National Eating Disorders Association

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Needing Parental Input

I realize that I am not a parent and that this is not a typical post for this forum, however I would love a parental point of view...In a brief summary I have been struggling off and on with my disordered eating since I was about 11 and I'm 26 now. Although my parents did put me in treatment at 18 for drug addiction, I've never gotten formal ED treatment. Even when I was in treatment for drugs, my therapist still recognized that my underlying issue was an eating disorder (I just developed a drug habit to help me not feel hungry/ and be able to sleep). My parents intervened once when I was 14 for my ED because a teacher was concerned and called them. But I never stuck with treatment. I was hospitalized again at 17 for severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and low blood sugar. My parents threatened ED treatment then and honestly I had hoped deep down that they would send me. But I talked them out of it and convinced them I would be fine.

Fast forward- I'm now 26. I haven't lived at home since I went to drug treatment at 18 and I'm still hopelessly entrapped. I did manage to go to college, got a job far away from home, was engaged (I ended it about 1.5 years ago which was a good thing) but now I want to talk to my parents about recovery. I want to tell them that I'm tired of this. That I know I can never fully embrace my life until I beat this thing once and for all. But here's the thing, I think my stepmom is smart enough to know that I have never fully recovered from all of this but I think my dad has truly lived on a happy pink cloud where he assumes that because I'm not in a hospital, not underweight, and sound happy enough on the phone that I am fine...I don't want to break their hearts but I also feel like if they don't know where I am at, that I will sink down and give up. I don't have a support system here. I am seeing a therapist who is about to give up on me because she strongly believes I need inpatient. I'm struggling with going to inpatient finally when I am at a high weight and don't currently have loved ones pushing me to go. My mom committed suicicde when I was 24. It's never been anything I have ever or would ever consider on a conscious level. But I know this disorder can and does kill people. So, as parents. What do I say to my parents? Should I write a letter or call (I tend to better in Letter format). If I were your daughter and were reaching out to you, how do you think you would react? (My parents are in Oklahoma and I am in Virginia). What do I say? I know that telling them almost gurantees that I can't change my mind about treatment which is terrifying but somewhat liberating...any responses are welcome and appreciated.

RE: Needing Parental Input

I am also not a parent but I am happy you posted here because the forums can be a great support system! I think it would be very helpful for you to get advice from a professional or the Helpline (800-931-2237)! I understand that you are currently seeing a therapist that you feel is ready to give up on you, but I think it is important to talk to her about this situation first. She is there to care for you and it may be your own feelings of giving up that you are projecting onto her. She may be right about inpatient, but no matter what, you should definitely talk it out with her! Also, your parents love you and I'm sure they only want to help you. It is definitely tough admitting to them that you still have your ED, but it sounds like you are ready to start walking toward recovery--telling them may be a step in the right direction.


 Hi Tired_of_Losing, welcome to the forums! I just wanted to let you know that your post has been edited due to some triggering content. You can find our guidlines at Please keep posting and have a great day!

hi Tired_of_Losing

It sounds like you have had a rough road. I am happy to hear that you are ready to fight your ED, It is so hard and it can also be done.
I am a mother of 6 children. One of my kids has ED. My daughter struggled with ED for years before we put her in an inpatient center for 2 months at age 15. She is almost 18 now. She has come such a long way. She still struggles and she is winning the fight.I know for her she needed inpatient care, it gave her and us a solid foundation. It also helped her realize how serious things were. They taught her some great skills there. Afterwards she did IOP for the summer and then continued counseling with a therapist who worked with ED patients. Another turning point for her was when we both went through a DBT program. She said it changed her life, gave her many skills, Each person needs to find what is best for them to fight and win ED. I felt like sharing her story may help you.
As for telling your parents. If you are more comfortable telling them in a letter, than that might be the way to go. As a parent I would like my kids to tell me, if that is by a phone call, text, or letter than that is fine. Please remember there is no perfect or right way to do this. Just reach out to them. It sounds like your step mom already realizes the struggles you are having. After you tell your dad he might get it right away, or he might need a little time to process it. I have finally realized that at times I need to process things and take a little time to figure out how best to help my kids. Either way it is okay. It sounds like they both love you. I know you don't want to hurt them, as a parent though I would much rather know what my kids feel and what they are going through so I can show them my love, even if my heart is breaking for them.
It sounds like you are ready to fight this horrible disease. Just remember that you can find help and support through programs, doctors, family and friends. You're the only one that can conquer your ED. It sounds like you are ready to do that. It is so worth it.