Light and Shade

Every day with an ED feels like an odyssey. A series of challenges, some of which seem insurmountable. And the next day it starts again. To an outsider it seems bewildering. “She just needs to eat, surely?”. How do you describe the endless emotional hurdles to overcome just to have a snack?

Some days are good. Some are nightmarish. And some are mixed. Today was such a day. The morning was flat, L and I both drained after yesterday. Breakfast went without resistance, L came home and ate a snack. A trip to the shop was painful and difficult, L seemed to panic at every choice, eyes darting for a lower calorie option each time. I was firm and calm, but K just seemed to seethe with rage. When I faltered and gave in on one snack choice, K glared as if I was a complete failure.

Tea was much worse. L picked at food, moved it around and became more and more distressed. I stayed calm, using a broken record technique of patting her arm and telling her to keep going. Eventually L’s tears erupted accompanied by an incoherent self loathing outburst at how stupid she was, what a waste of space she is. I comforted her then, although part of me wondered if this was a diversion. Eventually the sobs stopped and I told her to keep on eating. Weeks ago, I would have given up. But this is what hospital will be like. I fed her each mouthful, giving gentle encouragement as the plate cleared. I also felt soothed, going back to the days of feeding my child by hand. At least I am doing something. She finished and it felt like the end of a marathon.

After tea she slept for a while and I sat with her. Then we talked. I told her again that she can only recover for her, not for me. She is still making herself sick and tried to tell me that this would help her in the long term. I told her this was a lie that anorexia whispered in her ear. She protested that it gave her control, and I responded that she had no control, it was all in the hands of anorexia. Indeed so often it feels like a battle between anorexia and me, with my meek quiet L in the middle, not wanting to offend.

She is now in the shower. I am sitting outside the bathroom. She is barred from flushing the toilet. I wonder if she can vomit quietly into the shower. I can hear her crying, but I cannot comfort her. I don’t know if she really wants to recover or if she just wants to make me happy. She tells me she doesn’t feel “ill”. We will do this all again tomorrow. In between I will try to do the job that pays the bills and be a mother to K and L. This is so, so hard and it is only the beginning.

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6 responses to “Light and Shade

  1. I’m sorry to cause more concern but your question of vomiting in the shower… Yes, it is much easier than vomiting in the toilet. If you can hear her crying though then I suppose you would hear her being sick.

    Im sorry you both have to live with this demon. I hope you have more good days soon

    X

    • Thanks for telling me this. I asked L and of course she does make herself sick in the shower, but said she didnt on that occasion. It is grim to know how determined she is. But I would much rather know

  2. I think you are doing the most phenomenal job and I am in awe of your strength. You are doing the best job you can at fighting this terrible disease. Thinking of you often and sending love xx

  3. In hospital, they have what’s known as ‘supervision’. This is 45mins after each meal, and 30mins after each snack, where you have to sit with the nurses and other patients, to voice feelings and most of all, ensure you aren’t sick or exercising. I think it would help both your daughter with her vomitting and your anxiety to use this, while trying to decrease the amount of vomitting she is doing. Be strong x

    • Hi,, how are you doing? By the way, you were right about the food deception and I hope you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve stopped it and told her.

      We sit and chat after every meal and most snacks, altho breakfast is more of a problem. To be honest we need the wind down time. But, I think she is addicted to vomiting as she does it hours after eating, which doesn’t affect her weight, but harms her health.

      • Please don’t be resigned to “she will end up in hospital”
        There is always hope.
        I am so so pleased you’ve stopped the food deception – your relationship will benefit and she will continue to feel able to trust you.

        Not sure if it helps, but when I’m struggling, which seems quite often at the moment, I try and think of the fact that I either eat at home, with family and friends and CHOICE over what I eat, compared to hospital, where there is no family, friends and definitely no control, let alone choice. Maybe try put this to your daughter?

        Also, reading another one of your entries, I think the menu cards are an excellent idea! And you said about needing to increase her meal plan – why not sit down with her and aim to add X amount of calories to eat meal, and talk through where and how you will add these.
        Maybe to try and get her back into eating more ‘scary’ foods, you could actually encorporate a ‘scary’ food into or part of breakfast has to be 2 slices of toast with a spread eg chocolate spread, lemon curd etc on? Not only will this help familiarise her with scarier foods, but will show you how strong both you and her have become (even if these things are so hard to begin with)

        As I’ve said before, I’ve been into hospital, and may be able to help you with some meal plans if you want any advice.
        Keep being strong, xx

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