Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment.
Quote taken from NAMI to learn more about NAMI click HERE
I recently received a letter from a Mom.
Her pain and suffering is awful.
Anorexia is a deadly disease.
Please take the time to read and share.
Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the family involved.
“Honey, I think Allie is making herself throw up”.
I will never forget the very first time I heard those words. Little did I know this would be the end of life as I knew it for my whole family. I waited until she was done in the bathroom to ask her if she was ok and if she had been making herself sick on purpose.
“ No mommy, I wouldn’t do that”,
“Allie be honest you can really hurt yourself doing that”.
Tears started to roll down her little 12 year old face. “I am sorry mommy I didn’t know it would hurt me I just feel so FAT all the time”.
At 5’2 inches and around 95 pounds at the time, it would never have crossed my mind that my little girl would even consider herself to be carrying extra weight. After about 2 hours of talking about self-esteem and the effects throwing up can have on her body, I went to bed confused and a little worried, but I felt confident that she understood what I was telling her and that she wouldn’t ever do it again.
And then it happened. Only about two weeks later, I found a piece of paper with everything Allie had eaten for the past two days written down and stuffed in a crack of the couch.
MY HEART SANK.
It was at that moment that I lost my breath and felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness at the realization that my daughter might actually have an eating disorder. Allie told me that she kept track of her food because she was trying to figure out what she could have for dinner? Makes no sense right.? Well nothing makes sense to a parent when it comes to Anorexia, but everything makes sense to the Anorexic.
I immediately made an appointment with our family doctor despite the pleadings from Allie that she would start eating and had not thrown up since we first talked about it. But something in my gut told me that if I don’t do something now, something could go terribly wrong. At the appointment I learned that Allie was down to 88 pounds and that she had been feeling fat for years. She admitted that she had thoughts in her head telling her that she was not a good person and that if she was skinnier her life would be better. My daughter is a great person and a very talented one also. She has performed on stage in several musicals and had just made a rep soccer team. She had two new baby cousins to be excited about and a trip to Punta Cana with her father to look forward to. Inside she was miserable. She was constantly consumed with the size of her body and the amount of calories in everything she ate.
We finally got an appointment with the eating disorder clinic at our hospital and I felt like help was on the way and this would just be a phase Allie was going through. Every week from February until June, Allie would get weighed in and would get therapy.
It was absolute hell.
You would think that because she was being monitored so close she would improve. Her weight just kept dropping and her anger and aggression and tears just kept escalating. On June 2nd 2015, Allie was admitted to CHEO ( Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) at a weight of 80 pounds. Remember she is 5’2 and a growing 12 year old. Her skin was grey her cheek bones sunken in and her collar bones, well actually almost every bone was visible. She was so sick she was on bed rest on and off for her 56 day stay.
56 days of summer gone/wasted fighting not to eat too much because she wanted to look anorexic and be sick.
She didn’t want to be healthy because healthy to her meant being fat.
56 days of me being off work to be in hospital with my daughter.
56 days of my son not having his mother nearby.
56 days of seeing 5 other 12-16 year olds fighting the fight of their lives.
I cannot even count the days of feeling helpless because those days are still happening.
On July 28th, 2015 Allie was released from CHEO because they felt that we could continue her recovery at home. She was physically not at danger anymore, but mentally she is still struggling.
We are now down to visits between her doctor and the eating disorder clinic every two weeks. Her medication is being upped monthly (hopefully she will be able to concentrate in her grade 8 year). She needs to be on medication just to get through the day without having a complete breakdown over 20 calories or the fact that someone said she looks great. Any compliment she receives means, in her mind, that she is not sick anymore and that is devastating for her to hear. She struggles every day with her eating disorder and every day she is losing another day of her childhood.
My daughter is my hero. She inspires me and loves me unconditionally.
The eating disorder has taken my daughter away from me.
I do have days when I see a glimpse of who Allie used to be. I see the old Allie in every painful bite she takes that she is trying so hard to choose life. I see Allie in every choice she makes to eat a little bit more so she can go swimming or ride her bike. Recovering from an eating disorder is probably going to be the hardest thing that Allie will ever have to do, but with constant love and supervision and reassurance that she is amazing I pray that she will be able to fully heal and live the life she deserves.
Anorexia is real and it is devastating. It is a disease that is becoming an epidemic in our society and it has been documented in children as young as 5-6 years old. We need to start having conversations about the signs and triggers surrounding eating disorders so that your little girl or boy doesn’t have to suffer the way my little girl has.
A Mom who wants EDucation
This post left me speechless.
I had so many questions for ED Mom.
She has so many answers. Please stay tuned to the blog for more information about Allie. Mental illness in children is very real. Anorexia is very real. We can all help by raising awareness and talking about it.
Allie you can do this. Mom you can too. Thank you for sharing your story. I know how hard those words must have been to write.