The light at the end of the tunnel…

My youngest daughter, Bec (age 19), has been suffering from anorexia for close to 3 years now. She has had her severe lows; hospitalisation in Nov 2009 after losing an excessive amount of weight in a very short space of time, being sent home from interstate after becoming so ill that she was at risk of organ failure in her first year of  University in 2010 (following her life dream) , spiralling downhill a number of times in 2011 after extreme emotional trauma, and now being stuck, so entrenched in the ED (eating disorder) that she sees no way out – no light at the end of the tunnel.  Her weight has been up and down like a rollercoaster, but in that time, she has not been close to a “healthy weight”.  The Ed has robbed her of her dream (she is a very talented dancer), her freedom, her happiness, her self-worth, her self-respect and threatens to destroy her life. She cannot see her true beauty (inside & out), her true giftings, her true value, her true self… because the ED has convinced her that she is ugly, worthless, useless, fat…

She was always so active, involved in numerous sports at State & National level, highly intelligent gaining a “General Excellence Scholarship” (Academic, Sport & Arts) at a private girls school for her senior years, gifted in leadership holding a position her last year of Primary school & two positions (Worshp Captain & Dance Captain) in her final Year 12. She is beautiful inside and out, loving, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and sensitive.

Just this weekend, a school friend jokingly posted on Facebook posted: “I am just not cut out for the anorexic lifestyle.” , to which another young woman & teacher in her 20’s replied “You are too gorgeous, intelligent and sensible for that nonsense.”

It saddened me to read this, the view of those who lack understanding & compassion, but my daughter’s reply made me so proud. In all her struggles and hurt from cruel comments, abuse and verbal attacks from strangers, “friends” & some family, she was able to reply with this:

“It’s a shame people don’t understand that anorexia isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a serious illness. I have suffered from it for close to three years now.”

I know that many of my generation and older have no understanding of the disease and think it’s simple to fix. There is a belief that  the person can “just get over it” or “just eat some food” and they will be well. Contrary to that beilief, Eating disorders are serious and fatal diseases, like cancer, diabetes and many others – there is no “quick fix”.  Anorexia is a mental illness (just like depression); it is the most fatal of all mental illnesses, the hardest to treat, and the more starved the brain becomes, the more entrenched the disease becomes and the longer it lasts. What sufferers and families need is for society to listen to the advocates & educators in the ED area; to gain knowledge, understanding and in doing so to gain compassion.

My daughter posted on her blog last night: “In terms of myself, I am trapped in a state of limbo; mentally in a place that continues to destroy me both inside and out. I feel powerless when it comes to the notion of regaining life and freedom, happiness and contentment. It is a dark alley way and although there is a light at the end of the journey, it appears so dim.

As a parent, it’s heartbreaking to watch my daughter waste away before my eyes, to see her intense fear of food – the one thing that once provided, energy,  health, strength and nourishment to her body & brain is now a subject of fear.  I never envisaged this life. In all the years she and her brothers suffered chronic asthma as children, and were hospitalised countless times fighting to breathe. I never imagined that I would find myself again, fighting alongside her, willing her to choose life, encouraging her to beat an insidious disease that threatens her life.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I find myself again, on my knees, as I have been so many times, as I was when she was younger, pleading with God to heal her, touch her, restore her – to bring back my beautiful daughter, to return the sister her siblings love. It is only God who can give her the strength & courage to fight, to conquer, to triumph over this. My responsibility is to love, support, encourage, guide and pray. And that I will do until she sees the light at the end of this tunnel grow brighter and brighter, and walks out into the light and freedom of life.

Pray with me, if you will. My daughter needs a miracle and the scriptures tell us:

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

Still counting gifts I am grateful for:

77. New challenges in my photography

78. The increasing ability to see beauty in even the simplest things

79. Creativity I never knew I had

80. Books to broaden my knowledge

81. Weekends

82. My new computer

83. Doctors with the gift to diagnose & heal

84. My daughter’s cooking

85. Summer salads

86. Tomato plants, once thought dead, brought back to life by rain



9 thoughts on “The light at the end of the tunnel…

  1. Liz,

    I am crying. I am so heavy for these children fighting battles. One being my own.

    I just wrote Bec’s name down on a piece of paper to remind me to transfer it to my prayer journal. There, I will see it often and be reminded to intercede for this precious girl. I am agreeing with you for her freedom.

    From one heavy hearted, but victory-seeking, mother to another,

      • God is continually bringing you and Bec to the front of my mind. So, I am diligently interceding on your behalf — even in the night hours. Even though our children face different battles, I can relate to the weariness and lonliness of being a bystander. As much as we want to jump into the battle and defeat the enemy for them, the victory would then be OURS. When they are able to finish this race and receive the trophy, the victory will be theirs. We have to put our trust in the One who will lead them to triumph and pray they’ll follow Him closely. Our prayers are very effective.

  2. Thank you so much for this – for your beautiful words and your love for your beautiful daughter. I am praying with you. She is so very precious – and I hope she sees it soon. xx

  3. How I wish I could hug you. The journey is so long and hard and truly at times the burden is far too heavy for us too carry. I praise God that He has in His wisdom and wider knowledge brought us all together to share the burden. Our daughters are carried by His grace and protected by His great love. He will bring them through and us too. xxx

    • Thank you Kim. I thanks God that we have found one another, even if through a journey like this one. My prayer is for our girls to find freedom one day and, in the meantime, if we can be a support to one another then we are blessed.
      And you can give me that hug when we finally meet for a coffee. God bless you and you are always in my prayers. xxoo

  4. Wow, I can’t even imagine having to stand at your child’s side cheering them on to choose life. My youngest burnt his finger this morning and he screamed in pain, literally screaming. I am sure our neighbors thought, “what in the world is happening over there.” All I could do was hold him and the whole time I was holding him I thought “how do moms do it that have to fight this battle of pain with their children on a regular basis due to cancer, sickness………….” I have no idea but my brief and trivial encounter with my son was painful for me mostly because I couldn’t do anything about it. All I could do was hold him while he screamed. Keep holding her in your prayers, in your arms, in your words… blessings, strength and discernment on your journey. I will pray for your daughter. Keep counting those blessings and focusing on his Truth (as you shared above) so the enemy will stay at bay.
    On another note, I LOVE your photography!!!!

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