Ever since the child psychologist confirmed that my 14-year-old daughter was suffering from bulimia nervosa, my emotions had been a mess. I felt angry at myself for not paying attention to the signs soon. I pitied my child for developing an eating disorder—an experience that might stay etched in her mind forever.
When I had a heart-to-heart conversation with my daughter after the diagnosis, she crumbled in front of me. She said, “Mom, the kids at school have been bullying me for years, calling me Juggernaut or Miss Piggy. I feel ashamed for eating a lot every mealtime, so I end up forcing myself to bring the foods back out.”
Despite the twisted reasoning that I just heard, I could not get angry at my child. She’s going through something that even adults could not handle level-headedly. How could anyone expect her to know what to do from the start?
Still, after that conversation, I encouraged my daughter to seek help. I allowed her to choose her therapist and what type of therapy she would do to ensure that she wasn’t doing it to appease me. The first sessions went great; they took place once a week a few blocks away from home. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my daughter had to get therapy online. The child psychologist then tasked me to monitor her behavior closely and text her about it almost daily to see her progress.
I am not saying it because I love my child, but I have not seen any worrying activity from her. It’s as if the quarantine is very suitable for my daughter’s healing process.
These are the upsides that I have noticed:
Lack Of Social Pressure Makes A Child Worry-Free
My child is visibly more relaxed now than ever. She stays in her pajamas all day long and jokes around with us. It seems natural for her not to talk about being fat or give any body-related comment.
I believe that this change is all thanks to the lack of social pressure that my daughter experiences now. When she attends a class via the school’s online portal, I would see that everyone else—even the teacher—is not dressed to impress. I also saw one student snoring on top of his books, thus proving that no one cared about their appearance for once. So, my kid does not feel any pressure to follow the social norms or entertain distorted thoughts about body image.
Hard Work Lessens Food Consumption
When the lockdown started, I informed the entire family that we would not be ordering food from restaurants for a while. The reason was that I wanted to lessen our social interaction with other people and reduce the chances of getting the coronavirus. They could tell me what they wanted to eat so that I could order the groceries online and have the salesperson drop them in my trunk. However, we would have to make the dish together.
Eating too much and then vomiting it later was perhaps easy-peasy for my 14-year-old kid before the lockdown. However, since my daughter’s expected to chop the vegetables or man the stovetop these days, she appears to eat until she’s full. Hence, there are no more long, suspicious bathroom trips after mealtimes.
I don’t have any idea how much longer this quarantine will last. It can happen next week or in the next two months. What I can only pray for, though, is that my daughter will continue to let go of her bulimic habits until she does not feel the need to do it anymore. If that happens, I will be the happiest and most fulfilled mother on the planet.