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Still Standing

by Judy Krasna

2019 was somewhat of a mixed bag for me. I welcomed a beautiful new granddaughter to our family and watched my “original” granddaughter transform from a baby to a little person with strong opinions. I celebrated my 30th year of marriage to a man who has been the greatest life partner that I ever could have imagined. I spent an incredibly relaxing 3 weeks of vacation time with family and friends in the USA this summer. There were definitely some wonderful highlights.

Unfortunately, on the flip side, my daughter’s ED was deafeningly loud this year. Every time she took one step forward, it pushed her three steps back. She had an awful year, which meant that I had an awful year, because that umbilical cord never really gets fully cut. When she hurts, I hurt.

You would think that after 12 years of dealing with this illness, I would have built up some type of immunity to the pain, that I wouldn’t feel the sucker punches, but I still do. ED is Muhammad Ali on steroids. Just when I start to think that things are finally looking up, that my daughter is finally gaining ground against her ED, her ED throws that solid punch and knocks us down. And in some ways, instead of it getting easier, it just gets harder with time. I am not sure why that surprises me, but it does.

I woke up this morning somewhat angry. The fact that I am angry at my daughter’s ED makes perfect sense. But in addition to that, I found myself turning that anger inward. Why do I let my daughter’s ED still get to me, why do I let it knock the wind out of me time after time?
I started thinking about the new year being the perfect time for a new perspective, which led me to consider that maybe I need to look at this situation from another angle. Maybe what matters the most is not that after 12 years I still get pounded by my daughter’s ED, maybe what matters most is that after 12 years, without fail, I still get up, no matter how hard the hit. When I frame it like that, it banishes the anger and replaces it with a feeling of strength.

As the mother of a daughter with an enduring eating disorder, every time I speak with someone who recovered from an ED, especially someone who recovered after a long period, I always ask what caused them to recover. I am desperate to know their “secret” to recovery. Many times, I don’t get a real answer; however, the one common thread that I have found is support. Everyone who I have spoken to had support that helped them or pushed them to recover. Support and recovery seem to be intermeshed and intertwined.

If I want my daughter to have a chance at recovery, I know that she needs my staunch and unwavering support. I also know that some days, I am not sure that I have it in me to keep traveling this route through hell. It’s too long, too hilly, too exhausting, and too scary. The stakes are too high; I can’t afford to fail, which just adds more pressure to an already stressed-to-the-max me. On those days, it is my F.E.A.S.T family that keeps me from getting knocked out, that yells at me from the sidelines, “get up!”, and that makes sure I stay up.

F.E.A.S.T. is a critical part of what I consider my circle of support. I am able to support my daughter, I am able to remain standing against her ED even on the roughest days, I am able to endure the punches, because F.E.A.S.T. supports me. I used to think that F.E.A.S.T was an organization designed to help educate, empower, and support families of newly diagnosed kids, but I have learned through my more extensive involvement with the organization over the past year that F.E.A.S.T. truly supports all families in all stages of this difficult and challenging experience.

To all of you other parents in the trenches with me day after day, year after year, keep up the good fight and keep your eye on the recovery prize. And know that “still standing” is not only enough, it’s downright remarkable.

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11 Comments

  1. Daryl

    Thanks for your honest account of this past year, and the challenges of battling your daughter’s ED. Your strength is inspiring, and the support you receive to access that strength is what F.E.A.S.T. is all about. Providing peer support to parents and families no matter where they are or how difficult their ED journey. You are a hero Judy, as you advocate for and inspire others. And it’s important that others lift you up as well. F.E.A.S.T. is a wonderful international family of support.

  2. Fiona

    Thank you so much for this Judy. As a family entering our third decade with ED (D was first diagnosed in 2001) I agree totally. Our F.E.A.S.T. family is there for all of us.

  3. Julie Montal

    Dear Judy, you write with your heart and soul. Thank you. Hopefully the moment will come when the ED monster will no longer find refuge in your daughter. Meanwhile hang in there. You are amazing.

  4. Lisa Burns

    Dearest Judy, you were my beacon on a dark and frightening day. I will never forget how surrounded in hope and light I felt after our first “chat”. I’m here, still standing, in thanks and gratitude to you and too FEAST! ❤️

    • Carolynn Moon

      Dear Judy, and all brave moms and dads out here, thank you. This past while I have forgotten that I do not have to endure this alone and yet when I feel most beat up and exhausted and yes ashamed, I hide. Thank you for the “light of inclusiveness”

  5. Karen Mcboyle

    As much as it is so sad others are on this path with me , it is also comforting. I wish feast was there for me 20 years ago ,although Knowlege has changed drastically since then , perhaps my d would not be still suffering. Regardless, feast and people like you give me strength to continue. What other choice is there ? Xo

  6. Jeanne

    Good to hear all the comments from everyone .
    I would like to join FEAST support for parents .
    We have been battling with ED that has affected my only daughter for the last 5 to 6 years .
    I feel like we are losing her to ED . She more or less is drifting away from the family and wants to be independent at 17 years old .
    Hope we can all make it . Hard to think of any alternatives .
    Is this all confidential ?

  7. Lois Zagrodzki

    I really needed these words today! My daughter is on her way to her third treatment center within one month in hopes of finding her perfect “fit”. We have been battling her ED for 14 years. It does take it’s toll on everyone who loves her! I look forward to sharing the support from FEAST

  8. Rachel

    Thanks to all you brave parents out there going through this. We’ve been in this with our 30 year-old daughter for 13 years. By God’s miracle she gave birth to a son a year ago, but we almost lost her and him in the process. Sadly, she and her hubby won’t be able to have any more. I am forever grateful for our one and only grandchild, but my heart breaks as I watch my sweet daughter struggle to live out each day. Thank you all for your encouragement. I pray for transformation in her heart, mind and body, and I continue to be by her side despite the deep valleys and small hills. Thanks FEAST “family” for your presence in my life.

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