I have been slow in getting this second post out…my apologies. Truth be told, I needed a bit a of time to recoup after three very, very full days of intense ED talk and theory at ICED and an epic ‘cars, trains and automobiles’ journey home.
For those who are unfamiliar, ICED is a yearly conference billed as ‘a gathering place for professionals and advocates engaged in research, treatment and prevention of eating disorders’. Attendees are predominately professionals but there are definitely caregivers present and I would encourage any parents interested to attend a conference if they are able. We can often feel like we are living in two worlds: the real world and the surreal one at the bottom of the rabbit hole. At ICED those two worlds are one and it is a heady experience to be in an environment (outside of your home) where eating disorders are, unapologetically, the only focus. It was also wonderful to be in the company of a collection of brilliant, compassionate individuals who are truly committed to healing our children. They care…..they care deeply.
There is a lot of work going on in the field and the level of detail and specialization is dizzying. There were over 130 sessions on a wide range of topics. It makes perfect sense given the complex and multifactorial nature of this illness: It demands specialization. I was continually struck however by the fact that parents don’t really have that luxury…..the luxury of specializing. Our reality is such that the object of our concern (the complex, multifactorial mess of a kid sitting at the table) demands that we deal simultaneously with all the pieces of the puzzle.
So, when it feels overwhelming…….it is because it is.
(I spent my many hours in Newark airport musing about what I would ‘specialize’ in….What would you? I quite amused myself thinking of returning home and announcing that I was no longer dealing with ‘treatment’ issues and that I was, from this point on, narrowing my practice to ‘caregiver support’).