Last night was great – predictably too much wine though, which is a rare event. So this morning a long lie in and for once I am sitting back and letting C do the clearing up. I know I can sometimes slip into martyr mode, clear everything up or do a job because no one else will do it when or how I want it doing. One of the more challenging aspects of life with anorexia is how it holds up a mirror to everything we do or say. If I want L to look after herself, to love who she is, I need to be like that too. Which seems much harder than getting her to eat. So, unusually I am trying to look after myself too. I have cut back on long working hours, I take time off when I am ill and I try to curb the crippling self criticism to which I am prone.
A friend last might showed me an article about Rhodes House, an inpatient unit for children with anorexia. It is here
I found it really interesting because it described life as an inpatient and I have been wondering more and more what this will be like. I say “will” because I think I am resigned to L having to be treated in hospital and I want to know what treatment they will give her. This afternoon, when she comes home, I will show it to her and ask her to read it. I need to be clear with her that we are heading to hospital and prepare her for what it involves, although I know each unit is different. Next week I will ask the psychiatrist to set the process in motion, with a view to admitting her when we return from holiday in August, unless clinically she should be admitted earlier. This isn’t about not wanting to ruin our holiday, but I know L finds it easier when she is away, she put on weight last time, although partly that was due to changing her drinks without her knowing – she knows now.
Of course I hope L will read the article and it will strengthen her resolve to beat this. But I know that it is unlikely. She is too far in anorexia’s grip, although she is now eating, just not enough. I shuddered when I read in the article that her bones will not reach maximum density – it almost feels as if anorexia is a misogynist – a disease which targets and attacks clever, motivated young women, making them weaker both physically and emotionally. I know that sounds stupid, but my hatred for anorexia burns deep, it has chosen my daughter and it threatens her future and has robbed her of the happiness she deserves. But I also feel calmer – last week I felt we were running out of time, but we are not. Actually, I now have the signposts and milestones I have been wanting: another month with L helping her to eat and if she doesn’t gain the weight needed, then hospital. The specialist unit is local to us and while it may take months, I believe she will get better. I have had to learn patience – another hard lesson for me.