► “The essential role of siblings”
Genevieve, 70, mother of Anne, 36
“At 16, my daughter always found excuses to avoid meals. She overloaded her school bag to lose more calories and hid her weight loss with loose clothes. She was in denial until her hospitalization. The last of five siblings, deeply affected by the death of their father a few years earlier, Anne was probably trying to protect us. Her siblings played a vital role in the healing. They supported her a lot by talking to her, taking her out to distract her.
→ MAINTENANCE. Eating disorders: “You must avoid forcing your child to eat”
Supporting a sick teenager requires constant attention. Even if I sometimes came into his game, by serving salad without seasoning for example, I held on to certain principles such as eating as a family, respecting meal times. Anne took many years to recover, with relapses. When she was 25, she met her partner and, having become a mother, she found a certain balance. “
► “Hold on thanks to support groups”
Aline, 46 years old, mother of Margaux, 20 years old
“My daughter’s anorexia appeared when we went to live abroad for six months in 2015. We didn’t know how to react. She herself did not see herself thin. Back in France, she was able to be taken care of on an outpatient basis. Parents’ support groups have enabled us to hold on. Hearing the experiences of others, sometimes worse, made it possible to put things into perspective. And those whose situation was improving gave us hope.
→ ANALYSIS. Anorexia, bulimia: the signals that should alert
The family circle cannot measure the violence that this represents. To understand, you have to have set foot in a care unit. My mother was unaware of the seriousness of the disease. Despite the dietician’s instructions, she did not measure the quantities of food when the slightest deficiency could send Margaux to the hospital. Today, my daughter is well but she is fragile and the repeated confinements and the uncertainty about the future are weighing on her morale. “
► “A united couple”
Damien, 49 years old, father of 4 children including Claire, 19 years old
“Born very premature, when she entered sixth grade, Claire developed major anxieties around the separation which turned five years ago, after moving, into anorexia. We only knew this disease by name, but looking back, I think my older sister, who has been very thin and has never been treated, was anorexic. Claire is a brilliant child who has always wanted to control everything: her friends, her studies, her body.
→ TO SEE. “The skin on the bones”, on M6: in the spiral of anorexia
It was terrible to see her destroy herself and be helpless. The whole family toasts: our second daughter blames us for not having been there for her. Fortunately, our couple remained united in the ordeal. Our faith and some friends have also been of great help. The great luck of Claire, now a student in Paris, is to have integrated a home of Catholic students: she is very surrounded, friendly and spiritually. “