When you are in the darkest part of your child’s anorexia, it can be hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It feels more like an abyss than a tunnel, with very little possibility that you will ever find a way to emerge into the light again. When I was there, I was lucky enough to know that I had the ability to think whatever I wanted to think, and to believe whatever I decided to believe. Since our thoughts create our feelings, that meant, I could feel whatever and however I wanted to feel.
I had never been tested this way before, and I surprised myself. Somehow, in the worst moments, when the daughter I knew and loved was nowhere to be found (her anorexic behaviors had taken over), I still knew she was there. I believed that all of her pain was an illness that was temporarily louder than her sweet soul, but I also believed that her soul was there fighting behind the vile illness; she just needed her mom to see her and to feel her and to believe that she was going to come through the darkness and into a very bright life. She needed me to believe that that she was going to pull herself up and out of the abyss, and that she would be stronger, better, wiser for having slayed the hideous dragon.
I share this because I want you to know that it is possible to believe something regardless of what anyone and everyone else is saying. Sometimes you just know something so deeply because it is the only thing you can believe. When you know you can weather the storm, it doesn’t matter at all what anyone thinks, what the experts say, or what the gloom and doom articles keep repeating. When you love your daughter no matter what the anorexia makes her do, then you have everything.
There is so much more to the experience than the suffering. If you go through it without avoiding your feelings, without resisting your emotions, you will experience a deep and meaningful journey that is nothing short of miraculous when you reach the other side.
On the other side of my daughter’s anorexia, she smiles. Even though she is tired and stressed, she smiles. She couldn’t do that a year ago. On the other side of her anorexia, I can look at her and tell her how much I love seeing her smile, and that I knew that she would smile again—even on the days that she was sure she wouldn’t. On this other side of anorexia, I can tell her how proud I am of her, and she can hug me. On this side of anorexia, we both know that the hardest things can also be the best things, if we believe they are.
If you want to learn how to get closer to the recovery side of anorexia with your teen ballerina, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 20-minute mini coaching session.