I’ve been MIA — three months since my last entry. For those who reached out with your concerns and support, I am grateful. And particularly even more so for the space you’ve given me during my crisis so that I could tend to my family and myself while in “it”. For the next few entries, I will be sharing excerpts from my journal in hopes it will shed light and might support others. What I’ve learned is that crises are a part of life and how we manage it and carry ourselves through it is where the life lessons are to be had.
February 9, 2007 – How fast life presents us with challenges.
January 29th, Allison asked me to come to her room – she wanted to talk to me.
In an instant my perception of our happy-go-lucky lives had changed dramatically.
“Mom, I think I have an eating disorder. I’ve been purging and I think it’s out of control.” If there is one thing I acknowledge for myself it is I did NOT react. I sat quietly and patiently to hear her out – to allow her to describe and express everything she was bravely telling me. I followed with what I hoped were “gentle” questions just so she would keep talking. I knew enough not to get her defensive or to feel guilt of any sorts.
Fear wanted to take over but instead “mama bear” did. I told her I would call the doctor in the morning, I reassured her and I thanked her for sharing this heavy SECRET with me. We hugged one another tightly and I assured her through my own calmness and confidence that we would get through this.
And then I went to bed. Chris was already asleep and I just couldn’t bring myself to wake him up. Instead, I lay there crying alone in the dark. Was all this really happening? Why??? What happened to our happy Allison? How could she do this??!!!!
The week to follow has been an emotional roller coaster for me… one moment I felt strong and proactive preoccupied with all the appointments I had to schedule that included her doctor, the lab, our first experience with a psychiatrist, and in search of a therapist who specialized in eating disorders. That kept me busy enough, but when there was down time, I’d find myself breaking down. Her secret now became our secret held only by her, Chris and me. She asked us not to tell Ryan (her brother).
Each day we gently ask, “How was your day?” full well knowing that what we are really asking is, “Have you purged today, and if so, how many times?” She seems forthright, sharing if it was a “good” day or “bad” one. And luckily there are more good days. Seems like taking the weight of her secret off herself will help her get better quicker.
All of this has certainly presented me an opportunity to reflect on so many things. In an effort to support “me”, I decided to express my thoughts in my blog today, titled “My Relationship With A Personal Crisis”. Just doing that for me felt kind of good.
What is so hard is realizing this is Allison’s journey that I cannot control. And that’s what’s scaring me so much.
~~~~~~~~~~~5/6/07 – Cindy
I just read your blog and wanted to just say how much admiration I have and had for you, Allison and Chris these past few months. I know where Allison is “now” but at the time it was happening, no one could know what the next day would be like. I kept wondering how you could keep going with so much grace through it all. I know I saw/heard you breakdown so few times and wondered what kept you so strong through all of it. I cannot tell you enough how much respect I have for your family. So much love to all of you, even more than ever.
5/7/07 – Cassandra
I sit here in tears…my heart overflowing with love and concern for you and Allison both. Although I do not have personal experience with eating disorders, I do understand how frightening it is to see a daughter go through a painful and challenging experience. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you right now. There are times when we all need someone else to hold us up and to help us gather our strength to return to center.
With love ~
5/8/07 – Susan
It’s so good to read your blog again and be a part of your journey. You are right on when you said, “What I’ve learned is that crises are a part of life and how we manage it and carry ourselves through it is where the life lessons are to be had.” You wrote that with such grace and knowing that I just had to reflect that back.
5/8/07 – Carol
To each of you, I thank you for your caring words and to just know you are here for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned is the power of sisterhood and the hands that women are able to put out so readily to give their support and presence in time of need. It is such a powerful energy.
5/25/07 – Dana
You are an incredibly strong person who lives life accordingly to what you believe in. You are an inspiration to us all! Yes…we will all face our own crisis, but we all hope to cope and handle these times with as much clarity and eloquence that you have shown. Thank you for being so unselfish and sharing so openly and modeling for us all. I truly admire you for your sincere honesty with yourself through this whole process. Your words have much impact and leave me pondering and reflecting. I am glad you chose to support yourself by sharing. You taught me that our values guide us through life. Your genuine respect for Allison is allowing her to travel her own separate journey. This cannot be an easy thing to do. When you mentioned the word surrender, I think of this as being an act of love and as a compliment. You have given Allison such a great foundation to serve herself. It is a compliment to her to have confidence and to believe that she will find her way. It is evident that there is so much love and respect within your family and you must be so proud. Your family is so fortunate to have you in their lives. Continue with high hopes and please know I am here for you. Love, Dana
5/27/07 – Carol
Dana — I just wanted to thank you for your truly supportive and encouraging thoughts here. You of all people know how “uneventful” parenting has been for me and Chris. Before this event, we never had to deal with any particular “challenge”. I often wondered if it was because we somehow got so lucky as parents (!)or was it that the “universe” didn’t think I was ready for a challenge yet!
But now I know that no matter how I want to view it, this is just life happening. And what I am experiencing from it is a direct result of how I am CHOOSING to view it. Through all of this, I still KNOW that I am blessed for the presence of both Al and Ryan in my life. I still KNOW that we are a resilient family. I still KNOW that respect is one of the strongest values that our family believes in and practices.And as challenging as this experience has been for us, I see how strong Allison is as a result. I could not ask for more at this point. Much love and gratitude to you… – Carol