We are joined by Haley Hatch Freeman, author of the new book “A Future for Tomorrow.” Yesterday we began our conversation with Haley and she told us of her struggles with anorexia as a teenager which she documents in her book. We continue our chat today.
Haley, thank you for being here with us today. One section of “A Future for Tomorrow” deals with a period of time during your recovery when you had to deal with dark influences. How did you come to peace with that in such a way that you were able to share it with others without causing more trauma to yourself and those around you?
This particular incident was without a doubt the hardest for me to write about and edit. It was something I did with great prayer and guidance. I feel it was suppose to be apart of my book and the Lord guided me through representing what truly did occur in a respectful manner in my book. I never felt writing about it would bring trauma to me or others around me, which it didn’t.
What is the best advice you could give to those who struggle with eating disorders and self esteem issues on a whole? How can they overcome them or avoid them altogether?
I could write an entire book answering this question alone. In short, the main thing I would like a person who is suffering with an eating disorder to know is they CAN NOT get over it alone. They DO need to get professional help. 20% of people with eating disorders and 25% of people with anorexia nervosa die without treatment. That number goes down to 2-3% with treatment. The key to recovery is to get help, be honest with your counselor and with yourself with the issues that caused the eating disorder and the eating part will take care of itself. Find a passion and use your energy to focus on that instead of the disorder.
Self-esteem is a difficult one too, if it is low enough that there are destructive behaviors, again treatment is necessary. This is one of my favorite quotes, “”All of you need to drink in deeply the gospel truths about the eternal nature of your individual identity and the uniqueness of your personality. You need, more and more, to feel the perfect love which our Father in Heaven has for you and to sense the value he places upon you as an individual. Ponder upon these great truths, especially in those moments when (in the stillness of such anxiety as you may experience as an individual) you might otherwise wonder and be perplexed” President Spencer W. Kimball
I would like to share with those mentioned the letter in the back of my book titled “To Those Who Are Suffering.”
Prevention again encompasses so much. Causes of eating disorders can span from their parents raising style, to life situations such as abuse, to being overly influenced by media and much more. (Usually a person with a serious disorder has multiple triggers, maybe all of the above and more.)
A powerful prevention tool is awareness and education, something I hope my book can provide more of.
A large responsibility does fall on parents. A child with a mother who diets or who has an eating disorder is twelve times more likely to have one too.
A parent should NEVER put themselves down in front of their child. They not only model this behavior but it lead the child to believe, “If Mom, who is perfect in my eyes, thinks she is fat and ugly then how much worse am I?”
I confess that’s something I struggle with, Haley. Thank you for helping me realize how that could negatively influence my children.
Thank you also for being with us today and yesterday. I’m sure your story will touch the hearts of many and bring hope and comfort to those who might have felt all alone in their struggle.
You can learn more about Haley and her book by clicking here.
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