Monday, June 28, 2010

AOL Health Depression Article, Becky Henry and Eating Disorders

Gratitude, AOL Health, Hope, Depression and the part that got edited out. Here is what they have in common:

I am so grateful for the article that Catherine Donaldson Evans wrote about caring for a depressed family member in her column for AOL Health published June 27th, 2010. Not only did she give my soon to be published book: Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders, some buzz but she also gave hope to readers who have contacted me. That hope is why I do this work and it fills my heart with joy.

I am glad to see the points she was able to cover and would like to fill you in on what (in a perfect world- without column length limitations) I would like to have seen there too.

After this paragraph, "It was hard to be patient with it -- hard to be patient with the doctors, with choosing the medication," Henry said. "I felt so sad for her, but other times I was angry because she was being so mean to us, self-absorbed and rude."
I would have added: No one had given us the essential tool of separating the person from the illness which I have since learned families must do in order to remain calm in the face of the outbursts that come from these mental illnesses.

I have written posts on this previously so feel free to look back and see that one on Separating your loved one from the eating disorder.

The other main point I would like to have seen addressed is how we as parents were excluded from the treatment team. This is so very important as we were told to back off and let our daughter be in charge of her recovery. She was a teenager for God's sake and was seriously ill. In what other life threatening illness are the parents told to let recovery be her thing? There is now a term for what we experienced, it is called, "Parentectomy" and it's an outdated approach to eating disorders treatment. We were not aware of the Maudsley Family Based Therapy approach back then and didn't know it could be an option.

I urge other families to be assertive in being included in their child's treatment, their lives depend on it.

I am so grateful for the publicity and look forward to the book's arrival soon! Would love to hear your comments.


Laura Collins said...

I'm so looking forward to your book being out there. Parents need good information and your compassionate voice and experience are so needed!!

Connie said...


This was my favorite line in your AOL response blog entry: "In what other life threatening illness are the parents told to let recovery be her thing?"

Eating disorders are such family issues, as I well know from editing your book. My heart went out to the moms and dads and siblings as they told their stories.

How can family members NOT be involved, not be asked for thoughts, not be educated and/or be allowed to educate the medical community.

Keep up your excellent work of educating everyone on the eating disorder spectrum: those with the disorder, family members, health care professionals–and those of us on the peripheral of their stressful lives.