So I mentioned a week or two ago that I finally pulled my head out of the sand, took off my rose-colored glasses, and told my 10-year old daughter that I had an eating disorder. Here is the letter I wrote and read to her, to get the conversation going… MamaV just posted it on We Are The Real Deal but I think this topic is an important one and I wanted to post it here as well….
My Dearest Daughter,
Mommy wants to share something with your about herself that I think you are old enough and mature enough to understand. This is something that is private and personal. It is just between you, daddy and me. We will talk to your little brother when he is a little older when he will be old enough to understand. This is not something that you should talk to your friends about or other members or our family, it’s just between the three of us because we know that we can trust you to keep it private. If you want to talk to the school guidance counselor about it, you can, but no other adults or kids, ok? Do you have any questions about that?
Do you know what an eating disorder is? …. Eating disorders are an illness, something that people have inside them, something that they can’t control without a lot of help and hard work. You will probably hear about them in school, you will probably have friends who have them. There is anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating.
Mommy has an idea disorder. Mommy is a compulsive eater. This is mommy’s issues, not yours. It started in my childhood. That means for 30 years or so, Mommy has had an addiction to food. For a long, long time, mommy would eat tons of food, even when I wasn’t hungry. That is called bingeing. I did not listen to my body about when I was hungry and when I was full. I would sneak food, hide food and make myself sick from eating too much.
Long before I met daddy and before you were born, mommy’s weight got very high many times. I would lose weight and gain weight. I was unhealthy and didn’t feel very good about myself. It is a terrible feeling to stuff yourself with food until you sick, yet I somehow couldn’t stop. That’s what compulsive means, it means you don’t think at all, you just do it. In my case, I would eat a lot of food without thinking about what I was doing. Again, this is mommy’s problem, not yours. Do you understand what compulsive overeating means? Do you have any questions about it?
I’m trying very hard to recover from my eating disorder. Thank goodness, mommy has not binged for over two years now. I have lost weight by not binging and by going to the gym. I got my weight down to a place that my body feels good, strong and comfortable. With daddy’s support and yours too, I can continue to work through this and keep getting better. I know that you see me weighing and measuring my food portions. I weigh and measure my food because I don’t want to lose or gain weight; I know just how much my body needs to keep at my weight. Does any of this surprise you? What do you think when you see me weighing and measuring?
Mommy and daddy are scared that the things you see me doing, as I’m trying to recover my eating disorder, are affecting you and how you may feel about yourself. Is that true? Can you share with us your feelings about that?
You are smart, funny, creative and a great daughter. We want you to have self confidence in yourself and proud of who you are. Mommy and Daddy are certainly very proud of the person that you are. Those are things that are on the inside of you. On the outside, you are a beautiful girl. You should feel great and comfortable with your body. Mommy and daddy have told you this before, but you can be anything you want in your life, whatever you set your mind out to do.
I know you see mommy sitting at the computer a lot and have probably heard me talking about blogging or my blog. I started a blog a few months ago about my eating disorder, because it is very helpful for me to write down, or journal, about my feelings about this eating disorder. I have found that there are a lot of women out there who have similar problems with food, so it’s great to ‘talk’ and share with people who understand. These people help me and I help them as well, which is a great feeling.
Do you have any questions or is there more that I can explain to you?
How about you? Have you told your child(ren) that you have an eating disorder? How did you do it? How did it go?
One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body