Many young women and men suffer from eating disorders even in another country as an Au Pair. How they influence your life and how to get help.
A look in the mirror, a glance at the balance, a disgusted face clapping the tummy. Almost everybody has felt the need to change something about their body in the past, although there might not even have been a problem. Most of the people go through a diet and it either works or it doesn't. If it diesn't at some point they just accept themselves as they are and go on with their lives.
A problem occurs though, if the look at the own body becomes obsessive and someone tries to get thinner and thinner and loses a realistic view at their own body. They stop eating, start going to the gym excessively, are "full" after a few peas and drink a lot of water to feel full. Others start to develop strange eating habits, they will have an attack and will just eat whatever they can get and throw up afterwards. Those are only a few of many different not healthy eating habits that soon become a mental problem. They don't see themselves anymore. They can't imagine how they actually look like to others.
And if the whole world seems to fall apart, sometimes someone wants to spend some time abroad although they are ill and their eating disorder will just continue. Some even hope that the location change will do them good and they might get better and healthy once they have left their familiar environment.
Becoming an Au Pair although someone is ill
Everybody can have dreams of course, so even people with an eating disorder will decide that they want to become an Au Pair in another country. They want to stay with a family for a while and take care of their children. What most of them don't think about is, that living with a family also means that they watch things that they are doing and they will notice if the au pair never eats dinner with them and the food is not really getting less. It can also be the opposite and the family notices that the food they just bought is already gone, although that can't actually be. And the au pair is always vanishing in the bathroom after meals.
There is no sense in hiding, since the family would notice that as a strange behavior too.
Most parents will also worry that the au pair is presenting an unhealthy eating manner to their children. They don't want their children to see someone who is not eating and worrying about their weight all the time. They can't accept, that their new family member is obviously thinking or even thinking that she/he is too fat, although she/he is already very skinny. And this is absolutely right. Parents want their children to grow up in a save environment and someone who has a mental illness that everybody sees can not provide it.
Get healthy and then you can start your new life
Many au pair agencies ask their candidates for a medical report before they accept an application. If an au pair searches for a family through websites like AuPair.com they do not get ask for a medical report, but the family will definitely ask about the candidates health. They want someone fit and healthy in their family. Someone that doesn't lose consciousness while they are watching the children, only because they haven't eaten.
An eating disorder is a serious mental illness. It can't be healed by simply telling oneself to just eat more or eat less. It can't be healed within a day. It's a long way. Applicants who suffer from mental illnesses or eating disorder should definitely consider to get healthy first and then they can still go to another country to live there for a while. To stay with a family with children and risking that the kids adapt the dangerous behavior of the au pair is irresponsible.
If you suffer from an eating disorder and you want to get better to be able to fulfill your dreams or if you notice that someone you know needs some help, search for a service that helps people with mental problems.
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This post is also available in: German