"hope that is real"

My friend, Lydia, one of the Around the Dinner Table moderators, said something yesterday that exemplifies the forum (and her): "Sending hope that is real."

Hope is necessary, but it isn't enough. Not with this illness. Hope and optimism without good information and leads on good treatment and examples and people who will be honest with you when you're heading down a dark road - hope is just palliative.

"Hope that is real" is what I needed back in 2002 and struggled to find. We had no peer support, our clinical supports were willing but just reading what we gave them, our extended family was bewildered - all we had were some Internet printouts and a lack of other options. No local support groups. We didn't know any other family struggling with the same thing. The only website with a parent population asked my husband and I to leave because we called eating disorders a biological illness and didn't blame ourselves enough.

I imagined a place where parents were strong and wise but also able to say difficult truths. I hoped for a place parents could do what they do best: fight for their kids. I imagined something that Lydia put a name to: real hope.


  1. It never made much sense that you were asked to leave but I can't help but see the GIFT they gave you and us by doing so. Your forum is fantastic in the support and guidance it offers. The old haunt has become more tolerant and looks the other way at advertisement to a certain place...dare I say it out loud. There are also some very compassionate and supportive to recovery parents there now who aren't afraid to say that food is a medicine.....and it isn't optional. And no one slaps us.
    Hope you've found time for balance and life without ED! Keep yourself healthy Laura.

  2. I think that's what patients are needing as well. As a kid, I didn't want hope in recovery - I couldn't see I had anything to recover from. However, after having this for 20+ years, you begin to see more clearly how much of your life it takes from you, dreams it's destroyed or prevented from ever happening. You begin to desperately want to recover, but don't know how to make it happen.

    About 3 yrs. ago, I got frustrated and asked the therapist I was seeing then to give me some kind of guidelines/instructions as to what to do to recover.
    She said: It's a process.
    Me: But what's the process?
    Her: You have to work through things.
    Me: But how??
    Her: You take one step at a time.
    Me: *silently screaming in frustration*

    It's extremely infuriating to realize the people you've been depending on have no clue how to help, but are happy to continue taking your money & allowing you to think it's your fault progress isn't being made.

    (On a positive note though, I am doing a little better - I've started a semi, sorta modified Maudsley plan - thank you for the encouragement you've given me to try Maudsley)

    Your intent was to offer real hope to parents and you have - and you've also offered it to those w/ the illness as well.

    I hope FEAST continues to grow and that Maudsley starts to be the first line of treatment offered.

  3. Thank you, Mary!

    And that is GREAT news, Tara! I believe you have described the issue really well - the various ways this illness turns us on each other and ourselves. Tara - I'm wishing you steady progress toward the renewal you seek!!!!


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