I started writing this blog, simply because I didn’t know what else to do. I have very little patience, when I see a problem I want it solved. I go into action, find a solution and voila! That doesn’t work when you have a child with an eating disorder does it? All my instincts to do something, anything, were completely in vain.
I bought her favourite food. And watched her ignore it, not wanting to upset me. I took her to the doctor, who said she’d be fine. Really? I bought her new clothes and then gasped when I saw her wearing them. I can look at this now and smile wryly at how naive I was, but I genuinely believed that these things might help.
Then I got to the point where I realised I knew nothing. I could do nothing. I had no compass, no guidebook to navigate through this or even what my next step should be. So I decided to write. I had no answers, just questions and thought that if I put my thoughts and feelings down on electronic paper it might make some sense of them. Like sorting out a jumbled overflowing drawer of clothes into something manageable I wrote down how I felt. And reading it back made me reflect and think. I find reflecting hard, I’m a doer. Writing and then reading helped.
But most of all, I know from using social media in my other life, that out there would be people who knew what it was like to be where I was. Others who knew where L was and how she might feel. That perhaps people would give me advice or tell me where to go to get help. That perhaps others might not know what to do either and we could share our anxiety and experience.
So I wrote. Whereas people would ask me in real life how things were and I might manage a few words, when I wrote, I could explain in detail how I felt about one particular incident or at a certain time. I told some friends, I set up a Twitter account. And gradually people contacted me. To offer insight from the places they had been themselves. To suggest things I might do or not do. But most of all, just to wish me well, telling me I was doing ok. That L would get better and that if I was there for her we would get through. It is so hard to describe what that meant. I could be on a train, staring out of the window and a message would come through on Twitter, sending me love and best wishes. Telling me that I sounded like a great mum. Wow. When things seemed bleak, someone I have never met, who may live across the world, could make things better. Each person had their own story and reading them or learning from them stopped me from feeling alone.
So, L and I have a long way to go. But this is not a post about L. It is a post about those people who have commented on this blog or sent me messages on Twitter – thank you so very much. Your kindness and good wishes have brought light and warmth into very dark times. There are ugly sides to the Internet and harmful behaviours. But it also has the capacity to bring people together with common cause to be support and nurture each other – especially women, whose voices are often not heard. Again, thank you, for now and for the months to come.