A mothers response: Eating disorders take a toll

by Anne Weiher

(This blog is authored by the mother of Liz LeRoux, who wrote the previous blog about her eating disorder. Liz’s blog is a couple years old. Anne’s reflections are current.)

When Liz wrote her blog about her eating disorder, I truly thought that once she settled in Boulder, had loving family around her and a chance to start over, her life would change. Little did I know how tenacious eating disorders can be. Eating disorders are the leading cause of death from mental illness, and over the last three and a half years that Liz has been with us, she has almost died at least four times and coded once.  It has been a very trying time with many ups and downs. It has taken a toll on the entire family.

For me, when she is doing well, life seems to go smoothly and I breathe a bit easier, but when she doesn’t do well, it affects me greatly. Everyone tells me to detach, that I can’t fix her problems, to use tough love and kick her out of the house. As a mother, I just cannot do that.  I cannot give up hope that she will be able to get some kind of job, an independent living arrangement and friends who will support her. I never thought I’d be in this situation with a 41-year-old daughter living with us. I know my life has not been shattered in the way hers has been, but the helplessness I feel is overwhelming.

We’ve tried three types of eating disorder treatments, an alternative treatment and a long-term stay in a dual-diagnosis program. Nothing seems to work. We have been fortunate that we can afford these treatments, but they have taken their toll both financially and physically. I do not know what will happen to her when we can no longer work or are not physically here to support her. She doesn’t seem to qualify for disability but I wonder if she can truly be self supporting.

I try, sometimes with more success than others, to remember that God has a plan for her. That she is loved by Something greater than me. She is a wonderful young woman, trapped in a disease not of her own making. As I write this piece, a part of my heart is breaking and it seems it will never be whole. However, I pray that I can continue to hold her in my heart and love her in a way that helps her deal with these demons.

Anne Weiher, Mother of Liz LeRoux

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the submitter. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board of directors or members of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.