Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years

By Cheryl Dellasega | Go to book overview

2
Living with Uncertainty:
The Search for Why

After Ellen was diagnosed with anorexia, she stopped eating completely, and I went into action mode, frantically calling doctors, therapists, and nutritionists. With each beat of my heart a question pulsed through my mind: Why, Why, Why? Day after day, in between trying to coax Ellen to eat, I spent hours either on the telephone or sitting by it, waiting for a call back. I made lists of places to turn to for help and searched the Internet for information. Underneath all this activity, the question "Why?" continued to haunt me. I thought if I could discover a reason for Ellen's illness, I could make her better.

When I wasn't busy, details of our lives would scroll through my mind as I looked for answers. I scrutinized my past, then Ellen's, then mine and hers together. My husband, who has a great mind for details, obligingly recounted "times when" as I dredged through memories.

"Remember the time when her teacher called and said ..." I would ask, trying to see if the event seemed as significant to him as it now did to me.

Bewildered, I asked Ellen why she wouldn't eat, but her only answer was a grimace, as if the food she formerly loved was now her enemy. I turned to other members of my family for their insights,

-24-

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