- What's your history with eating disorders and how are you working with your daughter to spread the word?
- Now, I have developed a website. It's called eatingdisorderhelp.com. Hannah is working on it with me and our goal is to get the word out, so people will be more aware. A lot of people with eating disorders are not aware they have one, like me.
I talk to mothers, trying to help them understand that it has nothing to do with food, and no sooner when I finish that and ask for questions and they'll say, “How can I make sure my daughter doesn't have a an eating disorder?” I explain, “You need to talk to her and find out what's going on, it's not about food.” Mothers will say, “But she doesn't want to eat!” It's not about food, you need to talk to your children and listen to them.
- Did you remember a time where you felt that you hit rock bottom? Something that triggered you into disordered eating?
I remember that we had made a plan that my parents would help us with $20,000 and his parents would help us with $20,000 and we would do $20,000. My Dad could just never remember to get it, and he really wanted to do it. One day I spent an hour and half driving around the city for a bank and we finally got there, and he came out with a $20 bill. I thought, “Oh crap...” It was really hard. He couldn't get it, he couldn't remember, process.
- How were you led to recovery?
When I decided to get well I'd be showing her how to get well, and I'd be helping my other kids. As much as it was great to love her and want to help her, I needed to be committed to draining my brain of all that other junk that was in there. (I needed) to start living an authentic life the way I knew I should be living. I needed to start doing what I felt inside was right thing to do. If the marriage fell apart, it fell apart, but I'd be saving myself and my kids in the long run.
- You have a younger daughter. Do you think it helped to see what you and Hannah have gone through, and to avoid that path?
- What is the mission and goal of your website as well as working with Hannah?
Most people, and I don't mean this insensitively, really don't understand eating disorders. They don't appreciate the disparity of the disorder and how many parts of this persons life it has affected. When you are (dealing with) that many parts and that many people, it's naturally going to take a while to get over. They don't come out and say they want a magic pill, but that's kind of what they want, something that's quick and easy like a cold to get over. My goal is to help them see that's okay not to be perfectly recovered in three months, and it's okay not to be perfect in three months and to help them figure out what needs to change in order to recover.
- When you talk about what “gets you through” a lot of people refer to a higher power, whatever that may be. Is there a higher power for you?
This road doesn't have to be gone down alone. You'll have less success if you go it alone. Part of the issue is that the eating disordered person has become so isolated because they think no body else understands, no body else can feel the pain, and that's just a bunch of rubbish. There are people that care. There are people the do understand, more than they would ever imagine. Whatever it takes to get well is worth getting well, because there is a great life waiting for them to be had.