To other mums – Trust your instincts, you know your child best!
I tell my story as a Mum, and the struggle to get our daughter help. Our daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at 15 … And 5 years later, the journey has taken our daughter, my son, my husband and I on a terrifying journey that only others that have been through it would truly understand.
My wish is that everyone could understand how serious and debilitating this illness is. Everyone needs to understand that it is not an illness of choice, not a diet just gone too far and not just the sufferers choosing to be difficult. Anorexia Nervosa is a serious and deadly brain-based illness.
My wish is also that we have all medical staff, from GPs to ER staff, to Ambulance drivers and Police – all have training in understanding and responding to this illness – with the compassion and understanding it needs.
We slipped through the cracks way too many times, and were let down by too many “professionals”. Many times, it seemed that the only people keeping our daughter alive was our little family.
I also wish people would understand that the families and loved ones MUST be included in the treatment plan … they know the sufferer the best, they MUST be listened to. Someone who is not thinking cognitively correctly due to their disease, shouldn’t be making medical decisions on their own.
I wish too, for people to understand the immense burden this illness places on families, with many parents having to stop work to care for their loved one. I wish more friends would rally around to support families and I wish more friends of the sufferers would not give up on their sick friend. I wish they would treat sufferers as they would anyone suffering from other serious illnesses, such as cancer.
No family should be turned away from the ER with a suicidal daughter, with nowhere to turn.
No Mum or Dad should have to hear their daughter say, “Mum, please just let me die”
No brother should have to beg his sister to eat.
And to other mums … Trust your instincts, you know your child best! Act early, do not wait – if you give Anorexia an inch, it takes a mile! Keep pushing for the right care for your loved one and do not give up!
My hope is that through sharing our stories and through raising awareness and understanding things will change in this country. My hope is that every family needing assistance will receive it. My hope is that everyone has a chance to fully recover from this illness.