Fighting an illness called Anorexia

My daughter battled an illness called Anorexia and we battled it with her.   The first sign there was a problem occurred at supper time.  “Are you not hungry?” I inquired as my young daughter played with her food.  “No not really” she replied.  Then she began to lose weight and I began to get concerned, but having had no real understanding of eating disorders, I didn’t understand what we were facing.  We took her to her pediatrician and were unaware that she was hiding weights around her ankles under her sweat pants to conceal the extent of the weight loss.

The doctor was concerned; he encouraged her to eat and even hinted she could be hospitalized if she did not eat.  The weight loss continued and the tragedy unfolded. I held her in my arms at the height of the crisis, a beautiful teenager with a spine protruding through her flesh.  She was but bones.  She was emaciated.  She was starving! Except there was no famine in my house.  Our cupboards were fully stocked with food, but she would not eat because she suffered from an illness called ‘anorexia’.  The hospital in our city had a treatment program but so many people were suffering from this illness that we had to go on a waiting list.  I cried and I imagined Our Lord crying with me.

Finally my daughter entered a treatment program and one of the other young women in the program committed suicide!  It was clear we were dealing with an illness that destroys and takes lives.  This illness would not only cause heart failure but the mental anguish pushed people to kill themselves.  I was numb with pain and fear.

I called to God to help us and I read everything I could about this tragic illness.  What were the roots of this illness?  Is society preaching perfection to the point where so many young people are starving themselves to death.

With the help of Jesus and the help of qualified medical team of nutritionists and mental health specialists we came out of this dark tunnel.  My girl was a fighter and ultimately she realized she needed to fight this illness and she did.  The first order of business was to “mechanically eat”.  She did not want to eat, but she had to eat and as she began to be nourished physically, her brain was more able to cope and she could begin to learn how to beat this illness.  Our daughter lives and she grows more and more healthy every day, and I am so thankful to Jesus.

In the pain I have experienced watching my daughter fight this enemy I have discovered how fragile life is, how much we need God, how helpless I felt not knowing how to save my child.  I realized how interdependent we all are.  How much we need one another.  I am grateful for the help we received from the healthcare system.  I realize how much Our Lord must suffer to see His children starving themselves to death.

In my pain I lifted up my eyes up to see God’s pain.  I have found a deep desire to pray for others.  I have fallen in love with my suffering Saviour Jesus and I pray for all who are fighting this devastating illness.  May Our Holy Lord be with you to help you to heal!



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