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Anorexia Nervosa Guide

Alison Beaver

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Anorexics Battle with Self-Hate

By Mary S
 
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Parents, husbands, wives, partners, friends, physicians and medical personal caring for anorexics, you must oppose the voice of self-hate that the victims of anorexia are living with every minute of every day or the voice will take control.

It was the summer of 1991 when Meg started hearing the voice of self-hate. At the time, I wasn’t aware Meg was hearing another voice in her mind. But as I look back, the summer after her first year of college her behavior changed. That summer was more like a three month war, and our battlefield was the kitchen table. Joe and I were on one side of the table, and now I realize that it was Meg and the voice on the other side. Our battlefield, the kitchen table, was purchased when Meg was only two. It was a parson’s table with benches that Joe lovingly finished. But that summer every time we sat down to eat our evening meal at this table where our family had shared so many happy times, I could see that Meg was struggling and unhappy. It was worse when she first came home from college. At college, she could have avoided eating at all—and probably did. So now having to sit down to a family meal was very difficult for her.

Yet I’ve always loved cooking so, for most people, eating at our home would have been a joy. But not for Meg. Of course I cooked all of her favorite foods trying to entice her with the aromas of fried chicken, lasagna, beef bourguignon and even her very favorite, brownies sans walnuts, but they all went unappreciated. She had so many excuses for not eating: Oh, Mom I had a late lunch…I’m not feeling well…I’m really not crazy about meat anymore…I have to go out to meet friends. Take your pick.

It was a tradition in our family to watch the national evening news before dinner. My daughters called me a news junkie, but I only admit to being a political-news junkie. So most nights our meal began with tease Mom, the bleeding heart liberal, with Joe and Meg acting as devils’ advocates. Back then Meg had no idea that she’d find herself working for three high-powered Democratic senators after college. But I didn’t mind the teasing because it got Meg’s mind off the job at hand: eating.

Add a Comment4 Comments

Diane Porter

Mary, I too have followed your pieces about Meg since you started writing them. You write so evocatively that I can see the room as you all sit around the table, I can feel the tension as you huddle in her apartment, I can almost hear the whisper in Meg's ear from her darker voice. This is just so very sad.

She was loved so much, and yet she couldn't trust that love. It shows how hauntingly strong an eating disorder can be.

I am stunned at reading your thoughts about how the privacy laws prevented Meg's doctors from helping her further. I understand it, from a legal point of view, but I'm with you -- it seems like the "First, do no harm" part of the Hippocratic Oath would have inspired someone to find a way.

Thank you for revisiting your family's pain and loss so that you can share it with us readers. I know that from reading this, a parent of an anorexic girl will feel supported and understood and, maybe, like they have been handed some new tools. I surely hope so.

The best to you, Mary.

November 5, 2009 - 9:13am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Mary S., thank you so much for sharing your personal tragedy with us. It took a tremendous amount of courage for you to open up and talk about the realities you and your family faced with your daughter's illness. I hope in doing so, this has helped you to gain strength and courage to face each new day with the goal of continuing to share your experiences with the rest of us. I have daughters too...I am truly greatful that you have opened your heart with your story, personally helping me prepare for their future as well. Bless you, Joe and your family.

November 3, 2009 - 7:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Mary, I have been following your posts detailing your daughter's story for a while now and I find then highly informative and also deeply sad. I am very sorry for your loss. You demonstrate great insight, bravery and compassion in your telling of your daughter's and your story and I hope you continue submitting pieces to Empowher as I feel that I, and many others, derive strength and insight from your story. Thank you. From Adrienne.

October 25, 2009 - 7:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you Adrienne,
I am deeply gratified and humbled by your comment.
Mary S.

October 29, 2009 - 5:51pm
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