Caring for someone with an eating disorder can surface many emotions, it can be exhausting and stressful, you may often feel overwhelmed, angry, irritated, utterly exasperated or alone, isolated and tearful. Resentment is a common feeling, as other members of the family may feel they are being ignored or not getting as much time or attention. Having someone in the family with an eating disorder affects not just the individual but everyone in the family and not always in the same way. So don’t ever feel guilty for your feelings.
Caring or supporting a loved one can take its toll on your own mental and physical health too. Therefore it is imperative for you to be supported yourself where possible.
Try and build a network of positive coping mechanisms for yourself and if possible spend time away from your loved one to do things that you enjoy, see friends, relax or simply just take time out. Being a carer you may feel this a selfish act, but in fact it is completely selfless because you have to look after yourself and keep yourself strong and well. Support groups can also be a great way to connect and share with other carers of those with eating disorders.
Tips and To Do's
"Accept and recognise that certain things are out of your control.
Then think more clearly and establish ways in which you can help
to move forward."
Knowing what to do if you are concerned that someone you know has an eating disorder can be difficult. I know that I was very secretive and defensive especially in the beginning and I was in denial that I even had a problem. I hated being questioned or interrogated about whether or not I had eaten, where I was after meals, why I was always in baggy hoodies and sweatpants. I was extremely sensitive about my weight and eating in front of others. I made a lot of excuses and I played many decoys to divert suspicion and attention. I highly suggest letting your loved one know that you're worried about them and please encourage them to seek help and go to their GP. You could offer to go along with them.
If I hadn't been pulled up by my mum and my sister who expressed their growing concerns, then I would not be here today.
Some people who are not touched by an ED just think, “why can’t you just snap out of it and eat?" But the truth is, you can’t just switch it on and off. No one would ever choose this life and all the hurt and pain that comes with it, for yourself and those around you.The disorder chooses you. I was on a rollercoaster and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stop. I’m ashamed to admit that doctors words and the evidence before me, with the added pleads from my family were not enough, the anorexia was just was too strong to fight on my own. - Me