One thing I know from the work I do, is that there is no drama or crisis, no dispute or argument that does not eventually have to end in those involved sitting down and finding a way through. And so it is with L and the Illness. Even if one or both of us feel that we have had enough and go into meltdown, there comes a point when the tears have to dry and the talking begins.
This morning, I did not manage the quiet strict tone. I really wanted to – I lay in bed and thought about how angry I was and I realised I was being, in the words of Janet Treasure, a rhino. (This is a whole separate blog post!). I went downstairs and I tried the calm quiet emotionless tones. I told her to eat her breakfast and that she would not go to school if she didn’t eat. The tears started, not hysterical, diversionary tears, but the slow welling of real tears from my beloved, beautiful daughter as she tried to eat the small bowl of cereal in front of her. I started crying too, and when I started I couldn’t stop. I never let her see me cry, she doesn’t need to worry about me. But I didn’t walk out I just sat at the table and wept, holding L and telling her how terrified I was of losing her and that I just didn’t know what to do. (in another Janet Treasure reference, this is known as the jellyfish). Eventually the crying stopped and the cereal was eaten. Both of us went to work and school, red eyed and exhausted.
This afternoon was a clinic appointment. More weight has been lost. Her BMI is now in the 15 range. We are running out of time. But today L said she wanted to get better. She told the school nurse that she has had enough and she wants to plan the food she will eat which will help. She told me she wanted more control and I don’t know if that is her or the anorexia speaking. So we have agreed that she can choose what, but I need to choose how much. We went to the supermarket. We chose food, cereal bars, yogurts, fruit smoothies and different types of bread. We haggled over fat contents and ended somewhere in the middle.
Is this a new start? Or another twist before a turn? If L says she wants to build up gradually to eat more, does that mean she can’t do it now and hopes by bargaining to delay the day she has to eat more? I don’t know. I know so little. But today ended better than it started and for now that will have to be enough.