National Eating Disorders Assoc. Conference

Good morning.
Just getting my stuff together for another day of the conference:

Last night at dinner, Bridget Whitlow from UCSD's Eating Disorders Program asked me what keeps me from the burnout so common in parents after their child's recovery.

You see, at these eating disorder events the parents who attend are far more likely to be either at the ends of their ropes or the battle has been lost. There are very few parents out there telling success stories or offering hopeful stories and support.

Bridget's question resonated in my head the rest of the evening. Why am I doing this? Why do I spend my time and money and energy on a cause that isn't for my personal benefit - and how do I avoid burnout.

My answer to Bridget was that my parents are political activists and so it has always seemed like both a responsibility and a right to go back and help others over the rough spots you've gotten over. I can also thank my mother's amazing optimistic spirit. I also want to honor my daughter's amazing work at recovery and living well.

But I think when I sit here like this I'm really speaking to the parent I know has just realized his or her child has an eating disorder and you are on the verge of tears all day. You don't know what has happened to the life you thought you were living, and you are scared. You are looking for clues to how to survive this and how to find safety and peace again for your child. I was that mom, and I want you not to feel alone.

Sending hope. I need more coffee. Time to go downstairs!


  1. Laura, you and Harriet both did a terrific job on Friday. The presentation was terrific offering information, hope, optimism and stratgies. I am thrilled that so many people both families and professionals are demonstrating an interest and faith in this approach towards treatment!Behold the power of the golden fork!

  2. Laura, So many parents and children have benefited directly from your sense of purpose and responsibility. We know it wasn't easy for your to dedicate your life to spreading hope to the families of ED sufferers and that you have sacrificed much in doing so. Please know how much we respect and admire you for all you have done. From one of those moms, Susan

  3. Ah, I see, so you blame your parents for this do you?:-)

  4. Posted before I'd finished - so I guess we all have to thank your parents too.

  5. Dear Laura,

    All of us parents are there with you and Harriet in spirit!

    It's the parents voices, requests for help, answers, coaching, and continued support within helping our children recover that is not being heard enough yet to really impact drastic change needed in treatment.

    I do hope to hear/read that there were others such as yourself and Harriet present at NEDA to give credence to this. And that you were both able to feel likewise additionally supported, re-inspired, and energized yourselves. Sounds like congenial dinners, birthday cakes, and some fun too was had- I hope?

    So many of us that were unable to attend applaud your continued efforts and relentless dedication- thank you- thank you- THANK YOU!

    I know for myself, you have been a sustaining source of encouragement and strength through some of my darkest moments... your intelligence mixed with wit and humor keep me anchored and brave, in the depths of this illness.

    Know that we ALL value the work you do, and we appreciate you so very much!

    Safe and restful returns from the conference.

    Luv~ *T

  6. Laura,

    This reminds me of why I continue to be involved with the ED community. Because I don't want anyone else to suffer through years of ineffective treatments or hear so much BS about needing to be "ready" to recover. I don't want anyone else's family irrevocably torn apart. And I do want more research and better treatments.

    Thanks for reminding me.


  7. Carrie, I want to let you know too what a tremendous impact you have had this week even though you were not physically here, like i said, it takes a team!

  8. And a fork, Sam. It takes a fork. :)

  9. Thank you Laura for all your effort, time, love and dedication for fighting this illness and make society see it as it is in our eyes (parents). WE couldn't have been there at the conference physically but are thinking of you, sending love and waiting for your inputs. I appreciate all your work and activism, and hope one day soon we (our family) will be at the other side of the tunnel and be a "voice" too.
    I want you to know that your effort has been a lifesave for me, I couldn't have gone thru many sleepless nights and frustate days without the parents board.
    Thanks again and have a nice trip back.

  10. Laura, your work is essential.It's easy as a parent to become scared and confused when your daughter has AN. It makes you question whether the world makes sense any longer.Your optimism and humor is a relief. Go for it!

  11. I knew you were going to make a huge difference Laura.
    Thank you for all you do.


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