Anorexia: The Family Invader

It was the 12th of December 2014. My husband and I were sleeping in our room when our door opened and behind the door stood my daughter, crying. She had been trying to tell us what had been happening before fainting and collapsing on the floor. That night ended with the family in the emergency room. My daughter had hypoglycemia and hypertension.

For moments that seemed like forever to me, I thought I was going to lose my child. This is the most heartbreaking feeling any mother would have to face. My heart jumped to my throat in panic, despair and confusion.

My child’s illness is Anorexia Nervosa. The hypoglycemia and hypertension were just the symptoms of her Anorexia manifesting itself. To me, it was a ghost or a shadow, invisible and mysterious. It stole my daughter and I was helpless, my hands were tied and I couldn’t fight back.

That stranger invaded my whole family. We all became anxious, worried, unhappy and angry. My daughter, my sunshine – my only sunshine – used to be so healthy, happy, energetic and lovely. When that invader came in, it took over her and transformed her into a depressed, lonely and weak child. We all suffered with her, because we didn’t know what to do to make her feel better. Anorexia stole all the happiness and joy.

Thankfully, anorexia is curable disease. But that does not make it any less serious or dangerous. I’m not going to lie to you, anorexia can kill. And it does not discriminate whether you’re big or small, rich or poor, black or white; any individual can fall victim to anorexia’s negative thoughts.

I’m incredibly grateful to my daughter for opening up to me before it was too late. She did the right thing by waking me up that night, and she has let me walk with her through her journey of recovery. Honestly, she is the one who saved a mother’s heart from a permanent fracture by saving herself.

I’m so proud of her because she’s a very brave and responsible young lady who has a will as strong as steel and yet is as delicate as a butterfly. Until this moment she is battling that invader and although she is just at the beginning of her journey, I’m 100% sure that she can beat it.

So for every mother:

  1. Be aware of the symptoms of anorexia;
  2. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you have doubts that your child might be suffering;
  3. Read to know more about the illness;
  4. Know that one of the early stages is denial of a problem by the child or the parents, or both.

I would like to let you know that if your child is suffering, you are not alone. The journey is full of bumps and requires a lot of patience. But you have to believe in your child in order for them to have the faith and strength to beat it.

Finally, a special thanks to my daughter’s therapist and all her team members.