Our weekly appointment was today, with the psychiatrist. She is the ‘doctor’ and ultimately she will tell us whether hospital is right for L now. At the start, she had a sheet of paper on the table. It listed each week and L’s weight. With a downward arrow each week, except the first. I looked and told her she didn’t need to add the arrows. I knew already how each week she had lost weight. I could tell how she had thought about this meeting, that she could see I was trying my best and that I wanted to be able to get L to recover at home, but that it wasn’t working and she needed me to understand that the time had come for hospital. I smiled and told her I knew. We talked about when and how long it would take. She was kind, she tried to answer all our questions. She listened and she tried to reassure and support both of us.
As usual L felt overwhelmed by the session. Later she sobbed in her room and I went to see her. She feels as if she is screwing everything up, for her and for everyone. I I told her that it wasn’t her, but the illness, but yes, it is taking years away from her that should be some of the best of her life. Anorexia is like a hostile intruder in our home, destroying L and making every day virtually unbearable. I want to drive it out, but without L’s help, I can’t.
Sad though it seems, I look forward to the CAMHS sessions. I feel fortunate that we have such professional support, from people who don’t assume that it is an unhappy family or abusive home. Who include me in her care and listen to our views. While we are in their offices, they are in charge for a while and it feels like the only time I can relax. I am lucky that we don’t have to fill in insurance forms, argue with healthcare providers or worry about paying the bills for her care. I think that might just push us all over the edge. I have never appreciated the NHS more.