The other day I had a spontaneous catch-up chat with a friend and neighbor. We were celebrating how well our daughters have been doing lately. His is a promising actress in Los Angeles, mine is about to be a freshman in college. My wife, Esther, was sitting there too. She recalled how a few years ago the man’s daughter wasn’t doing too well. It became apparent to Esther when the girl, backstage of a local theater, asked Esther to help zip up her costume. The girl was painfully thin – frighteningly thin.
Esther has had her own experience as a young woman being thin. She battled an eating disorder years ago. And now she was seeing the stark sign of that in this teenager. Esther felt compelled to call the girl’s mom, our friend. As her husband reported in this chat years later, that call was a jolt for them. It forced them to face up to their daughter’s serious – even life-threatening – eating disorder. They sounded an alarm within the family; the girl received extensive therapy, and after that year of illness and treatment she has thrived. She went on to a top college, did great, and one day soon you will hear about her as a name actress, I am sure. As we looked back on this turnaround my friend, the dad, thanked Esther for sparking action. And together we were all thankful that people can overcome a serious eating disorder if trained professional help is sought.
Given the incidence of eating disorders among women, I am sure you know someone – maybe even yourself – who has faced this. It could be a version that starves your body. It could be chronic overeating for emotional reasons. In either case it is harmful and professionals can help you get to the root of the problem and move past it to live a full life in a body restored to good health. There is life beyond eating disorders, you just have to face up to the problem and treat it like any other illness by not ignoring it.
If you or someone you care about is living with an eating disorder, seek help from a counselor who specializes in this field. They can often turn that troubled life around.
Edited by Alison Stanton