As a mother, I cannot express how helpless I feel and it breaks my heart to see the happy, bubbly, chatty, stable, intelligent daughter I have nurtured and loved become this anxious, very thin, very unsure young lady. My daughter struggles daily with the demons of Bulimia. When you see someone you are so close to going through an eating disorder you hit a steep learning curve, you want to find out as much information as possible as quickly as you can. Searching the internet for similar stories and how a parent can help became my goal. Luckily my daughter found the courage and started to open up to the people close to her such as myself as her mother and her Aunt.
Her story started off by her being bullied at University with other students being negative about her weight and looks. She has never been overweight but did put on a little weight with the stress of Uni life. She then joined a gym and registered with a personal trainer. He gave her an eating plan and exercise programme. This then became an obsession about losing weight and exercising. Behind this was the extreme anxiety my daughter suffered with which was and is the key to her illness. If something goes wrong, she panics and has an anxiety attack. She feels she cannot cope and is not in control, that the issue is somehow her fault. In turn, she tries to control what she eats and the amount of exercise she does. She eats but then feels she has to compensate by exercising to excess to burn off the calories.
At first all I could do is watch as my daughter lost more and more weight and became obsessed with weighing food and not eating fats of any kind along with excessive exercising. When she started getting sick, it became harder and harder to hide from other loved ones and relatives. I was always worried that if I said the wrong thing to her, she would stop opening up to me and telling me how she feels. I felt utterly useless and out of my depth. I wanted to help, but did not know how. My daughter’s emotions were like a roller coaster.
Slowly by talking more to my daughter about how she feels during one of her anxiety attacks, I am sometimes able to help. She has also tried to find solutions to help her anxiety and is learning how to cope with it. She is seeing a counsellor which I am so grateful about as it allows her to open up to someone she does not know. She does feel bad opening up to me as being a mother; she does not want to see me being hurt by this which inevitably it does as it is so hard to see you beloved daughter struggle daily with this mental issue. I have told her although it does hurt, we will not get through this unless she tells me so that I can at least try to understand. It is going to be a hard, long journey, but with courage and support, I sincerely hope that my daughter can carry on this very steep road to recovery. It is something that will be with her for life, but with strength, I am hoping we can get her through this together and with the help of her Aunt who has been and continues to be a huge tower of strength and support in this journey.