Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Multitudes on Mondays: The light at the end of the tunnel...

My youngest daughter, Bec (age 19), has been suffering from anorexia for close to 3 years now. She has had her severe lows; hospitalisation in Nov 2009 after losing an excessive amount of weight in a very short period of time, being sent home from interstate after becoming so ill that she was at risk of organ failure in her first year of University in 2010 (following her life dream), spiralling downhill a number of times in 2011 after extreme emotional trauma, and now being stuck, so entrenched in the ED (eating disorder) that she sees no way out - no light at the end of the tunnel. Her weight has been up and down like a rollercoaster, but in that time, she has not been close to a "healthy weight". The Ed has robbed her of her dream (she is a very talented dancer), her freedom, her happiness, her self-worth, her self-respect and threatens to destroy her life. She cannot see her true beauty (inside & out), her true giftings, her true value, her true self... because the ED has convinced her that she is ugly, worthless, useless, fat...

She was always so active, involved in numerous sports at State & National level, highly intelligent gaining a "General Excellence Scholarship" (Academic, Sport & Arts) at a private girls school for her senior years, gifted in leadership holding a position her last year of Primary school & two positions (Worshp Captain & Dance Captain) in her final Year 12. She is beautiful inside and out, loving, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and sensitive.


Just this weekend, a school friend jokingly posted on Facebook posted: "I am just not cut out for the anorexic lifestyle." , to which another young woman & teacher in her 20's replied "You are too gorgeous, intelligent and sensible for that nonsense."
It saddened me to read this, the view of those who lack understanding & compassion, but my daughter's reply made me so proud. In all her struggles and hurt from cruel comments, abuse and verbal attacks from strangers, "friends" & some family, she was able to reply with this:

"It's a shame people don't understand that anorexia isn't a lifestyle, it's a serious illness. I have suffered from it for close to three years now."

I know that many of my generation and older have no understanding of the disease and think it's simple to fix. There is a belief that the person can "just get over it" or "just eat some food" and they will be well. Contrary to that beilief, Eating disorders are serious and fatal diseases, like cancer, diabetes and many others - there is no "quick fix". Anorexia is a mental illness (just like depression); it is the most fatal of all mental illnesses, the hardest to treat, and the more starved the brain becomes, the more entrenched the disease becomes and the longer it lasts. What sufferers and families need is for society to listen to the advocates & educators in the ED area; to gain knowledge, understanding and in doing so to gain compassion.

My daughter posted on her blog last night: "In terms of myself, I am trapped in a state of limbo; mentally in a place that continues to destroy me both inside and out. I feel powerless when it comes to the notion of regaining life and freedom, happiness and contentment. It is a dark alley way and although there is a light at the end of the journey, it appears so dim. "


As a parent, it's heartbreaking to watch my daughter waste away before my eyes, to see her intense fear of food - the one thing that once provided, energy, health, strength and nourishment to her body & brain is now a subject of fear. I never envisaged this life. In all the years she and her brothers suffered chronic asthma as children, and were hospitalised countless times fighting to breathe. I never imagined that I would find myself again, fighting alongside her, willing her to choose life, encouraging her to beat an insidious disease that threatens her life.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I find myself again, on my knees, as I have been so many times, as I was when she was younger, pleading with God to heal her, touch her, restore her - to bring back my beautiful daughter, to return the sister her siblings love. It is only God who can give her the strength to fight, to conquer, to triumph over this. My responsibility is to love, support, encourage, guide and pray. And that I will do until she sees the light at the end of this tunnel grow brighter and brighter, and walks out into the light & freedom of life.


Pray with me, if you will. My daughter needs a miracle and the scriptures tell us:

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20
 
 
Still counting gifts I am grateful for:
 
77. New challenges in my photography
78. The increasing ability to see beauty in even the simplest things
79. Creativity I never knew I had
80. Books to broaden my knowledge
81. Weekends
82. My new computer
83. Doctors with the gift to diagnose & heal
84. My daughter's cooking
85. Summer salads
86. Tomato plants, once thought dead, brought back to life by rain

Linking up with:

13 comments:

Michael S-B said...

Praying for you both - as always <3

Giga said...

To straszna choroba. Przeżywa ją Twoja córka, ale Ty też cierpisz. Życzę powodzenia w leczeniu i wrócenia do normalności. Pozdrawiam serdecznie. *** This is a terrible disease. Your daughter is experiencing it, but you also suffer. Good luck in the treatment and restoration to normality. I cordially greet.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Praying with you Liz....

CynthiaJSwenson said...

Love & prayers for you, in Jesus, Cynthia

TexWisGirl said...

this was so full of honesty. i commend you for helping to broaden our understanding, and for asking for help. i will pray for your daughter.

my only experience with this disease was years ago. my best friend went through a bad bout of this in college. she risked her health in an attempt to gain control over her life when she had no self-esteem and felt she could never please her mother. it was an awful time. but she did recover with therapy and time. it sounds like your daughter is much more deep into the disease, and i pray she can find her way out...

Deanna said...

Oh Liz, how you must stress and worry over your daughter's illness. My daughter suffers from eating "issues" but not as severely as yours. I will keep you and her in my prayers and pray that she finds a way to combat this illness.

Dawn said...

Very well said, Liz. My heart aches with you, as I can go back to those horrible days with Kristen.

It sounds like she wants to get well - that is half the battle. I wish there were something I could do to help her and you! I can pray. But I wish we could sit down and talk.

Crystal said...

Thank you for coming to visit my blog.

I appreciate your writing with sensitivity and honesty about your daughter. I can only imagine how hard this is for you as her mother. Of course I will pray that God will prepare the way for her and hold you both very close as He walks alongside through this journey.


Your photographs are beautiful! We have friends visiting their daughter in Canberra right now and I will think of you when they return with all those stories and pictures next week. Take care!

Nicole said...

Yes, I am praying with you!

Gretchen said...

Sending prayers to you and your daughter. This is one of the illnesses I dread for my children. It's one that is hard to fix. Hugs to you too...

My Captivating Images said...

I will be praying for your daughter.

Becky said...

Beautiful Liz, thank you for sharing your hard earned wisdom and strength. You are a beautiful role model for the millions of other parents around the world who are slowly losing our children to these misunderstood and deadly illnesses.

I indeed will continue to pray for Bec and all the other mother's children who are consumed and taken from us by these illnesses.

My quest to find answers brought about the 1 Family/$1 Campaign with the Academy For Eating Disorders in Chicago, IL (USA). The goal is to have everyone who cares about someone with an eating disorder donate $1. The statistics are that there are 70 million people worldwide with eating disorders. If everyone of them has one person contribute $1 we'll have $70 million dollars for eating disorders research scholarship funds. Here is the link to the http://www.aedweb.org/Get_Involved.htm when you click on "AED and Hope Network 1 Family $1 Drive for Eating Disorders Research" enter the dollar amount in the "scholarship fund" box.

Thank you for spreading the word Liz so that we can have research that will shorten the length of these illnesses and give us answers so people can recover quickly.

Becky Henry
Hope Network, LLC

Batty Matty said...

I so empathise with the getting down on your knees and praying that you talk about above. I did this, on countless occasions, when my teenage son's anorexia was at its height. Thankfully he is now almost recovered. I hope and pray this will happen to your family, too.

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