In the as yet unwritten book “Sleeping Tips for Parents in Anorexia/Anxiety Disorder/Autistic Syndrome Households” there might be a test, as follows:
You are awake at 3am, staring at the ceiling, contemplating the pointless desperation of life. Do You:
a) Read for a while
b) count sheep for a while, perhaps putting lavender oil on your pillow
c) Get up and knit Christmas Trees for K to send to her friends as gifts
It’s ‘c’ of course. Because I think that at least I can do something useful. I have been trying to help K with knitting for a while, but it’s tough when her anxiety levels are so high. So I said I would do them for her. I knit sparkly christmas trees, which are quite therapeutic. The hours go past in a silent house. K gets up and giggles with delight at the trees. Now I am really tired. But there is porridge to make. And banana and cream cheese muffins. Both for L. She weeps and begs for something else. Anything, just not this. She tells me she doesn’t like cream cheese. I tell her I don’t care. I look her in her tear stained pale blue eyes and say. I. Don’t. Care. Medicine is not to be liked. Medicine is to be consumed. She does so and I even make her eat every last raisin, delicately placed to decorate the banana. Afterwards she sobs, sad and broken. I urge her to take the day off. But she beads to college, her parka wrapped around her bony frame.
Today is Ks Carol service in Bath Abbey. She isn’t speaking this year but we of for lunch first and she shrinks at the endless stream of other students. But, in the abbey, it is magical. We sing Carols and the priest leading the service invites us to pray for those facing a bleak Christmas, for those whose illness will prevail over the festivities. I think of L, I wonder if I pray hard enough, like a child trying to summon a genie, could that make her better? But if love cannot save her, then how could prayer, especially for one without faith like me.
K and I return home. I sleep for an hour or so on the sofa. L is with The Boyfriend. I am cross that she hasn’t checked first, but know that as an inpatient she will scarcely see him. Tomorrow the Boyfriend’s Mother and I will plot together to thwart Ed. My job is to battle exhaustion and use snatched sleep as my weapon in this interminable battle.