By Judy Krasna, F.E.A.S.T. Executive Director
There are things about the beginning of our journey with my daughter’s eating disorder that I will never forget. I will never forget the exact moment when I realized she had anorexia. I will never forget the pounding of my heart as my trembling fingers dialed my husband’s number to tell him that we had a serious problem. I will never forget the endless hours of frenzied research on eating disorder treatment and the crushing blow of finding out that the treatments with the strongest evidence base were not offered in Israel, where I live. I will never forget the constant arguments with my daughter’s treatment team, and the way they made me feel ignorant, uneducated, and uninformed. I hated feeling that way; it stripped me of my confidence as a parent and frustrated me tremendously. I was intelligent and I was a competent parent, but they made me feel otherwise, and I didn’t need that on top of my daughter’s health crisis. It was slowing me down at a time when I had neither time nor ground to lose.
I realized that I could not advocate for my daughter until I gained more knowledge. I invested in my own education, and I learned everything that I could about eating disorders. In doing so, I empowered myself. I no longer felt vulnerable. I no longer felt inconsequential. I no longer felt incompetent. I no longer felt irrelevant. Knowledge took me to where I needed to be in order to help my daughter.
This treacherous journey would be so much easier if there was one path that led to recovery and if every family could follow the same road map, but it doesn’t work that way. Each family needs to find their own direction; and to do that, parents need knowledge and insight. You can’t make decisions without information, especially when those decisions involve your child’s health. There was a point when I felt crippled by the fear of making the wrong decision, and so I did nothing. In retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, that was a mistake. The empowerment that I gained through education enabled me to take back the reins of my daughter’s well-being and to start making the right decisions, putting us on a better path that was headed in the right direction.
I see the difference that knowledge makes for parents dealing with their child’s eating disorder. I know how much easier it is to do better when you know better. I know what a gamechanger it is when parents regain their confidence once they are better informed about eating disorders.
Empowerment through knowledge helps parents change their status from passively accepting to actively engaged, which can make a world of difference both in the journey and in the outcome.
At F.E.A.S.T., we want to give parents and caregivers the best information, tools, and skills possible to guide them through their family’s eating disorder journey, because we know that eating disorders are treatable, and we know how significant of a role parents can play in their child’s treatment and recovery. It is with this in mind that we planned FEAST of Knowledge.
F.E.A.S.T. of Knowledge is an online educational event where leading experts present information and skills on topics that are highly relevant to parents and caregivers of people with eating disorders, at every stage of their journey. It will take place on March 27 between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. EST US; if you register you can watch it on demand afterward. We have hand-picked speakers whose knowledge and work in the eating disorders field are legendary, so that everyone attending FEAST of Knowledge can benefit the most by learning from the absolute best.
Some of the experts at FEAST of Knowledge are professional experts and others are experts by experience. We feel that combining both types of expertise offers a more robust program with fuller dimension and richer insight.
Please join us on March 27. I can pretty much guarantee that no matter where you are along your journey, more knowledge will help.