Sadly, seven years ago, our youngest daughter became unwell with Anorexia Nervosa, requiring hospital admission, and was under the care of the CAMHS Eating Disorder Team for over four years. Thankfully, with excellent treatment and care from them, she has fully recovered and remains well. The Team worked very closely with us and we will forever be grateful for their help and support.
Last year, myself and three other parents became volunteers with Notts HC, offering individual parent2parent support, either by telephone or face to face to parents of young people within the CAMHS Eating Disorder Service, attending monthly referral and supervision meetings with Richard Marsh, Clinical Nurse Specialist. Through this, I feel I have been able to give something back to the team which helped our family.
Caring for someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder can feel overwhelming and exhausting. We are there for parents/carers because we have “been there”. Not having someone to talk to regularly about the challenges and frustrations of supporting someone with an eating disorder can be lonely and isolating. A friendly chat on the phone or over a coffee can make all the difference.
Although no two families have the same path, it is about understanding another’s situation empathically through shared experience.
Sharing our journey represents the hope that people do move forward in their recovery. It is a privilege to be allowed to accompany parents/carers on their own individual journeys. By far the best part is when young people are able to gain back the wonderful life they so deserve and the joy this brings to their families.
My hope for the future is that our little group of volunteers may be able to expand so that we are able to offer much needed support to anyone caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, whatever their age.