Caring for somebody who has a mental illness is challenging, exhausting, worrying and life changing in equal measures; but when you care for a loved one suffering an eating disorder you must rise to the dual challenges of meeting the physical and emotional needs of a sick loved one.
Louise Sezgin of Plymouth Eating Disorders Support Group, UK, writes:
Support for carers is probably even more poorly provided than it is for those seeking care and treatment. This is alarming as carers are the most important asset in supporting and encouraging loved ones in their recovery and in actually providing their practical day to day care while ensuring their safety.
Caring for somebody with a life threatening illness causes immense emotional distress, can place strain on other relationships and often causes difficulties with work and finances.
Peer Support Groups
Peer support groups can be lifelines for carers as those attending are able to acknowledge the commonality of thoughts, feelings and frustrations while sharing coping strategies and successes with one another.
World Eating Disorders Action Day June 2, 2016 is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the enormity of the issues faced not only by those suffering an eating disorder but the impact of these deadly illnesses on families and friends.
Be sure to follow along on twitter @WorldEDDay and hashtag #WeDoAct, #WorldEDActionDay, @WorldEatingDisordersAction on Instagram andWorld Eating Disorders Action Day on Facebook.
I have written nine books about eating disorders since my recovery (my “reconnection with true self”) from anorexia nervosa and other long term mental health challenges in 2006. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing). My contribution to the eating disorder field was recognised at the 2016 Academy for Eating Disorders International Conference in San Francisco where I was awarded the Meehan/Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy. I am currently a co-chair of the NEDC Steering Committee Evidence of Experience Group, a foundation steering committee member of the annual World Eating Disorders Action Day, and an Advisory Panel member for F.E.A.S.T.