them. Best wishes, Gwyneth.

January 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterGwyneth

Your niece sounds just like me. My Dad was gently trying to tell me I had anorexia by showing me articles from the paper. But I still saw myself as different as I still ate and that I was just underweight and trying to get help. Like your niece I walked no less than two hours everyday and ate, well, not much! This was still happening when I acknowledged I needed to gain. I started to recover, but wasn't doing it properly and actually got worse. I told my family I was eating more etc and ok, but I wasn't and became more aware of my weight as I was having to monitor it for increases. This scared me and I wanted to try and control it. hence the getting worse part. It still took me 6 months before I actually did it properly. Something in me just snapped. I had been reading the whole 2500-3000 cals guideline for about a month prior, as before that I just thought you should increase by 500 from what you ate. Like I said, it was something in me that snapped, so I can't advise on how to get your niece to eat more. She will probably still be filled with fears, maybe more so, surrounding weight gain. Maybe you could direct her to this site? Or do you worry she will see your post about her? Having a girl my age who had just recovered message me nearly everyday to reassure and encourage me, was my saviour and made me stick with the intial periods of eating 2500+. Re the cooking - I did that too. I planned and cooked every single meal for my family but wouldn't eat with them. It was only when they told me to look after myself and wouldn't let me cook for them, did I begin to get better. I have only just realised this strategy now as Gwyneth pointed it out! But it worked. Maybe that could be the first step? Walking with her is good. My family did that with me. What made me reduce it more was the fear of gaining weight whilst exercising. As people exercise to lose weight and I didn't want to muck up my body by doing it the other way around.

January 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterhouseelf

Hi guys. Thank you both for your great replies.

The more i get from here, the more i want to direct the family to this site, but it feels a little special that i have it all to myself just now. How selfish is that ??!! I haven't written anything here that is not the truth and that i couldn't say to them directly, but i just worry a little that i've put their lives on show for everyone to see and and i don't want them to get upset or feel like i'm interferring. My husband, who is the brother of the Mother, sees everything i write too and agrees that i should direct them here too. It is, afterall, for their benfit that i found this site.

I have heard from my niece every second day since she was here but i don't like asking her everyday how she is and what she's up to. I haven't had anorexia but i have had a history when i was a child of an eating disorder due mostly to a congenital health condition. I was put on a food regimen that i couldn't cope with either. Made to eat till i felt like i was going to burst, but it wasn't a choice thing, i didn't have self obsessive thorts about my weight but i can, to a point, relate to her on a lot of things. The last thing i wanted was for people to always be on my back about how skinny i was and what i was eating. I really didn't enjoy food. Whereas now, i am wanting to go back to school to do a chefs course. Its all such a 'Catch22' problem really isn't it ??

I haven't yet worked out how to copy and print these pages off but i'll investigate that when i've finished here shortly. Maybe by having something for her to read like this will be enough to prompt the right questions so that we know she is on the right track first before i direct them here.

Tomorro the care Specialist is back from holiday and the next day the support group worker is also back. So i'm hoping to have more advances in place during the week.

I will keep you up to date as things develop.
Thanx again

January 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Hi. Yay. The ED specialist rang me yesterday. What a lovely woman. Very pleased with what we have been doing so far and encouraged me to keep it up for my niece's sake. She ran me through what she will be doing with her and where she will dierect us when her sessioins are used up as we only get 6 covered to start with.

She then rang my niece. Thats when it all turned to custard !!! As i hadn't warned my niece at all that we were even approaching this specialist, it came as quite a shock to the poor girl when she got the phone call out of the blue. She was naturally very guarded and not very receptive at all.

Both her and her Mum came to see me last night. My niece very very upset with me but that doesn't matter. She had a heap of questions about what this specialist is going to do. More concerned that she was going to be weighed than anything else. And that she may have the power to hospitalise her. Which she has but i played that down a lot. (I know for a fact that our Mental Health Act WILL section her automatically if her weight is under 40 kgs-88lbs).

An appointment has been made for this Friday but my niece insists she won't go. She feels like this has all been pushed on her when she wasn't ready for it and that we have violated her rights.

In a way we have. But i felt we had to do something urgent for her or she is only going to get sicker. Her parents agree with me and are not angry with me, which i really thort they would have been. They have been trying to push her too. I realise it won't work if she is not willing to accept the help but i have always worked on the adage for this sort of support that "If you sit in the barbers chair long enough, eventually you WILL get a haircut". If she goes to the specialist out of guilt for letting us down by not going, then something may rub off on her that will click and get her wanting to go instead. It may all back fire of course. She is confusing the specialist with a therapist at the moment. She admits she wants to get well and can't do it on her own and is scared of going to this woman but doesn't know what she's scared of. She is not ready to talk to therapists just yet and we have told her we don't want her to either - Just For Now.

Maybe if we'd handled it a little differently and the specialist had talked to the mother first then she may not have reacted this way. But its done now. We just have to pray that she doesn't ring today to cancel the appointment which she was told she had to do by today if she wasn't going to keep it as the specialist has to travel from out of town to be here.

She did txt me late last night to thank me for my help tho. The specialist had emailed me a heap of information that i printed off while they were here to take home. Obviously they had been thru it and i can only assume she had calmed down a bit when she txt me. She thanked me for caring told me she still loved me. So maybe she's on her way to the Barbers chair !!!


January 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Hi all,

Yay, my niece has agreed to go to her appointment on Friday.The info that the Specialist emailed me that they took home with them detailed everything that will happen and pointed out that she doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do. That is her right.

So she's a lot happier to go. although she is still a little scared of the outcome. Understandably.
Both her parents are going too and the specialist will see them as a group and individually. It was her wish that they go with her.

She has had a visit from a friend who is also in recovery, who as also been thru the same system, so that has allayed a lot of fears as well.

We now just sit and wait until friday to see how she will react to the plans.

Fingers crossed

January 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Wow, Jinglez, you've done it really, really wonderfully! What a great girl you are! This thread was a pleasure to read! And I find this information about a specialist traveling for therapy sessions fascinating! If you don't mind, from which country are you? I am from Romania, by the way. Kisses :*

January 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterajutorab

Hi, We're in New Zealand. We have a really good public health system here and an excellent Mental Health System. Sometimes you just have to look outside the box for 'specialized' treatment tho. We are still very lucky with what we've got.

Thank you for your encouragement. It was a scarey step for all of us to take. Especially with my niece being of adult age. She is still her parents 'child' tho, so this is how we got round the fact that we were trying to point her in the right directions.

Today is D day for her appointment. We're all sitting on tenterhooks just now to see what is going to happen and how she will react to the plan and advice she will get today. But we've all prayed really hard that she'll be ok and take it all in.

I hope to have an excellent report to post here this afternoon.


January 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Fingers crossed...

January 13, 2012 | Registered Commenterajutorab

Hi. Yay. All good. Both Mum and Daughter rang me last night. Very happy with the day. It turned out to be a whole day thing. An hour and a half with all 3 of them with the Specialist and then an ECG, blood tests etc all afternoon.

The Specialist was quite concerned and said hospital was the place she should be for the weekend but agreed to let her be at home if she went under contract.

My niece was happy to do that and has agreed to the eating plan and weekly weighs. She was convinced into stopping the walking. Yay yay yay.

Baby steps tho. But this is the best news. She got home last night hungry. !!!

She is still a little guarded but happier now than i've seen her in long while. Mum and Dad are a lot more comfortable too. I could hear it in their voices.

Thanx all of you for your support. I will keep you up on things. But for now we just have to wait it out to see how definite she is about recovery. Not that i'm trying to be negative but she is understandably still apprehensive about the whole thing. But on the whole it is a much brighter picture and a step towards recovery for her.


January 13, 2012 | Registered Commenterjinglez

Dear jinglez, I hope you are very, very proud of you (I am, even if I don't know you for real!). No matter the outcome, you made your part for the good. To possibly change a destiny for the good is a huge thing. I am a mother of a former anorexic girl and I activate in a support group here in Romania (Gwyneth is an inspiration and a source of excellent information) and I always tell mothers to be patient and not to lose hope in the face of troubles. In recovery the beginning can be rough, may be some rough intermediate phases when everybody may think that all is lost - but they are just that: transitions. Every stage of the recovery can have a rough point, but with patience, perseverance and a sense of humor it shall pass. Humor saved me, us :) I have been a clown from time to time and it worked (I have cried also in and it worked; sincerity worked, generally, honesty, being open and loving worked wonders). Comedies (movies) are a huge thing in our family, made us lough and the time passed easily. We expressed our love for each other as often as we could (very often) in words and gestures: hugging, kissing, being patient, letting go, respecting each others decisions... I am absolutely sure the therapist will help tremendously. Best of luck, many kisses from here, we all wish you well!

January 14, 2012 | Registered Commenterajutorab

Oh, I forgot: having a dog and a cat helped a lot; my daughter had them all her life and when she was in a tough moment and refused to eat I used to ask her: "What would you do if your dog would refuse to eat? Wouldn't you be worried, going to the doctor, trying everything to make him strong and eating again?" It was always a very good argument. But this argument is true for younger sisters, friends, babies in general, little animals, etc.

January 14, 2012 | Registered Commenterajutorab

Thank you so , so much jinglez for keeping us updated.

Cautious, realistic optimism is the way to go!

I am sorry I was not around in that transition time when she received the call from the specialist and things seemed as though they might blow up, but I only would have pointed out that the reaction is common and does not necessarily predetermine the path that will eventually be agreed upon.

She will get through. And the reason she will get through is that she has you and her parents.

I know that I have already said that she is lucky to have you, but I want to express my personal appreciation to you that you (and your husband) embroiled yourselves in it all. We live in complex social structures today where we always default towards "not getting involved". If we got involved then there is a potential for a different outcome where none exists if we don't.

And while I completely understand that you don't want the family to be all over this site at this stage, I hope some day I will have the opportunity to relay directly to your niece my profound respect and appreciation for her aunt (and uncle of course!).

Ups and downs to come for sure, but taking the time to celebrate the wins as they come is always a very good thing. Best wishes, Gwyneth.

January 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterGwyneth