By Daryl Madill, F.E.A.S.T. Volunteer
The promise of better health ahead in 2021 for all is poignant. I don’t know anyone who is sad to see the back end of 2020. If you are a family who’s also faced an eating disorder diagnosis during this past year, it must have seemed unbearable at times. However, even as we look ahead to better days, it’s also possible to reflect on silver linings from the challenges of this past year.
For many families, remaining at home during lockdown with their children diagnosed with an eating disorder has provided the opportunity to ‘close the loopholes’ with respect to meals, snacks and supervision. Though all the togetherness can be demanding, having the time and attention to focus on renourishment is a blessing in disguise. Removing the pressure for kids to take part in outside activities or be physically present for school classes, as well as the opportunity many parents have had to work from home, has allowed for full supervision during and after every meal and snack.
The silver linings of fighting through an eating disorder, for both parents and affected individuals can be significant. As a parent who weathered the most tumultuous time of my life helping my daughter to overcome her eating disorder, I developed a number of strengths. I found my voice, and became a better advocate for my daughter’s health, as well as my own. In addition, I made the most treasured of friends among a community of parents helping their own children to heal.
For affected individuals with an eating disorder, moving forward into recovery can bring increased resilience and the development of skills to enhance their lives in the future. Successfully overcoming such a difficult life event builds confidence and the ability to weather storms ahead, be they related to new work or school or relationship challenges.
I would never wish an eating disorder on any individual or family. But appreciating the strengths and resilience and friendships forged during such a challenging time has been my silver lining. My wish for families and affected individuals in 2021 is full recovery from an eating disorder, and the ability to treasure their own silver linings as they navigate the journey ahead.