Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Coming into the light: Helping my daughter in her recovery from anorexia

 It's been two months since I last wrote, and a lot has changed in that time. The most important change has been a dramatic improvement in Sofie's mental health. I feel hesitant to jinx it, but for the past month Sofie has been much better. She has worked hard to be in recovery from anorexia, and finally acknowledges what has been happening to her for the past year and a half. With the help of the right psych meds, she now eats three meals per day plus snacks. Although we abandoned the FBT method somewhat (it just didn't work for us in its prescribed fashion so we had to modify the plan to work for my child), she is now able to choose to eat when she wakes up and throughout the day without me having to remind her. She is working towards her goal of having a nose piercing (that is the big reward for three months of continued eating) and despite my initial hesitance to let a child so young pierce her face, I will be delighted to see that stud on her beautiful nose to remind me daily of the battle we have fought together. 

This anorexia struggle has been hell on earth, and I have had to restart anxiety medication to cope with it, as the constant fear that your child's life is in danger will make even the most calm and stable person a miserable, anxious wreck. I am learning to be ok with the fact that I have gained a lot of weight through my child's struggle, with the depression that accompanies watching someone you love struggle so badly, and in the process of re-feeding her the calories she was lacking. I am coming to terms with my own views of weight and body shape in our society, and although I prefer to be someone who is active and strong, I am trying to view my body as the precious vessel that carries me through life. Regardless of what size and shape I am, my vessel is doing me a huge favor, and I must be thankful. 

Our society has a seemingly endless abundance of fucked up shit to say about women's bodies, and I am even more aware of just how disturbing those messages are now that I am trying desperately to protect my daughter from it. Coming from a family of people with weight-related body image issues, Sofie's struggle has put into perspective just how harmful so many of those messages can be. There is literally no reason for anyone to comment on anyone else's size, and yet we do it time and again, unconsciously, leading only to harm.  My goal as I continue to support my daughter through this challenging time in her life is to be mindful of the comments I make, and try as much as I can to educate others when I hear unconscious comments about themselves or others. I wish everyone could see our bodies for just what they are, vessels to help carry us through this glorious and confusing existence.