A friend

A friend of mine is struggling.

I spend my days focusing on what parents can do, and what friends of parents and professionals and the community can do for parents, but I am less familiar with what friends can do. We can... care. (feels inadequate to the problem) Worry. (how annoying is that - worry without action isn't helpful and can even be taken as insulting) Check in (again, the fear that too much checking in is annoying or seen as lacking boundaries).

More better, I'm thinking:

Witness. (My grandmother really is a Witness, which doesn't qualify me but hey, I'm improvising here. I can witness the struggle and mark it and honor it and not run away.)
Be part of the web (On the web and on the phone and in person if possible be part of the network of people who care and are there and form the strands of safe landing as best one can from a distance)
Be one of us, not one of them (When I struggle, with anything, it is made marginally better to know that people understand and exponentially worse by exposure to those who misunderstand. I know this illness for what it is: a parasite - and patients for what they are: heroic. "WE" live in a no blame, no shame, no guilt eating disorder world. WE also know this is a treatable illness and not a failing or something you just 'live' with helplessly. WE believe in action.)
No platitudes (I can declare a no-cliche zone. I can do the work to come up with fresh things to say and not bat away distress with tired phrases. I can risk saying the wrong thing as I struggle to say true things. Look: I already fell into a cliche. Sigh. I'm working on it.)
Not everyone can be the mom (My friend has a mom and clinical support, and both are the best in the business. Thank goodness for that. But there are other roles. How about aunt, the nice neighbor on the right, older stepsister, fierce friend, cousin once removed, part of a family tree of connections no less real than random genetics provided us. I can try to be one of the people I need around me.)

I'm working on this list. I welcome ideas.

Comments

  1. Trying here too! - although I have to admit that the role I'm playing at the moment is of computer hacker as I've broken into my daughter's computer to do this so I must go and fess up before doing anything else but I wanted to try to support YOU in supporting your friend

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  2. Laura,
    You know the true meaning of being a friend...and how to reach out in the best of ways. Thank you for being you!!

    You, too, Marcella. Now I don't know about your career as a computer hacker, but I'm sure your daughter will understand.

    Hugs to you both.

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  3. I noticed you have "care" but what about encouraging "CARE for the self". Doing things for the love of it just because you can and deserve it. To hell with the ED and the mundane expectation of others.

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  4. I believe we can only be ourselves. This one's hard for me. I know you to be someone so warm you can mother me if you want to! LOL
    If I meddle and parent the children of others it's only as an "honorary parent" not the one who raised them or has that special bond that can't be broken. I try to allow others to help me with mine too even though some have different perspectives. I'm far richer for those who've shared openly. Barb and Hope have been wonderful examples of parents who let others "mother" and "friend" their kids. It only made these parents wiser IMHO.
    I wrote yesterday and ended up feeling like I couldn't quite say what I wanted. I am out of the loop on a forum I have great respect for, (perhaps because I spend so much time sending people there) and I also don't attend the conferences. My claim to fame in the ED world is nada but I do have a great deal of respect for you and others who set better examples.
    I hope we can be more tolerant of some of the medicine we do not understand and less tolerant of medicine that avoids the cure without the nutrients needed to heal the person needing help.
    There's a combination that's needed and it's tolerance that can help more people recover. I'd hand a friend my hand in hopes of them taking it and allowing me the honor of walking with them. It's been hard for me at times because I have an outside interest in body chemistry and how certain foods can harm someone and others are actually better for healing, depending on the situation. Coffee had to be surrendered in my house for someone to be relieved of anxiety. Simple stuff like that can't be enforced but I have a need to share it. It seems like I never do shut up Laura but I speak my truth and I really do listen. LOL Really.
    I can only be the friend I am. I hope we can trust others to be themselves too.

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  5. I like your list and it comes at an good time for me. The father of my daughter's friend died suddenly and I'm coaching my d on how to support her friend. One of the hardest things for people to understand is that you can't always make someone else feel better and you shouldn't try. Sometimes life hurts and there's not getting around it. You just have to sit in the pain with them. It can be lonely if everyone around you tries to make you feel better, when what you really need is to feel the pain so you can move on when it's time.

    Thanks for such a good post!

    Annonymous (Lisa)

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