We are in the second week of our holiday. L has done some amazing things that she didn’t think she could do. She still seems tentative and fearful though and I wonder how loud the anorexic voice is.
Yesterday at the beach, on a really watm day, I went swimming in the sea with my friend’s daughter. The water was icy cold, but a delight on such a hot day. L wanted to swim too, she loves outdoor swimming in rivers and the sea. But she held back. She is scared of the cold now. I wondered if it was best that she stayed out, but she so wanted to do it. A red cross van was nearby, she had drunk lots of water, and I told her we should do it.
We headed out to the sea. I tried not to look at how thin L is. We walked into the water. I held L’s hand and told her the water was cold, but if she got it and just swam, it would be easier than tentative paddling. She went in, her whole body in the water, she shrieked, but it was a delighted shriek. I told her to keep going and the three of us swam along chanting “Just keep swimming” like Dory in Finding Nemo. She got bolder and did handstands, her skinny white legs sticking out of the water. She chuckled with happiness, her face lit up for once. After ten or fifteen minutes, we got out and I wrapped her in a towel.
Everything L needs to know about recovery is in that swim. Dipping a toe into recovery is not enough and won’t make it easier. It just needs to be done, quickly and without hesitation and when it is tough, she needs to just keep swimming. I can urge her in and swim beside her and praise her for each stroke and applaud her sudden acts of bravery. And her reward will.be living the life she desperately wants