To My Hero on Father's Day,
I remember when my struggle with my eating issues first came out, you couldn’t understand it, and I don’t blame you - no one gives you a book when your child is born about what to do if your child is starving themselves. You didn’t understand why treatment was a thing, can’t you just eat? Last year you told me if you win the lottery, you’ll help me open an eating disorder treatment center to help those struggling find freedom like I have found. You also now know all the acronyms and terms in the recovery world, including my personal favorite, HAES (Health at Every Size). Look how far we’ve come.
I remember you wondering why I had an eating disorder and why I was depressed. I had the perfect life. I came from the perfect family. Why was I struggling? Eating disorders didn't happen to people like me, right? We have since had so many wonderfully open and honest conversations about how eating disorders are often a combination of environmental and genetic factors, but they affect anyone and everyone. Look how far we’ve come.
I remember our fights. I remember avoiding coming home from college for holidays because of the strain my eating disorder put on our relationship. I remember how all of our conversations were surface level. You are now my favorite travel partner, my biggest encourager and the first person I go to when I need advice. I love our coffee dates and how we talk about anything and everything. Look how far we’ve come.
I remember you being frustrated that I was struggling again, and going back to treatment, again. Didn’t we already play this game? Will things ever get better? Well, they did. Now you’re able to watch me live the life we both dreamed of – three years recovered, sharing my story and on the path to become a counselor. Look how far we’ve come.
To all of the individuals struggling who think that their dad, or any father figure in their life, doesn’t understand their eating disorder, it’s okay, they may come around and become your biggest supporter like mine did. To all of the dads out there who don’t think that recovery is possible for their child, it is, hold onto hope.
Love you forever my Papsi,
Amy Sullivan is the Program Director for Southern Smash, but more importantly is proudly recovered from an eating disorder. She is currently in grad school to become a counselor. Amy is a dog mom to the worst behaved dog in the world, and an Auntie Amy to the most adorable little girl and baby boy.