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Parent Helpline: Option 1

Sufferer Helpline: Option 2

Self-Harm Helpline: Option 3

Teenager: Real Life Account

"I knew something was wrong, I had a permanently sick feeling in my stomach which started the moment I woke up in the morning and stayed until the small hours of the morning. My husband didn’t seem concerned and my mother just thought my daughter was going through a teenage phase and was worrying about her shape and what she ate like all her friends were. She made her own breakfast like many 15 year olds do, but I rarely saw her eat it, then she took a packed lunch which I made up the night before and which she always took something out like the crisps or chocolate.

I realised I didn’t know really how much she was eating. It obviously wasn’t enough; she had lost weight, she looked so thin and pale in her baggy jumper. Our evening meals were the worst, a nightmare really. She watched over my every move when I was cooking, complaining or telling me what to do, what not to put in. Usually she said she wasn’t eating it and when we managed to persuade her to sit at the table she got angry, well hysterical really. My other children were really frightened. Her behaviour was terrible most of the time, I’d never seen her like it before and trying to explain it to people was so difficult because you could see they were thinking I was exaggerating. Even my GP  was unsympathetic and said he couldn’t do anything unless she wanted to see him which she flatly refused.

We noticed some scratches and cuts on her arm and it was a huge shock to realise that she was harming herself. It also upset me to find the sandwiches I had packed for her lunch hidden in her waste bin in her room. I have never cried so much in all my life. The daughter I love, hurting and hitting out at us all and me feeling useless and powerless to help her.

I don’t know what I would have done without God. I began to be really vigilant and to read as much as I could about eating disorders. It upset me to realise that she was obviously doing so many of the things listed like going to the bathroom straight after tea, but it was comforting to know that this was a definite illness and that I was not alone.

Talking to EDA, to people who have been through this themselves, who just listened to me and answered all my questions helped me to manage things at home differently and was an answer to prayer. It was so important for me to look at ways together that I could approach my daughter and the GP. There were also times when I felt so exhausted and that no one knew what was going on or how I was feeling that the only one who knew and could do anything about it was Jesus and I decided to hold on to Him and to "bring" my daughter before Him, just like the friends of the paralytic had done in Matthew 9. We believed in God’s healing and have seen it, gradually evolving. Without God loving and supporting our daughter through the outpatient unit and family therapy and counselling would have been an impossible task. Without Him impacting on her life and choices, well I don’t know if she’d be as well recovered as she is now. It’s been hard for her and for us all, but she can see herself as someone with a future again, someone who matters." - Paula

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