Effects on the Family
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Effects on the Family

Excerpts from my currently unpublished book,
The Butterfly

My brother's Journal

My only sibling, Billy, died in a tragic car accident while I was on my honeymoon in July, 1993. I loved him dearly and never suspected he had such hard feelings about me and my eating disorder. I found this essay in his Health class journal shortly after he died. It brought me to tears to know how severely my eating disorder hurt him. I always thought I was just hurting myself. I was wrong!

"I've written on many health articles this year which relate to my family's problems, but none hit home harder than this one. My sister became a bulimic at the age of twelve. She later became an anorexic, which led her to be a diet pill and laxative abuser. It might not have been so bad if we didn't have to share a bathroom. It was like living in hell.

I had to attend meetings with her and my parents to try and work out our problems. Our problems? She was the one with the problem, not me. It took her eleven years and fifty-thousand dollars worth of therapy bills to finally get her problem under control. She's getting married in July, and I love her now, but I will never forget what she put me through."
Dated April 16, 1993.

I shudder to hear this and feel quite embarassed about what he says, but it is truth. It can be hell to live with (some) anorexics and bulimics. You (may) never know what the right thing to say is, and whatever you do say (may) seem to be misinterpreted. My father always used to say he was "walking on eggshells" with me. The sufferer is often (not always) irritable, withdrawn, and not easy to live with. On the other hand, we do not want or intend to come across that way. It is a known but unfortunate consequence of a starving brain. However, instead of reacting in anger, you might want to tell your daughter (sister, friend, spouse) what she is doing to upset you and kindly ask her to consider your feelings as you consider hers. Many times, she won't realize that she is acting hurtful or cranky. Your anger only makes her feel more resentful and determined to fight you.

I hope that those suffering from eating disorders and their family members who read this page will learn to have more compassion towards each other. No one wants to get hurt and perhaps your family can pull together in an effort to combat the illness instead of falling apart.

I recieved some criticism for saying that, "eating disorders can be selfish." Although my ego got bruised, (oh, we are such sensitive folk!:)) I took it to heart and reworded this page so that no one would feel like I am implying that they personally are selfish. I never intended to place the blame on the individual. The last thing I want is for someone who's surfing away to feel guilty! No, no, no... So, I hope that by saying the crankiness is a symptom of starvation, not a character defect, my fellow readers will not take offense. I encourage all of you to write me anytime you feel something I write might be taken out of contect or just is plain inaccurate! Thanks for your input and support! I mean it!!!

hugs and kisses, Susie :)


Email: sthurm5567@aol.com