How can growing your knowledge about eating disorders grow your hope and help support your loved one? Let’s talk about that.

Why do we need to increase knowledge ourselves about our family member’s illness? As I share in the education chapter of the HUG Kit GuidebookTo learn the essentials of being an effective eating disorders caregiver. 

If you saw my blog post from Oct 3, 2019 on Nourishing Hope in Eating Disorders, you’ll recall I was sharing 12 Keys to more happiness and freedom from suffering for caregivers. This came out of  a Keynote by Dr. Ralph Carson of ERC,  “Psychology of Happiness, a Provider and Patient Perspective” – Dr. Ralph Carson, RD, LD, PhD and ERC National Recovery Advocate Shannon Kopp. 

Research is showing it makes a huge difference in treatment outcomes long term to have hope. And knowledge is one of the keys to growing hope. 

Supporting a loved one with an eating disorder requires family caregivers to not only have a working knowledge of these 9 myths & 9 truths of eating disorders, it also requires knowledge in these 10 Areas to grow hope and be effective caregivers: 

  1. Emotions – Managing own and tolerating their loved one’s
  2. Oxygen – Getting one’s own O2 mask on and keeping it firmly in place
  3. Support – Finding, asking for and allowing oneself to have support as a carer/caregiver
  4. Education – Our topic today
  5. Communication – Learning how to communicate most effectively to support loved one
  6. Residential Treatment – The in’s and out’s of treatment centers 
  7. Self Care – What it is and isn’t, how to do it and how it will help a loved one
  8. Enabling – What it is, why doing it isn’t helpful and how to not do it
  9. Validating – How to use it and how it will help
  10. Setting boundaries & following through – What boundaries are, how they help, how to implement

Eating disorders are serious illnesses, and over the past 16+ years of providing coaching for family caregivers I’ve seen when they have support and accountability in all of these areas, they become; calm, compassionate, confident caregivers. 

One thing that pretty much every family member has said to me is, “I would DO anything to help my loved one be free of this eating disorder.” 

Hearing that doing one’s own parallel process will help them is not what caregivers want to hear in a state of fear, overwhelm and exhaustion. So it’s important to start where the caregiver is at. For caregivers, it’s hard to know where you’re at when fear is running the show. 

Getting support for reducing fear can begin with education which will shine some light on the darkness. You can read more on education in this blog post from March of 2019 and the post on 10 Tips to Use When a Child has an Eating Disorder

If you or someone you know is in need of more support, feel free to pass along the link to have a free consultation.