Finding a Way Around Problems:
The Magic of Music,
Communication, and Hugs
I knew a lot about eating disorders and depression, even before I had Ellen. Several of my close friends had suffered from varying degrees of anorexia or bulimia, as had my youngest sister. Even I had a time during my first marriage when severe stomach ulcers affected my appetite. After I was treated and it no longer hurt to eat, I continued to consciously restrict my intake and was thrilled when I lost weight. Although I don't think depression was the cause of my eating problems, I later struggled with that problem as well, as did many people I knew.
Having experienced all this, I was determined that my daughter would feel so good about herself she would never be tempted to starve or binge and purge. Both my husband and I made a point of focusing more on Ellen's personality than appearance; her wardrobe was interchangeable with her brothers' (with the exception of a brief spell when she wore dresses every day), and her haircuts were always practical. At the same time, we worked to build up her self‐ esteem, as we did with both Matt and Joe.
Still, I feel there must have been something I missed.