I know that everyone who attended our session last night will want to join me in thanking Caroline for sharing her thoughts on letting go of lingering ED behaviours and thoughts. Caroline fully recovered from her ED after 30 years and is now an incredible example of life beyond ED as well as being a wonderful coach Caroline Drummond-Smith is a fully-qualified and experienced health and life coach for women. — Zest Health Coaching
I could write an essay packed full of Caroline’s thoughts and tips. Here is a bite size version of her tips for carers:
- Recovery is always possible – never give up HOPE
- HOPE – as carers we can Hold onto Optimism, with Patience and Empathy even when our loved ones are in a dark place
- Acknowledge that the ED serves a purpose, and that it is hard work to give that up (Caroline described her fears that people would judge her for not doing her 2 hour run everyday or not being the smallest person in the room)
- Nobody chooses to have an ED, it is bad luck and so unfair
- As carers we can support our loved ones to let go of some of their rigid rules (Caroline described how she got “bored” and fed up of the ED rules dominating her headspace everyday. It was like a veil had lifted)
- Carers can really help their loved ones to start to acknowledge their many strengths (Caroline explained that she slowly realised she could be unique without her ED)
- The later stages of recovery are really tough – I have heard so many people saying “When I looked better, I felt so much worse!” (Caroline reflected on this – when I looked better I was ashamed to admit I was struggling and the ED would try to monopolise on this)
- Don’t be scared of lingering ED thoughts & behaviours – it may take a long time for them to no longer be needed for your loved one to feel safe.
The strength of the relationship is so much more valuable than the strength of the argument (Rather than focusing on and panicking about the fact your loved one has funny rules about food weight and shape – try to focus on fun family activities)
- Talk and be open – the ED thrives on secrecy. Calmly notice that your loved one has xyz rules, without criticism or judgement, and offer your support if/when they are ready to let them go.
- A what if card/ checklist can be useful to pick up on signs of lapse and relapse ( Caroline mentioned signs that might indicate a set back – eating alone, solo exercise, weighing person/ food, body checking, shame around eating)
For carers of children and teens:
For those of you caring for younger children and teens it can be a little disconcerting to hear recovery stories after decades of living with an ED, and so I am very pleased to be able to share with you Charlotte’s blog and APP
Charlotte is a sixteen year old with lived experience of anorexia, depression, abuse and autism. This is her message: ” Whether you, or a relation struggle with difficulties in regards to eating disorders, troublesome relationships with professionals, psychiatric hospitals or other related issues, I hope this blog can give you some support. I aim to provide awareness and delve into the unspoken aspect of living with mental health problems and how I personally dealt with them.”
Charlotte’s mum has been part of our network and hopes that some of you will find renewed hope from reading her daughter’s very thoughtful pieces.