You Can’t Save Her From all of the Celery in the World

The day started out fine. I’m getting better about sticking with one subject when I pray, at least long enough to finish the thought! I’m sure it’s less stressful for God to listen to me too!

As I was getting dressed this morning, putting on my jeans and then thinking to myself, “I feel so fat in these!”. I almost said it out loud, but caught myself as my daughter was in the room. But all day long I felt like the whole world must be looking at my butt and wondering how I ever got those pants on! Reality? No one cared! But how funny that I got so wrapped up in my supposed fatness.

We arrived at the hospital for check in. As we got off the elevator, a group of mom’s who had formed a sort of click were chatting. Flashbacks to high school as they failed to acknowledge our hellos. But then I’m overly friendly, needing everyone to feel welcomed and not all the parents desire this. Or perhaps it’s my big butt. (kidding)

There is a lunch meeting today with the therapist in which my daughter, myself and the therapist will have lunch and notice if any issues arise with her eating habits. I should take a moment to mention that anorexia isn’t so much about the food as it is about emotion, which then makes it about the food. The control the patient has over it or the lack of control. So we proceed with the meal, watching her as if we weren’t. I picture us giving her an 8 or a 5 with placards as they do in the Olympics.

All is well until the celery. There they were. Five pieces of the toughest, stringiest celery I’ve seen in a long time. She started eating it with gusto, then slowed to a snails pace as the lack of flavor and texture made her nervous. I’m not sure what she was feeling, but I know I was really fighting the urge to tell her “don’t eat it!” or to grab the celery and peel the strings off. As if I saved her from the celery, all would be right in her world. For what seemed like an eternity, but was really only 15 minutes, she munched away. You see it wasn’t really about the celery, but more about having success at finishing the meal, conquering her fears and nervousness.

After she finished, we chatted about how she felt. Remember there’s all these emotions going on in her head that we aren’t privy to. We talked about my need to rescue her and how she needed to be able to experience life. In other words, she needed to be able to fight with the celery sometimes in life without my interference. Insightful. And a lesson to mom that was unintentional. I can accept this.

She opens up as we talk about her food likes and dislikes. I’ve discovered through something she inadvertently mentioned that she counts calories in her head. No surprise to the therapist, but a bit of a surprise to me. She’s also made the decision to have her sisters attend family session on Friday to talk more about her anorexia. They’ve been supportive, but at times a bit envious and angry. Understandably. Their lives are turned upside down right now as well.

We end the day in DBT group, which stands for Dialectical behavioral therapy. Really? It’s new age way of thinking. Mindfulness, finding the middle ground. I’m not thrilled that this is being taught to my daughter, but admit that I need to take a close look at it myself so I can recognize this. She seems able to transfer this thinking into her Christian beliefs. Instead of just looking inside herself we talk about looking to God, and other thoughts that make sense as we discuss them but don’t seem to as I type them out. But I also wonder what happened to the box that we checked on the forms that asked for religion that we’d like followed, and we clearly checked “Christian”.

I especially have felt the peace of God. We keep moving through this, deeper into emotions that we’ve hid from for awhile. And God is there through all of it. My daughter has strength that amazes me. I want the world to know that people who are anorexic are wonderful and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I want to come through this closer to my daughters.

Well, speaking of closeness, one of my other daughters is needing my attention, something she claims she’s not getting lately! Guilt!

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