Eating Disorders and Holiday Stress

Image from Bing Clip Art

The TV, radio, and social media are all talking about the anticipation in the air.  The holiday season is here.  For many of us, what is in the air feels more like anxiety.  The anticipation isn’t always something we welcome.  Do you ever feel like the holiday season and dealing with your child who is suffering with an eating disorder is just too much?  Juggling shopping, parties, work schedules, decorating, cookie baking, visiting relatives, travelling, etc. can be exhausting under the best and happiest of circumstances.  When you have a child with an eating disorder, whether in recovery or still struggling to get there, it can feel like it is just too much.  As moms the lion’s share of the above mentioned activities often falls on us. Not always, but often.  When our child has an eating disorder and is stressed and worried during the holiday season or perhaps triggered by all of the food, disruptions in routine, and the expectations of being happy we are too.  We feel our children’s pain.  We fret and worry right along with them.  We notice every little thing and want to fix anything that is broken, but we can’t fix this.  We also worry whether this stress and anxiety will be felt by brothers and sisters who do not have an eating disorder.  It is an impossible balancing act of trying to make sure everyone is happy. Mom’s stress level can go off the charts at this time of the year and I am sure that anyone struggling to help a loved one with an eating disorder can relate. Continue reading Eating Disorders and Holiday Stress

Looking For Reasons

During our long journey through our son’s eating disorder, I have found that people crave reasons.  They are mostly looking for reasons as to why this couldn’t happen to them or to their loved ones.  I think that this is pretty normal behavior and, I must admit, I have done the same thing many times in my life.  If someone died of a scary disease, was the victim of a crime, a natural disaster, an accident, I would look for reasons why.  What was unique about that person that would have increased the chances of it happening to them and not me or mine.  I

clip art from Bing images
clip art from Bing images

guess we all need reassurance to deal with the uncertainties of life.

I found this to be so much the case during our son’s illness.  We scared people.  When you don’t fit into the mold, the expected, the obvious explanation, people are frightened because they themselves and their loved ones are suddenly vulnerable.  Lung cancer has always scared me.  Whenever I heard that someone had this disease, I would always ask if they were a smoker.  Why?  Not because I knew that this was the leading cause of the disease, but because I wanted reassurance that there was, in fact, a reason.  There was a risk factor my family didn’t have, an explanation that didn’t fit my circumstances.  It brought a guilty relief.

Continue reading Looking For Reasons

Help for the Holidays

I really wish that I could have gotten this up much, much sooner, but technical difficulties with the site plagued me for over a week.  Holidays can be stressful even under the best of circumstances, but they can very often put fear and dread into the hearts of those with eating disorders and their loved ones.  What about the overwhelming amount of food?  How much exercise or restriction will be required in preparation for the holiday meal?  How will all of the uncomfortable, if well meaning, questions be handled?   What about all of the food/calorie/dessert guilt/health talk?  How about the stares from the corners of concerned and curious eyes?  What about the obvious discomfort of some relatives? Will this day ever end?  Those are not the questions my son was asking (actually, they probably were very similar); they were the questions and ruminations in my mind.  Adam Zyglis Cartoon

Since there is a lot of wonderful information written about how someone with an eating disorder can manage through the holiday season, I thought I would focus on how mom and dad, or any loved one might feel and what they can do to help themselves through the holidays.  Since I am the mom of a child with an eating disorder, that is my perspective, but I think/hope that anyone helping a loved one through this season could relate. Continue reading Help for the Holidays

Quelling the Anxiety

thwli28tv0panicI think that one of the hardest things for me as a mother of a child with an eating disorder is the anxiety that it will happen again.  The fear that my son will become sick to the degree he was when first hospitalized is always present in my mind.  It is like a guest that never leaves.  The other fear is that it will happen to one of my other children.  Those fears could be consuming at times.  My other children will tell you that I was unbearable to eat with.  I didn’t mean to be, but it really was true.  My eyes were constantly scanning the plates on the table and observing my children’s mealtime behavior every night at dinner.  Was there excessive pickiness?  Why was this child not hungry tonight?  Why didn’t this child eat the carbohydrates?  Why was dessert being refused? Why was water requested to drink instead of milk?  By the time the meal was over, we all had indigestion! Continue reading Quelling the Anxiety