Angry parents

To become an eating disorder parent activist I had to face death. Not just face the terror of losing my child, but also join and spend time with those parents who have lived my worst fear.

I have had the honor of meeting quite a number of parents who became activists after losing a child to an eating disorder. It was scary for me at first. Awkward. Humbling. I flinched, mumbled, deferred. I fought the impulse to run away and found myself wondering what right I had to say one word about this topic when my daughter survived and this mother's child did not. I won't say these reactions have entirely gone away, but I have learned this: to be brave and listen. What would I want, if I was strong enough to reach back to help others after losing a child? To be heard. To have my child be heard - whatever message I thought he or she was saying.

I don't always agree with what these parents think caused the eating disorder or what they think we should all do about the problem. Some blame themselves, and some blame society - I would argue with both directions. Others blame poor treatment, lack of adequate treatment, and how society's lack of understanding blocks treatment - and those ideas I couldn't agree with more.

But two things seem to tie all of us - ALL parents and caregivers - anger, and hope. Anger that this illness should threaten our families, and hope that speaking out will help. Anger and hope: the balance of which is a constant struggle for any activist.

"Father's anger"
"We need to help these families."
"Anorexia didn't kill Heidi; the system did"
"It doesn't bring Anna back, and it doesn't stop the pain, but it gives some meaning to something that is meaningless"
"There has to be a way to do this better"
“Every single voice helps chip away at denial.”


  1. Thank you for the reminder of why we need to keep going, shining a light on a path that has the best chance at life. These stories are heartbreaking.
    Regardless of money we need some honest EDUCATION about ED's. Until people start hearing it from the media many will still believe it's about control. The sad part is that anorexia removes all true control and joy in life. I believe that no matter what happens a person deserves to beat this disease and have back their birthright to freedom from such a cruel master. I will always believe we starve ED's with food.
    Experience is good science in my book.On some things we must trust our instincts.
    If parents are mad that their child was taunted or the media drilled some foolish messages in our child's head then maybe it's right that they should be enraged.If they feel they were failed when they didn't know what steps to take then again they have a right to feel angry.
    Keep educating Laura. Your forum and work has begun to shake things up.

  2. Thank you, Mary. I have always and continue to be inspired by your ability to remain positive and resist anger and negativity... even when others have given you cause.

    Keep up that important work - we're all in this together!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts