The Strength of the Human Spirit

Shawn - Hancock, Michigan
Entered on December 28, 2008

I believe in the strength of the human spirit. Faith in the human spirit has carried me through, when there is nothing else to believe in. I have found that the most devastating experiences can teach you the most important lessons about yourself and life.

My oldest daughter was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12. She has battled this mental illness for 6 years. Most of her adolescence has been spent confined in a treatment centers to help her regain mental and physical health. This illness has stolen her childhood, adolescence and possibly her future. It has brought her to death’s door many times. This illness has led our family through an experience that has tested the limits of our compassion, tolerance and understanding.

The strength of human spirit has kept my child alive. As parents, it allowed us to make tough decisions that meant putting our child in numerous treatment centers far away from home. Many times against her will. It has allowed us to withstand numerous phone calls from her, while she was in treatment centers, accusing us of destroying her life. This is the mental illness talking, not my daughter.

Through this experience, I have developed compassion for people dealing with incredible hardships. Anorexia is a severe mental illness with one of the highest mortality rates for its victims. This cruel mental illness took my daughter’s identity. Her reality is distorted making it hard to function in daily life, take care of herself and maintain relationships.

I believe in the strength of the human spirit and the will to live. For 6 years my daughter has persevered through this ordeal like a warrior. I think that there is a small voice in her head that wills to her to live when the mental illness has taken over her reality. Every meal is a battle that she must overcome. The mental illness tells her that she is not worthy of eating and she is disgusting. Her spirit allows her to eat as a war is raging in her head. Her spirit allows her to tolerate the indignity of treatment and the loss of her freedom.

Faith in the human spirit reminds me that my daughter will someday be able to enjoy life free from the constant abuse of the eating disorder. She will love and care for herself. She will give love to others and accept love from others. She will realize her dreams.

Faith in the human spirit will keep our family strong on this long road, as we help my daughter regain her health and recover from anorexia. Someday, she will be returned to us from the grips of this mental illness.