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WE WATCHED VANJA DISAPPEARING, SKELETON WALKED THE HOUSE: Confession of a father who's family suffered

- If i knew on the start what to do, i would force going to hospital sooner and starting the treatment. It becomes too hard for the entire family - concludes father Marijan

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The definition says that anorexia presents heavy loss in appetite which is caused by problem of emotional nature, but in the textbooks there are no instructions for parents. When child develops the symptoms of anorexia the parents get lost in the desire to help the child. That is why they are the first that need help.


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She would take a third of a banana and she would slice it for an hour to the transparent slices and then she would eat it for the next half an hour. That was her meal. Imagine that you have to watch your child do that every day - speaks the father of the girl who fought and is still fighting anorexia, the serious diet disorder.


Their story be started little before her 15th birthday. Parents needed some time to understand that something strange is going on.,


We noticed that she is eating very little, she is getting thinner, she lost her period... Then we tried to talk. Countless times. With no success. She negated it. She was very nervous, the atmosphere in the house was tense. She hid and threw out food, she tossed plates, slammed the door, threatened with suicide, insulted us... I say good morning and she has the feat of rage. 


The whole family was suffering. We are all a bit nervous when we are hungry, just imagine how nervous is the one who hasn't been eating for days. The nervousness is gathered within those persons, it destroys everything around you. And with that kind of person there is no meaningful conversation - said father Mirjam with a deep voice, still slowly and with difficulty. Because that subject, even today when his daughter is better, is not easy.


My daughter functions normally today and she finishes her school obligations. Luckily, the organism got through the period of restrictive diet without any damage. But still that relationship towards food is specific. She takes only specific groceries in a very controlled way. She makes her own meals and eats when and what she wants. We do not participate in her died. We separated ourselves from the food eating disorder. To avoid manipulations, excuses, lying, insulting... Daughter Vanja still doesn't like to talk about it even today. She used to do sports and when she stopped, numerous diet problems started. Her expectations were great, and the result a bit weaker, and then the discontent started. And that led to the withdrawal from society, isolation, depression, and resulted in a strict restriction in the diet.


When parents understood that something serious is happening with the health of their daughter, they did not know to who to turn to, where to go, ask friends for advice... They knew they had a great problem, but they did not know where to go.


Foto: Profimedia/Alamy

Foto: Profimedia/Alamy


When she was hospitalized for chronic malnutrition, they advised the parents in the hospital to move away from the eating disorder and not bring the food home to her. Even though it was hard for them, they listened to the doctors. However, after they went out of the hospital, she soon returned to the old regime. So the parents returned her to the hospital.


Namely, Vanja had to take the responsibility for her diet and her own life.


Now after all we know it was actually bad to start the conversations about food and the reasons she did not want to eat. It was a trap we fell in because we did not known, but with best intentions: to help the child. The worst feeling was that helplessness. Everyday we watched our child disappearing. Skeleton walked around the house, covered with skin. I could not function normally on work. I wanted to help her, but i did not know how. 


After Vanja's arrival from the hospital, we went to psychotherapeutic support for parents. A few months later she admitted that she has a problem, she decided to fight and began therapy.


Today i know that is a conflict which is happening within her self and no one can take the responsibility for her died disorder. I learned that it is a responsibility of the sick. In the parents support group i heard that some parents couldn't find enough strength to separate themselves hard enough from the disorder, so they became prisoners of the disease. That gave me even more strength because i did not want a life like that to myself.


Foto: Profimedia/Caters News

Foto: Profimedia/Caters News


- If i knew on the start what to do, i would force going to hospital sooner and starting the treatment. It becomes too hard for the entire family. Wife and I got into a fight a hundred times. She was more protective, wanted to talk, hoped that we will handle it ourselves, and i insisted on getting help. There was tension in the air. But some boundaries should be places - concludes father Marijan.


Jelena Balabanic Mavrovic from the Center for eating disorders said that it is lucky the daughter agreed on the treatment. If she hadn't, parents would have to react on some other way, because this girl was underage and seriously undernourished.


- When a child develops any signs of anorexia, the parents often get lost in their desire to help children. Some parents deny the disorder as their way to easily face the problem, they commit themselves to work or are absent from the house even more. Some even brake under the weight of health dangers related to anorexia, they are completely exhausted and desperate, forgetting that they need help as well to stay stable and calm, to be the best support to the child. Through the long term fight with the food eating disorder, the partner relationships between parents often crack, mother and father are getting more distance between them, the family crisis often occur - explains Blabanic Mavrovic.


(Telegraf.co.uk / jutarnji.hr)

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