Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2019 – How do parents, carers and friends cope?

Eating disorders

I was gifted a book on eating disorders to review.

At 15 I was in the full swing of anorexia, I would survive the day eating one apple or sliced cucumber and water…sometimes a calypso drink if I was feeling dizzy. I would take mass amounts of vitamin tablets but none containing oil.

Mum being worried took me to the doctors who quickly referred me to a psychiatrist. 

I was then referred to an eating disorder specialist. I hated our appointments, the doctor just wanted to make me fat! I would lie and say I was eating. I didn’t like being weighed

At 17 I was very ill, my moods were erratic. I had already taken 4 overdoses and was self harming. I hated myself and my mind. I would drink alcohol to numb the thoughts but this would make me worse.

By the time I was 18 I was alcohol dependant. The alcohol made me feel better, it helped with my food obsession and I didn’t feel hungry when I was drinking. 

I felt awful. I would rather be dead than be fat – Welsh Mummy Blogs 

An eating disorder is a severe mental illness. It can happen to anyone at any age and any point in their life. An eating disorder is usually accompanied by OCD tendencies and/or another mental illness such as depression and anxiety.

Finding help and support in Wales is difficult.  My eating disorder started in my early teens, I wrote about my struggles last year for eating disorder awareness week 2018. My original post can be found HERE 

This year, for eating disorders awareness week,  I am focusing on how an eating disorder can affect parents, carers and friends.

To the sufferer it is draining, obsessive and it completely takes over ones life. The sufferer may feel alone and misunderstood but so do those around them.

There is no easy way to say this. I sent my mother crazy when I was ill. I hid my food obsession away for a good while but when I started to experience mood swings and anger issues my mum knew it was food related.  I went from a young women who loved to eat everything to someone who made excuses to get out of eating.

My mum made an appointment with the doctor who said waiting lists were long. The doctor also said I had to be below a certain weight before they would refer me to eating disorder support. Luckily I was refereed straight away but I must stress that this was not the case for others who were deemed a healthy weight.

The appointments were at an adult psychiatric unit in Cardiff. I hated going. At the time there were no support groups or parent support groups, we were literally on our own.

At home I made my families life a nightmare, I would get angry at my sisters because they could eat “normal” food. I would fall out with friends and I would argue with my mum. Our arguments were insane.

My mum would get upset, she worried I would go to bed one night and never wake up. She worried that my recklessness would get me in trouble and she worried that I might collapse somewhere and she would never know.

As a divorced parent, my mum had a lot on her plate. My illness was a worry but she had to look after my two younger sisters. My younger sisters saw a lot and had to put up with a lot from me as they were growing up.

I was so deprived of nutrients that I couldn’t think straight and I would take it out on those closet to me. Its something I deeply regret now but I was young and very unwell, I didn’t know any better.

What we needed as a family was support. My family had never dealt with an eating disorder so they didn’t have a clue on how to approach it. My mum would look for support groups but nothing was available.

Mental illness was not a subject people spoke openly about back then.

I had a lot of time off school and trying to explain things to the school was again something my mum felt uncomfortable doing. However, I do remember opening up to my head teacher and I think she informed the rest of the school staff of my illness.

I was recently asked if I would like to review a book about eating disorders. As someone who has lived with an eating disorder for the most part of my life, I just couldn’t say no.

Hope with Eating Disorders – A self help guide for parents, carers and friends of sufferers.

Eating disorders

The book sounded fantastic! Where was this book when my mum needed it!!

The book is very informative. My mother and I took it in turns to read. What I loved most about the book was the way in which eating disorders are explained and how we get a chance to read ‘real life’ testimonials from loved ones and friends of the sufferers.

Author Lynn Crilly takes the reader on a journey into the world of mental illness. Starting with what an eating disorder is, the different types of disorder, how to recognise a disorder and how to seek treatment.

As I read on I found chapters on therapies, eating disorders and well being, eating disorders in education and in the workplace. The book also covers disorders in relationships and at home, eating disorders in exercise and sport and in the media.

I found the extract on Drunkorexia and substance misuse very helpful.

The book ends on recovery, something which is possible. Recovery is difficult and even to this day (15+ years later) my relationship with food is not the best but I am able to spot the signs of a relapse early and seek help.

Life after eating disorders
Recovery is possible

To purchase the book please visit –

About the Author – Lynn Crilly

Lynn Crilly became a counsellor when one of her beautiful daughters fell into the evil trap of Anorexia Nervosa and OCD, at the age of 13. Lynn explored every avenue and source of help, but they were not right for her daughter or them as a family.

Watching her daughter disappear before her eyes, and the huge impact it was having on the rest of her family, especially her twin sister, Lynn felt she had no option but to educate herself and learn as much as she could about eating disorders and mental illness. Some years on, a lot of hard work, determination and many tears shed, and with the unconditional support from close family, friends, our GP and their school, their beautiful girl is now recovered, enjoying life to the full and Lynn’s family are stronger than ever together.

With her new found knowledge, personal experience and most of all her passion and love; Lynn has been able to use her gift to help others.

Lynn Crilly lives in Surrey with her husband and their twin daughters. Through using her unique and very effective form of counselling she has now established herself as one of the country’s leading private therapists, working with people from all walks of life, ages and genders. She is admired for her passion and understanding – something she attributes to the strength and loyalty of her family and friends, with whom she spends as much time as possible.

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