As I was lying in a zero gravity chair in the Irish countryside watching clouds float by after a 90 minute massage to work out the kinks from various mediocre air bnb beds, I thought about caregivers, parents in particular, finding this kind of rest. And yes, I was lying in a driveway next to trash bins and a car and laundry drying in the wind…wanted you to see it does NOT need to be a gorgeous spot to feel serene. ūüėČ The Both/And concept here.

Parents in general, you’re tired right? One of the consistent messages I’ve heard from parents of those with eating disorders is how tremendously exhausted, depleted and worn down they are. The depletion comes from having to “be on” and ready to use all the skills at all times in so many different ways. The emotional pain alone drains a parent as much as being up all night with a newborn.

This exhaustion and utter depletion of the soul can present in so many ways that are not useful to the parent, the child (of any age) and to the treatment professional trying to help this family.

This living and parenting in burned out, survival mode gives the Ed so much power and takes away both the parent’s freedom from Ed as well as the child’s. And makes the job of the professional that much more challenging.

So HOW do we all help parents of those with eating disorders to find freedom from Ed’s power over them? I’ve written about these ideas previously and you can¬†see my blog from last July on REST here.

For now, here are 3 Ways Caregivers Can Have Freedom from Ed:

  1. Regularly receive validation and empathy from professionals and selves on how what they are doing is the IRONMAN of parenting.
  2. REST.
  3. Get support and help because this takes a village.

That might look simple on the surface, or impossible when it’s thought through. The validation and empathy from professionals and self will take releasing any judgments or beliefs about the role of parents in the development and/or continuation of the illness.

Rest is not easy when we are terrified, overwhelmed and feeling isolated. So, support and help are needed to learn how to actually take time and accomplish rest. There are so many responsibilities and tasks upon the parents so it may seem impossible to even find time for rest, much less the ability to relax enough to allow rest. Again, this is why support and help are essential. There are more and more options now and you can find our support and help here on our services page. 

For more on self care, check out¬†my interview, ‚Äú#103 Tools for Caregivers During DifficultTimes‚Ä̬†with Robyn Goldberg, RD on her Podcast, ‚ÄúThe Eating Disorder Trap.‚ÄĚ Follow the¬†link¬†to hear the interview.

Becky Henry, Founder, Hope Network, LLC – Eating Disorder Family Support