An exhausting day.

As well as the Guardian article I read Laura Collins, “Eating with Your Anorexic”, which describes how a mother gives up on the professionals and decides to feed her daughter back to health. She removes choice, makes eating compulsory and gradually her child gets better. Why can’t I do this? Why can I not insist that L eats? I try. This morning, I try again. I make L scrambled eggs. I ignore that she doesn’t want them. She yells at me and runs to the bathroom, screaming. I stand outside and tell her that she will have to come out eventually and she will still have to eat. She comes down, tries to argue, then sits there like she is facing execution. I give her the food and wait. There are tears and I acknowledge that she is upset, but tell her she needs to eat. I win on the food. I lose on the milk.

At lunch I decide to prepare a chicken and couscous salad. She asks for a bacon sandwich. I insist it has cheese and refuse to argue further. She then picks apart the sandwich, scraping off the cheese. I tell her she still has to eat it. She sits there. She puts her head on the table and sleeps. Or pretends to. I look at her, the skeletal frame, her skin seems almost transparent. Part of me wants to cradle and protect her, but another part feels murderous rage. This disease is consuming L, right in front of us and destroying our home. And I can’t beat it – I think I am doing the right thing, but I can see L wasting away. She is such a gentle, kind and thoughtful girl, getting smaller each week, her bones weakening and her heart rate slowing. And yet I cannot encourage, persuade or convince her to eat enough to get well. I go to my room and howl, with rage and despair.

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4 responses to “An exhausting day.

  1. Don’t be disheartened that Laura C managed it and you can’t at the moment – I think you will eventually. Laura certainly didn’t do it without a serious fight. She is a Facebook friend of mine – she would love to hear from you so do try and find her if you can. Tomorrow is a new day and I continue to be so impressed by your perseverance – keep it up. Remember it’s ok for you to be angry and upset by this and it’s important that you let it out xxxxxx

    • Thanks – am going to drop her a line and thank her for the book. It made me laugh out loud, which is a tough gig at the moment. It’s calmer now, L ate some dinner and we’re still communicating. I know that gives us a chance.

    • You’re both amazing and I wish I could manage it too. How do you react when your child sits there and will not put the food in her mouth? When she weeps and hits herself? I try to provide calm support and use the broken record technique, but she is so strong willed, despite the starvation. She will make herself sick at school and she will lie to me about whether she ate. I’d also love to have more time, but the food on the table (and indeed the table!) is paid for by my job, which involves long hours, and times away from home. Her father who lives locally, is sympathetic but will not make her eat. I just feel devastated that she will have to stay in hospital, eating awful food, simply because I can’t make her eat. I am trying to avoid the guilt, but the fact is, it’s a failure on my part.

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