There are indicators and signs all too often overlooked when one is living with someone who is becoming ill or struggling with health issues such as an eating disorder. We get good at justifying the changes in behaviour, the withdrawal, the subtle changes in appearance – the loss of life in the eyes or the “vacant’ presence of a loved one.
However it is not only the immediate family who may not positively recognise or determine that there IS a problem. Many families describe the lack of public awareness and at times, the almost dismissal-like reaction to any concerns the family try to raise with friends and community.
“She doesn’t LOOK anorexia.”
“He’s just having a growth spurt – he’s all legs”
“She just needs a good steak.”
“It’s just a stage.”
“Teenagers… it’s just a phase.”
“Boys don’t get anorexia.”
We need to listen to our instincts and to reflect on what is in front of us and how we respond to it. What is someone trying to tell us? What changes are we seeing in our child and should we be concerned? What action do we need to take? When is the right time to intervene when we see our friend’s child changing in behaviour or appearance negatively?
Tough questions and indeed sometime we wish wish we hadn’t seen, didn’t know what deep down we recognise as a problem. Nevertheless it takes a village to raise a child they say – so how many does it take to keep a child well? We can all contribute to that recovery process we just need to recognise what we are seeing unfolding in front of us and not let it go by silently.