At one of the presentations for my Slovenian book, NOTICE ME: My 9-Years Struggle against Anorexia – for more information visit www.notice-me.net – I drew everyone’s attention when I said that my greatest fear is that my daughter would have anorexia. Most people think it would be easy and simple for me to give advice to someone with an eating disorder. But no, eating disorders are complex and different for every individual. So, even for me, after struggling against anorexia for nine years, this is a challenge. And because I am also aware of the difficulties one faces when having anorexia, I know that it is very difficult to treat.
And just today my boyfriend asked me what I would do if our daughter had anorexia. This question got me thinking, and I think the time has come for me to think long and hard, and write an article on how I would help my daughter if my greatest fear came true.
I know she would not see me at that time as an ally, but as someone who wants to destroy her goals and achievements. So I know she wouldn’t trust me, and I would not force her to. I would just let her know that I am always available for her, and I would wait for the moment when she would confide in me.
She would have enough confusion, sadness, desperation and similar emotions swirling in her mind, so I know my screaming at her would not help or in any way benefit her situation.
I would try to maintain my previous attitude. I would never let her think that she is a problem. She would still be herself, a person. Someone who wants to be treated as such. I would not exacerbate her feeling of being different.
There could be things my daughter would be ashamed of, and she would definitely not like it if I shared them with a friend. I would try to prove to her that I am trustworthy.
Even though she would distance herself from me, I know deep down she would still want a feeling of safety.
No problem develops overnight, nor can it be solved so quickly. I would reconcile with the fact that the upcoming months will be difficult and long, that I would be crying, worrying, staying awake throughout many nights, and probably have a nervous breakdown, but I would never give up.
I would discuss anything related to her disorder with her. Ultimately, it is about her, her body and her life, so she has a right to know everything related to it.
Even though I would like to be a helicopter parent and control every move she makes, I know that’s not possible. I would have to give her time for herself, as that’s the only way she would look for things that make her happy. Time and life carry on, and we can’t forget this. She should not be robbed of all joy because of anorexia.
Nevertheless, she would still have a disorder, and that would have to change. So I would encourage her to seek treatment, I would try to find a good psychiatrist for her, I would try to get her to talk about things that make her happy, tell her to go have fun with friends, help her develop a positive attitude towards food, and to teach her about a healthy diet.
Imagine that you do everything in your power, but your daughter is still withering away, day after day, and she can obviously barely stand up. You’re slowly realizing that she will eventually collapse, right in front of you. You would forget everything and take control of her life. And that’s what I would do. I would take her to a hospital, attach every possible tube and instrument to her body, surround her by numerous physicians, and I would not let her leave my sight – I simply would not let her leave. Because I would love her too damn much!
And that’s what led to my book, Notice Me. I hope to help others prevent things from escalating until this final, 10th advice needs to be used. I believe that, with my experience, I can provide some advice, based on how I finally beat anorexia. If you think my book could help you, you can start with the free chapter at https://www.notice-me.net/free-chapter/.