And back down again….

1.3 kg weight loss this week.  These are the words of the kind young psychologist at our weekly appointment.  L bites her lip.  She didn’t expect this.  I did.  Even though L has made enormous progress, in our world, the only thing that counts is the figure on the scales.  The psychologist informs me that she will let her colleague, the psychiatrist know.  I understand what she means.  The news will be seen as further evidence that while I am clearly doing my best, anorexia has L in its grip and we are not going to be able to help her.  I leave L with the psychologist for their session, first letting L know that I think she has really done well this week.  Even though there is a loss, she has still tried so hard.  Is this wrong? Does it give L a false impression of what is needed? I don’t know.

I go to the waiting room.  I brought a home catalogue with me to read with L.  We are planning a new bedroom for her.  Naively I thought that if her planning and project skills were diverted into this, it would take her away from the project of losing more and more weight.  I know, it seems pathetic.  Now I flick through the pages.  I imagine doing up her room when she is in hospital, as a surprise for when she comes home.  I am so tired, partly due to the throat infection.  We are only at the beginning of this journey and all we can do is think of today, possibly this week.  We are both trying so hard.  But it isn’t working and I am not sure either of us has more to give.


One response to “And back down again….

  1. That was perhaps the hardest part for me: committing to having the stamina and the long view even as each hour was so hard. It got easier once I reached the acceptance stage.

    As optimistic and loving parents it goes against the grain to do this kind of caregiving. We are used to high expectations and optimism and progress – we depend on it. We want to cheer and reward and encourage, and we want our disapproval to have a motivating effect. None of this works quite the same in this circumstance. We need to be optimistic regardless of the effect. We need to resist letting our emotions and actions be guided by our loved one’s mood and actions.

    We can’t be friends, we can’t build “trust,” we can’t expect to be appreciated or understood. It sucks.

    But I found that once I adjusted and committed (and mourned the temporary loss of the life I thought I was living) I was far steadier. It actually became a better way of parenting an anxious person. I had my goals and tasks and I was not rocked by every reaction. I had the long view in mind: the real life and freedom and relationships that our daughter stood to lose if we didn’t do what only we could do.

    You’ll find this, fierce mom. You’ll do this. If you need hospitalization along the way to learn the skills you need to do it, that’s fine. This is not the parenting we thought we’d have to do but we CAN do it. It isn’t forever, but it isn’t optional.

    I’m cheering for you.

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