What is being REAL? I talked about it in yesterday’s post, my post about the Velveteen Rabbit. After the nice response I received from that post and my post prior to it I started thinking about another post. A post that I had put on the back burner for awhile. but spent all night thinking about and deciding that it is now time. Hopefully I am right.
If you have read The Healing Tears , Firefly Moments ,The Exquisite Garden then you have read about me talking of enduring hard times. Times of trauma, but I wasn’t specific about what our family has gone through in the past 2 years. Here is my story. IF there is one person out there that I can help through this post, then it was worth it! I was told before how our pain can help others and I truly believe that. Helps people know they are not alone and that there is hope. So please if my story strikes a chord within you and I can help in any way let me know. To my friends who have encouraged me with their words and gentle nudges to be real, thank you! ❤
Hanging on…even if just by a thread!
My child comes out into the hallway and their frame is not hidden by oversized hoodies. I see their too slender form and I have to turn my eyes away. My stomach turns, how did this happen so fast? Where was I?
That was the thoughts going through my mind in the winter of 2015. Where was I? I had been there the whole time, it happened right in front of my eyes. It happened when I watched my child take forever to eat a biscuit/muffin for they would just nibble at it. It happened as I saw food fill the whole plate in front of my child, but also saw how finely everything was cut up and spread out. It was when I would question my child about their weight and get a defiant answer. When I would see them reading the ingredients and nutrition information on the back of food packages and they would question me about what all I was putting in the dish that I was cooking.
It was there when I noticed them not eating anything with sugar in it, but hey, who doesn’t want their teenager to not eat as much sugar? Who doesn’t want their teen to eat more vegetables and fruit? They were eating at least. You don’t have anorexia if you are eating, right?
It was there when they started getting severe headaches and they were so tired, that they could hardly make it through a day of school. Yes, those signs were there. When you are right in the midst of it though, it is not as obvious.A lot of the signs were too late. The earlier signs had been well hidden behind a “happy” face. Yes, there was some denial that went on as well. Your brain goes into a protective mode, refusing to believe the nightmare, the one unfolding right in front of you.
” Mom, I am scared! I believe I have anorexia. It started out slowly as something I could control, but now it is freaking me out for it is controlling me! I am terrified to stop, but am terrified to continue as well! I must be crazy!” My child breaks down and sobs in my lap as I stroke their head and moisture slides down my cheeks. As the lump in my throat feels like it has engulfed my heart and my stomach is wound in knots.
You go to the Dr,. to the therapist, but its not enough. Your child can’t just snap out of it,they can’t “just eat!” It is a REAL disorder that takes over your brain and to overcome it is hard work! The therapist recommended a rehab for them to go to.
A rehab 3 hours away. A rehab for the child that was a homebody. Didn’t go to summer camp and friends would sleep over at our house. Now I am faced with leaving my child in a place with strangers. Trusting my child to be taken care of by them!
NO, my body screamed out to me in every fiber of my being! How can you send your child away? What kind of parent are you that you can’t just fix this yourself? Don’t do this!
If I quieted the screams though I could hear other voices. The ones speaking to my inner soul. The ones that I knew were right. The voices saying, “How can you not? ” The voices reminding me of how I sleep in fear every night, afraid that my precious child won’t wake up when dawn breaks. I wake up a half hour before their alarm goes off every morning. This is after a restless sleep due to checking on them through the night. I lay there with heart pounding as I wait to hear them moving in the room. I hear their footsteps and the light switch go on and my body relaxes.
Was my fear irrational? No, for when you are malnourished it is very hard on the heart. The heart beats erratically and the pulse can drop dangerously low.
I will never forget my dear friend’s words. “You can hold them close to you and watch them die or you can let them go and watch them live!” Harsh words? No! Words I needed to hear, YES! True friends know when to put things bluntly and they aren’t afraid to. This broke my husband’s heart as much as mine, but we knew that we really didn’t have a choice.
My family was very supportive. I still remember my sister texting me when we were in the medical part of the rehab. We were going through the long admission process and she just texted at how she hopes we realize how much we are doing the right thing. How we are saving our child’s life. Words I needed to hear, for I knew that time was ticking away and that we were getting closer to having to say goodbye.
1 hug, 2 hugs, 3 hugs later, the time for goodbyes had come. I was holding myself together as tears streamed down my brave, 13 year old’s face and I reassured them of our love. I held it together until I turned away, and went out the large metal doors. The nurse was putting her arm around me assuring me that my child was in good hands. Her words were not computing. I couldn’t hear them over the sound of my shattering heart.
7 long weeks at that rehab, 3 hour trips 1 way every week-end. 8 long weeks at a partial rehab closer to us. We were together in the evenings at a Ronald McDonald House. Cannot stress enough how wonderful the Ronald McDonald Houses are to stay at! Such an awesome idea, and so glad that there are so many around the world! A perfect way to help take care of families that are hurting.
The days went by 1 day at a time, one hour at a time and sometimes 1 minute at a time! Anorexia is an ugly disorder. It does NOT want to let go! Yes, it it like you have 2 different people in your child’s body. The sweet, loving child that you always knew, but so quickly they could turn into the angry, defiant, I can’t do this, I don’t want to get better child.
We hung in there, sometimes by only a thread and sometimes by a thick rope. We learned more about eating disorders then we ever wanted to know. My new kind of normal was reading up on it, going to Dr.appointments, therapist and nutritionist appointments every day. It was passing my husband on the week-ends.We would switch roles in who was staying at the Ronald McDonald house for the next week. Other families were vacationing on the beach for the summer, not us.
This period of our lives was one of the most toughest we had ever been through! Yes, there were days we just wanted to throw in the towel, but we didn’t. As parents when we take that little bundle of joy home from the hospital, we are making a commitment! A commitment to doing whatever it takes to raise them! A commitment that goes way beyond rocking them due to colic and kissing their boo-boos when they fall down. A commitment that makes you scream, cry and yes even laugh at the craziness of the things you may be going through. A commitment that doesn’t give up! Before you know it, you see that you have managed what you thought was the unbearable! You managed because you made a commitment to LOVE and True LOVE is unconditional!
Well not sure what I was thinking, when I thought that I could cover our last 2 years in 1 post. The next REAL story will have to be in another post. Still so much I could say about Eating Disorders, but I feel the post is long enough now. AS I said feel free to ask questions if you have them.
Thanks for listening and letting me share my heart with you. Thanks for caring and letting me be REAL! This blog was actually started shortly before this whole experience happened. I did post about it, but I posted in a allegory story way. A way that no one would know what I was talking about, except for my family and close friends. I wasn’t ready to be REAL yet, it was too hard. Thanks for staying with me and waiting.