It does gets worse

I don't know why this isn't explained to parents, and sufferers: before it gets better, it gets much worse.

For biological reasons that are well known but not often enough discussed with patients, the worst parts of recovery are not when you are most medically compromised.

And it isn't because "now I'm fat."

The worst is when the mind and body fight back.
Like a diver with the bends.
Like an alcoholic during detox.

Caregivers need to be prepared. It does get worse before it gets better - but what's the alternative?

It is worth it, but not at first. Pace ourselves.


  1. I received a phone call from my beautiful daughter yesterday; a phone call that any mother of an eating disorded daughter would love to hear. My daughter has fought anorexia nervosa for at least four longs years. She has been released into recovery twice. The first time she battled for a year before she returned to the hospital for treatment. The second time we chose extended treatment in a group home. This recovery has been fraught with many disasters and crises. But the important part is that my child has not given up, she has fought and fought and fought. In her phone call she said "I'm not yet eating 'normally', but I am eating", "Do you realize that I've finished two consecutive semesters of university without having to drop out?", "I have a new job and I enjoy it very much", "I've made new friends that are very supportive", "I've learned to tell my friends if a food in the kitchen is too tempting for me to live around. I'm finally starting to use my voice", and "I have a boyfriend that I have been seeing for over three months and I feel very peaceful and 'like myself' in this relationship". These are words that a mother of an adult child with an eating disorder yearns to hear. I am so very, very proud of her. I realize that she has years and years ahead of daily battle with the eating disorder; but at this moment, this very moment in time, for the first time since she left the hospital, I am beginning to have a sense of hope for the future. For those of your who are struggling with parenting and adult child who is also eating disordered, the only support I can offer is to never give up on your child. If you are angry with the choices she made, tell her in a nonjudgmental way;remember that you cannot be the food police for her; and do not allow yourself to become enmeshed in her mental illness. Love can't cure an eating disorder, but love can create a basis for a continuing relationship for your hurting child.

    Hope and prayers for you.

  2. YES. It gets a hell of a lot worse before it gets worse. We were never warned of this early in our young child's recovery and when it came at us in all that roaring technicolor fury, we were completely blindsided. Knowledge is power. Thank you for arming us with yours.

  3. So true, Laura. I'm so glad that you are one of the few who recognize this, and even moreso that you are brave enough to speak this truth. While it may be hard to hear, it's better than experiencing it in ignorance.

    Thank you.

  4. Laura,
    You're right on saying "it gets worse before it gets better". I think one of the reasons so many relapse is because they expect things to be all rainbows and butterflies as they get into recovery. And it just doesn't happen like that. Knowing this is such a help to hanging in there during those painful times. The payoff will be there in the long run.

    Thank you for giving us all such wonderful insight and information from the front lines. Laura, you are a treasure.

  5. hi,

    i stumbled upon your blog quite by accident, but it's been interesting to read about EDs and recovery from a parent's perspective. i'm going back and forth on whether i wish my mother had had a like resource to refer to back in the day (for her sake, i think yes; what i remember of teenage me screams no). still, it's always really refreshing to see a parent who has really done her homework, too.

    also, re: like an alcoholic during detox--
    a link you might be interested in:


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