Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How do I find balance when my child has an eating disorder?

How do I have balance during my child's eating disorder?  And, why do I need to even think about having balance?
The short answer is, this looks different for each of us and different during the different phases we go through.  And, you'll burn out very fast if you don't have balance.
The longer answer and my invitation for you to share what worked for you begins here.
I know balance is necessary because I didn't do it well in the early phases of parenting a child with an eating disorder.  Then I learned how to do it and practiced until it was effective.
I am not kidding about burning out.  It really is true that if we don't get our own oxygen mask on and fill our cup up we will run dry and not be of any use to anyone.
Our sick children/loved ones with eating disorders need our help (whether or not they agree with that is a different blog post).  If we are completely drained, fried and exhausted we will be of no use to them or ourselves.
Here are some of my ideas of what balance might look like during some experiences of caring for/about someone with an eating disorder (please share what has worked for you):
Potential Scenarios:
Parenting a young child/teen who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder and being treated with Family Based Therapy (FBT), Traditional Outpatient, Traditional Inpatient or Residential.
Being a college roommate or friend of classmate with an eating disorder.
Parenting an adult child who is in denial that he/she has an eating disorder.
Parenting an adult child who is being treated for an eating disorder.
Being the spouse/partner/housemate of an adult with an eating disorder.
Other potential scenarios that I didn't think of, please add in comments.
Balance creating actions:
Meditation / time alone to rest.
ED Free Zone/time with significant other.
Date Without ED - going out and doing something fun with friend or significant other.  See more on my notes page on FB https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=10150364194183942&id=135653374380
Making a Top 10 List (of fun activities) and doing at least one thing per day from it (ie- watch a movie, talk w/a friend).
Go to private space (ie- bedroom) with significant other and be alone without discussing the illness or the sick child for 2 hours.
Getting enough sleep and moving your body in a fun way.
Talking with a professional (therapist or coach) about coping tools/skills/techniques as well as resources for helping yourself and your sick child.
Journaling about your fears/worries/frustrations.
 These are just a few ideas, I would love to hear what works for you and if you need help finding more balance I would be happy to schedule some coaching with you.

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