About a month ago, I was contacted by Lynn Crilly and her daughter Charlotte regarding whether I would be interested in reviewing Lynn’s new book ‘Hope with Eating Disorders’. Initially I was a little unsure as to how much of a helpful and insightful review I would be able to deliver, having never suffered from an eating disorder myself. However, I am very interested in the topic of eating disorders and the issues and stigma surrounding them, so I agreed to read and review the book.
Author Lynn Crilly is an eating disorder counsellor with first-hand experience of caring for her daughter through her anorexia. Her intention of the book is to show readers that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for sufferers. She optimistically advises parents, relatives and friends who feel helpless when dealing with a sufferer, as there is no ‘quick fix’ or immediate help. Lynn also deals with the common misconceptions surrounding eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, binge eating and over eating) and gives readers a better understanding of what to look out for and how to go about approaching the topic with loved ones should you begin to notice certain ‘symptoms’. Despite having never suffered from an eating disorder, it is very interesting to read about how they can be triggered and how it is mainly a mental illness rather than what we typically assume to be a physical one.
Within minutes of the book arriving on my doorstep, I was hooked. You might find this very strange, as of course the book is all about self-help rather than fiction, however Lynn writes so wonderfully that it is so easy to engage with the book, regardless of the background knowledge you are bringing to the table. It contains several case studies and quotes from those who have previously suffered from an eating disorder or knew someone that had. Lynn’s book is aimed at those who are looking for some reassurance in how to deal with eating disorders and to try and understand the mind frame of the sufferer rather than to assume or stigmatise.
Some of the quotes are really interesting, and one in particular really got to me for some reason. Richard, the partner of a severe bulimic stated that the hardest thing about ‘being the boyfriend of someone with an eating disorder is that it’s not your secret to tell. I ended up cancelling so many family get togethers and nights out with friends, because she would have an emotional flare up. In the end I stopped accepting invitations. Of course, they didn’t know what was going on and assumed she was the girlfriend from hell, who was deliberately keeping me away from them’. I think this just highlighted for me how hard it must be to keep something from your loved ones and hope that they understand in the long term.
Despite having never suffered from an eating disorder, the book itself is really insightful with regards to understanding the mind frame of a sufferer and how the common stories associated with disorders like anorexia are not always the same for everyone. We quite regularly read stories in magazines with headlines such as ‘I weighed as much as 7-year-old’ so we very rarely are shocked or question the mental state of the person. The stories seem to follow the same format – a shockingly thin photograph with the sufferer at their ‘lowest point’, a ‘trigger’ in their lives which seem to have started their eating disorder and a photo of them looking relatively healthy ‘now’. Lynn’s book doesn’t focus on weight, lowest points or triggers – instead she tries to help sufferers and carers look to the future and be more positive in the way they think and deal with the problems that arise.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Hope with Eating Disorders’, which may sound a little strange but I have a real interest in the topic and it is refreshing to hear a non-biased account which aims to banish the stigma that we have in the media and deal with eating disorders on a more personal level. Even if you haven’t ever suffered from an eating disorder, I would really recommend giving this book a read. It’s a positive and insightful guide to sufferers, but a really interesting source of information for those who are simply interested in the topic and would like to find out more.
Lynn’s book is out today! You can read more about it here – and purchase it online. If you do get a chance to read and review Lynn’s book, please do get in touch as I’d love to hear what you think. You can follow Lynn on Twitter here – and ask any questions you may have.