A Letter From Minna's Mother Anorexia Teperance, Michigan

My own daughter has struggled with Anorexia Nervosa since she was thirteen, three years ago. She and I have sought help from various sources. Now, I hope we are on a path of healing. EDEN club was very helpful. The acronym stands for Eating Disorder and Exercise Network. It is a nonprofit organization which provides early intervention programs, now. It is fantastic what they are doing.

Here in Temperance, as Minna's mother, I am healing and growing through my own warped consciousness of my identity as a woman. I have learned that my thoughts were similar to the anorexic's, but I was able to adapt more easily through my adolescent year and keep those fears at bay, though I'm sure that I have paid dearly for the suppression of this and other emotions. The inability to accept and love myself is the underlying sickness that I am still healing from.

Thank you for your invitation to me and others to speak about our experience. Minna's fears have impacted not only myself, but also her family and all our friends. It has alienated and isolated us, at times, because food and fellowship are tied together. Mealtimes are tense and the joy of sharing the "fatted lamb" and providing sustenance for my family, has become a disappointment to me. The sweetness of fun and pleasure has been shunned in lieu of homage to the God of Perfection and self-denial. My little girl has evolved into a "doing machine" whose primary function is to pay for the gift of life.

Oh, how I wish we could go back to the innocent days of childhood. She ate, she played, she trusted her body and she did not fear others. What has happened to spoil my daughter's view of life and ruin the promised joys of family life? I have been living the stages of grief. Strange, I cannot tell you which stage I'm in. It seems that the passage is not linear, but cyclic. I fear that I will never heal one stage or another. As she regresses, so do I. On an up-cycle, we all hope, then it happens again. We plunge back into denial, anger, depression, immobility.

How do we keep going? Minna and I are getting help. She meets with a psychologist twice a week and takes medication for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Luvox, a newer SSRI drug which helps with the movement of seratonin in the brain. We both journal and release the ugly emotions daily in our bedroom before or after work and school. I consult a counselor in North Carolina by phone, once a month. She has recovered from Anorexia Nervosa and helps many with her therapy techniques. She has helped me see the truths that have lived in me, unnoticed for over thirty years, through dream interpretation and sharing together.

Minna's weight and mood is going up these days. I am hopeful that she can see that she can create a beautiful life for herself through self-acceptance and a deeper appreciation of her precious spirit. I thought she was going to die from a heart attack or suicide. Now I'm beginning to believe she is going to pull out of this and live.

Minna's Story