Ignoring the Doctor.

What kind of mother ignores medical advice about her child? Turns out, I do.  Having railed against new agey types who dont have their kids vaccinated or winced at mothers feeding small children sweets and fizzy drinks, I am now ignoring medical advice about L.

Let me put it in some context.  Last week the psychiatrist treating her said she believed L was not well enough to walk up mountains, especially in the heat.  She said she needed to rest and gain weight, her BMI was 16.2. L’s face fell.  She and I have planned this trip, the week before we’d gone out to buy new boots, a special fleece and drinking bottles.

So, why, two days into the holiday, isn’t L lying by the pool?  Why have we spent two days walking up hillsides, on hot days, L striding out with her slender legs and arms marching in time.  I have woken up every night wondering at this and today I worked out the answer.

Everything I have read about the root of anorexia suggests it comes from dark places, from loss, pain or fear.  Those harmful thoughts may be fed by unhelpful body images, by a warped society view of skinny=successful, but the root is a loss, or fear of the future. 

So, if those dark, difficult thoughts cause such harm, perhaps joy, love and hope can cure it.  It is almost certainly cod psychology, but I knew when L needed help and I think I know when she needs to do the things that will bring her joy.  Today we sat on a hillside on the grass, looking over mountains and eating our lunch that we cooked together.  She looked happy and it wasnt just the exercise, it was the place, the people and doing the things she has always loved since a child.  Later, unprompted she ordered an ice cream, not a calorie free ice lolly, but a proper ice cream.  After she ate it, the sadness returned and she hid in her room. Without any plan, I went in and held her, then threw open the balcony doors which look out onto mountains.  Look out there, I said, look at the world, waiting for you to live the life you deserve.  I know you’re scared, I know you think that if you get thinner, find the right clothes, get your hair sorted out then your life will begin, but the truth is, its here and you risk missing it. 

I am probably delusional.  But I woke up this morning, thinking hospital was inevitable, and now I feel the first hope I have felt in weeks

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2 responses to “Ignoring the Doctor.

  1. I know it was months ago that you wrote this post, but as I read it I felt compelled to comment.

    Wow, I feel so sad reading this. Sad for you, sad for the other men and women and teenagers suffering and fighting and living with this illness.

    I was anorexic as a teenager. When you said you think anorexia comes from dark places, mine did. Unhappiness, self loathing, anxiety, lonliness, self hatred, feeling like I did not fit in with my peers, pressure from school and exams. Every horrible, most miserable, most unbearable thoughts were crammed into my head and I could do nothing to resist them, I felt powerless to resist them, I existed wallowing in my unhappiness without help. I had no friends and despite the fact my lovely mum worried about me, she didn’t know how to talk to me.

    I’m in my mid twenties now and I am no longer anorexic. I am fully recovered. You said you think love can cure it and I think you are in part right. I know it is more complicated than that, but Love is a powerful force. It was platonic love from a good friend, being understood, talking about anxieties and worries, hopes and dreams that saw me through. Keep fighting! L can recover from this. The decision has to come from her I think, but with the love and support she is getting from you and hopefully from some good friend/s, she can overcome this and go on to live the life of her dreams.

    • Thanks – it was a really sad time and I hadn’t honestly come to terms with anorexia and what it meant. I wasn’t ready to make life stop until she ate and got better, and I was wrong about that. I think it takes such a long time to get that because anorexia is diagnosed, it has probably been developing for years and has really deep roots.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story- I was amazed when L developed anorexia, she had always seemed such a happy child, but it turned out she was really unhappy a lot of the time. It cheers me so much to know others have got through this and are better

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