Caring for or enabling? Good question. I have been dealing with my daughter's eating disorder (ED) now for about seven years. There have been many different roles I have played during this time.
Most recently I provided "rehab" in my home. We came to a juncture in her out patient treatment that her treatment team said this isn't cutting it--she needs to go into inpatient treatment. Problem, insurance won't cover it. To do it right, we are talking minimum 60 days in a facility, followed by partial and eventually back to out patient. Last time the cost was somewhere around 80,000$ (roughly, I never had the nerve to add it up!) Not a possibility at this point in time.
Plan B. Total bed rest in my home. She would go on FMLA. I would cook her meals. She was not able to do much of anything, except sit in the house, or out on the patio if a nice day, eat, rest. This was all done with the support of her team. I followed their directive, meal plans, etc. She was still going to her appointments with psychologist, psychiatrist, nutritionist (=team).
She packed up clothes, her cat and "guest room" her she comes. I was working long hours at this point. I had scheduled a week off to go on a little vacation right about this same time. After I got the call from her psychologist saying this is what I need to do, I returned back to my day at work. One of my coworkers asked what was wrong? What had happened with the phone call? I explained that my daughter would be coming to stay...... She asked what about your vacation?? I responded, postpone it for now. Will take the time off to try and take care of her. What happened next has stuck with me for months and I assume I will store away most likely forever. My coworker suddenly got an attitude with me. Informed me I was enabling my daughter. She needs to figure it out on her own or have someone else help her. I need to walk away and do my "own thing".
I stopped. Timing was bad as I had just received the news from the psychologist. My emotions were raw from all of this. First off all, this person giving me advice does not have children. She has no idea what it would be like to have a sick child that needs help. Secondly, I had not asked for an opinion, advice, or sympathy. I had simply answered a question that I had been asked. I questioned what I was doing. Was I enabling? After a brief recap of my role in all of this I thought to myself absolutely not. Enabling would be to allow my daughter to stay with me but continue her ED habits. Allowing her to stay and stick with a meal plan that her nutritionist had provided for her is caring for . I was doing what I could as a mother with a sick daughter. Ignorance and lack of education on the subject of ED is prominent. That is fine. But don't give me some shitty advise, making me second guess my actions because you are uninformed on the subject.
Over the years I have had all kinds of advise ranging from "I'll take her out for a cheese burger, then she'll be fine" to "You need to let her grow up and figure this out on her own". I think to myself with every ridiculous remark, if my daughter had cancer or diabetes or something that medically made sense to people, there would be no questions asked. I go back to lack of knowledge on this particular subject.
In the end, I know I am doing what I can when I can to help my daughter. When I have the time and energy to try and educate those giving me horrible advice regarding an ED, I do.
Side note, the rehab time in my home worked. She is back out in the world, trying to make her way. I am thankful for each and every day she is on this Earth. The struggle is real. So far, she is winning.