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If you follow me social media you will not be surprised to find I am reviewing this book “Hope with Eating Disorders”. Regular followers know that I often share content which raises awareness of eating disorders (ED). I’ve spoken out against food restriction, so-called diet teas, fat shaming, sweeping, ignorant statements about childhood obesity and much more. Why do I have this bee in my bonnet? Because it’s personal.
An Eating Disorder and our family
A couple of weeks after my daughter Fizz finished her GCSEs she was diagnosed with a sensory eating disorder called ARFID. She didn’t suddenly lose weight as some eating disorder sufferers do, but she had always been slim. The fact is, she had nothing spare on her and must have been slightly unwell for years. When she lost a little bit of weight through stress, it tipped her over the edge and into a black hole of illness. This black hole is so hard to escape.
Eating Disorder Parent and Carer
In my new life as a carer and advocate for Fizz, I have tried to take on board plenty of useful information to help me. Even though I’ve read snippets online every day, I’ve largely failed at reading books. The subject is so emotional for me. The strain of caring has made me hyper-vigilant, which is a tense state of mind. The result is that my concentration is screwed. I know I ought to read up on ED, which is why I agreed to review this new book “Hope with Eating Disorders” by Lynn Crilly. I made a promise to do this review, and a bit of accountability is a real help to me in my current state of mind.
Who is “Hope with Eating Disorders” for?
Luckily for me, “Hope with Eating Disorders” is a practical book which is laid out in a really useful way for reference. It’s a book I can dip into and refer back to. The book is useful for carers such as the parents, but is also ideal for people who are close to the situation but not involved every day. That might include teachers, extended family, SEN specialists, social workers and clinical staff from other disciplines. There’s also good information for journalists and policy makers. Eating disorders can affect a wide range of health and social aspects of the sufferer’s life. It would be a really good idea if more people knew this stuff!
What’s in the book
“Hope with Eating Disorders” sets out to be a practical encouragement. Crilly manages to clarify a wide range of confusing experiences by giving real life examples. At the same time she regularly stresses that everyone’s experience of ED is different. This is such an important point. I’ve found that I cannot identify with most other people’s stories. It’s a relief to know that I don’t need to frame our family’s experience within the constraints of some kind of “average.”
It is an umbrella book – it gives an overview of issues, treatments and pressures affecting people with eating disorders and their families. There’s broad reference material on the whole subject, with enough detail to satisfy in most areas.
It is a lifestyle book – it explains and unpicks family life with ED, and points to hope for dealing with a life like this. Crilly looks at the whole life experience of the ED sufferer. She points out hazards and opportunities on the road to recovery.
There are a couple of things which I thought deserved more coverage. In particular ARFID is described in only two paragraphs. Knowing the condition as I do now, I have learned it’s not a rare disease, and widely misunderstood. However I cannot fault the book’s coverage and usefulness for anorexia, bulimia and the more similar conditions to those two well-known ones such as orthorexia.
Lynn Crilly, the Author
Crilly rounds off the book with a look at what recovery really means. The gently descriptive way she explains this emotionally charged concept is masterful. For me, what she says just “clicks” immediately. She has a way of writing about both the feelings and the practice of each subject that is never woolly or confusing.
Using “Hope with Eating Disorders”
To read “Hope with Eating Disorders” was always going to be hard for me, as we right in the middle of it all as a family. The personal testimonies and quotes included in the book caused me some tears. As the title promised the book also showed me some new areas for hope. I have learned a lot. I know in particular I’ll use the material about therapies and recovery over the coming months. You can get your copy here through my Amazon affiliate link ad:
If you have any questions about the book, please let me know in the comments.
Additional Photo by Nicholas Bui on Unsplash