Sunday, 26 August 2012

How you can help

If you discover that your child has ED, it can be really scary. You might be confused as to WHY your child is ill, why they are acting this way, and why they just can't eat! If your friend has ED, you may want to do anything to help, but you are confused as to what you can actually do. Having anorexia has made me somewhat more aware of the things that helped, and those which did not help me while I was sick. I hope this can help you as well!

WHAT NOT TO DO/SAY

-"You look really thin. You need to eat something" (victim gets defensive and feels offended that you are telling them to eat)
-"WHY CAN"T YOU JUST EAT?!" (Okay, this one drove me crazy. I can't 'just eat' because I have an illness that forbids me from eating. Why can't cancer patients just kill their cancer cells? Point proven).
-"Do you have cancer or something?" (In a sense, ED is kind of like cancer. Hearing this made me feel like the other person was mocking me - it was obvious that I was sick, so why were people asking?!)
-"Just ignore the eating disorder. You are going to die" (Well, you are right. This can kill me. But telling me to ignore it is undermining the complexity of the illness. It takes a lot more than just 'ignoring' ED to recover)
-Don't tell the victim to go eat something. Chances are, they WILL NOT do that. Instead, try asking them if they would like to have a meal together - maybe this will ease their anxiety. If they decline, don't keep pushing. The patient is not trying to be rude; they are just scared and ED is screaming at them
-Don't stop inviting them to parties or get-together just because they always say 'no'. The victim's ED wants to isolate him/her. If you stop inviting them to gatherings, ED will take more advantage of this and tell the victim that they are not welcome with their friends because they are useless, fat, ugly, etc.
-Don't call any of their symptoms 'stupid'. Saying that starvation is stupid does not help the victim - it only makes him/her feel less-confident and bad about themselves.

WHAT CAN BE HELPFUL

-When the time is right, approach the person and say that you are worried. You have noticed that she/he looks a bit different or ill, and you want to know how you can help them. The victim will usually take this as a supportive approach.
-Ask the person if you can help them find resources. Maybe you can drive them to a doctor's appointment or to go see a dietitian or therapist.
-Offer to take them out for a small snack or meal. If they refuse or decline, make another commitment to do something with them. Sometimes, the patient will agree to a gathering, and maybe this can encourage them to stop isolating
-Let them know that getting treatment for their eating disorder is not wrong or shameful. It is an illness like any other disease. Getting professional help - in any form - is important. Tell them that you are there for them - to support, to love, to care, etc.
-Check-in with the victim often. Give them a call to ask if they are alright. Make them feel loved and important. This can help their self-esteem and isolation.

I'm sure there are so many other tips and things to do or not do. But these are just a few that I could think of. I guess the most important thing to remember is that ED IS an illness and it is not something that the patient chooses. Therefore, teasing them or mocking their illness will only make them isolate more. Be patient with them and show them love. They need all the care and support they can get.

In my experience, I do not know what I would do without all the lovely people in my life who never left my side. To my readers, family, friends, and Church community - THANK YOU. You have all done the above with me - and even more. Your continuous support and love is what got me through my darkest days. I am forever grateful and indebted to you all. May the Lord bless all of you for your service!

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful piece! The most practical advice yet. Thank you for the heads up. This may seem obvious but many people don't know this and can really offend someone who is really in need of support. Good bless your effort in these blogs, which I truly believe is critical in your overcoming and your efforts fighting. My prayers and those of many are with you as is our love. God reward your struggle sister. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful piece! The most practical advice yet. Thank you for the heads up. This may seem obvious but many people don't know this and can really offend someone who is really in need of support. Good bless your effort in these blogs, which I truly believe is critical in your overcoming and your efforts fighting. My prayers and those of many are with you as is our love. God reward your struggle sister. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And may God bless you and help you always. Stay strong and be of good cheer; God is always with you!

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much for all the tips that can help parents like me ,families who love ,friends who care and professionals who treat ED victoms.
    You mentions a lot of tips that I have never thought off.
    Thank you

    A thankul mother

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a very strong and loving mother. I know your daughter is going through a hard time, but know that you are being a very good mom! You bave my prayers and support!

      Delete
  4. Marina that is wonderful tips to our family and friends.Unfortionaletly they do not do this >Sometimes they hurt me by doing all "the don't".

    I hope they listen to you

    Thank you.

    Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, sometimes family and friends do not know that what they are saying is not helpful - and most of the time, this is the truth. Perhaps showing them this may help them realize what they CAN do to help?

      Delete
  5. Oh my God
    Who on earth can think that anoresia is a disease like cancer.
    I do not have ED but I am a great support of you and I learn every day and may be learning from you ,I can help others too.
    Thank you

    Shady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shady! I'm not worthy of all these nice comments! God bless you!

      Delete
  6. I can not believe how ED is a very complicated disease that need a lot of experience on what to say to victims and how to help and not hurt and to encourage and not frustrate.
    I have to admit ,before reading your blog,I was very naieve and ignorant about this disease .
    Please continue your tips

    Jack
    Political science student

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jack. I am thankful that the blog has taught you something about ED. You are right, ED is very complicated. Hopefully people will learn more about it!

      Delete
  7. You have all my support, prayers and good wishes .
    I like you so much and I wish you are my sister or my dear friend.To me you are my angel

    God bless you

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary! I do, in fact, see all my readers as brothers and sisters. I do not know what I would do without you all! God bless you!

      Delete
  8. My love
    I am a nurse student but I have never learn or thought of this .You know nurses have to be trained speacifically at the hands of ED experts as you in order to be qualified to nurse ED victims,right Marina??

    Keep up your diary .Is very inforamtive and helpful to all of us

    I love you so much my girl

    Henry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Henry! You are right - nurses do need to know about ED, among other issues. I'm thankful that this has helped you learn! Please keep praying for me!

      Delete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.