***This week my posts are dedicated to educating the public about and empowering individuals and families who are in the midst of fighting these deadly illnesses, I have come to know as Eating Disorders.
As the plane touched down and we made our way through the airport, the reality of the situation hit me. We were 1100 miles away from home, about to leave our 17 year old daughter with strangers. The anxiety which had become a normal part of my being kicked into high gear. Tears stung my eyes as the luggage was loaded into the shuttle for the hour and a half drive to the treatment center. My thoughts were filled with conflicting emotions while hundreds of unanswered questions were gnawing at my heart.
Why didn’t I see the signs sooner? How did I miss the purging? Is it true girls gain their own body image on how their mothers see themselves? Then I teetered back into the denial. What if she really doesn’t have an eating disorder? Have we over reacted? Maybe we should stop this, turn around and take her back home. These questions and thoughts swirled around in my head as tears continued to moisten my checks. Mixed in with all the questions was the rapid cycling of my emotions.
Guilt. I thought somehow it was my fault our daughter had reached this point. Guilt, because the first two months of her senior year in high school would be spent at a treatment facility. The guilt was clouding the rational of the decision her father and I had made. A choice which would eventually start our daughter back on the road to recovery and life restored.
Anger. I was angry because my daughter and our family were dealing with this illness. I was enraged because we had to travel over a thousand miles in order to get Christian care for her illness. Then irritations creep in because some people back home didn’t understand and couldn’t see this was a life threatening illness our daughter was facing. It was much more about emotions than it was about food! We couldn’t “just make her eat!” ( Maybe instead of feeling anger, I was “having a pity party. “)
Fear. We were leaving our daughter with strangers and trusting them with her life. She had shown extreme anger to both my husband and I over the last 48 hours and we were terrified she would never understand why we made this decision.
Yet, in the midst of my anguish and raw emotions, I couldn’t forget what God had done. Parallel to the guilt, anger and fear was extreme thankfulness. He had provided the finances and scholarship to get our daughter into Remuda Ranch, the best eating disorder treatment facility in the nation. God had shown Himself to be faithful and true. When the enemy attempted to blindside us with denial and/or hopelessness; God was there. He spoke truth and wisdom to us in regards to this illness while at the same time protecting the very life and breathe of our daughter.
****It was in the fall of 200 when my husband and I left our daughter at Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, AZ. She spent 60 days at the residential treatment facility, while there Remuda Ranch staff provided her with the tools needed to fight Anorexia Nervosa. Today starts National Eating Disorder Awareness Week throughout the United States. The theme this year is “Everybody Knows Somebody.” In order to help with educating and empowering, I will be posting statistics, videos and other information about eating disorders throughout the week.
As a trained volunteer speaker for National Eating Disorder Association, I would consider it an honor to come share with your youth group, junior high or high school classes or civic organization. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule me for your event.