The end of the day

It has been a long and trying day. At one point, I thought it would be easier if L went back to the unit. But we got through and made it to J’s gala recital. K stayed home, still angry at the impact of anorexia. It was an incredible evening. J played outstandingly and there was a real buzz, especially as some renowned bassoonist had turned up to see him. I had to push through an excited throng around him just to say goodbye. We drove back, L collected her things and I took her back to the unit. We were both exhausted.

It is now late. The wind howls outside. I think of my child with an eating disorder struggling to recover, my child with Aspergers and his astonishing talent, but his confusion at the world and my bewildered child, angry at everything around her. I feel how tired I am in every bone, how next week I must find energy and reserves for a demanding job in a challenging environment. Sometimes our successes are just that we are still here, a little further on than yesterday and a little behind tomorrow. My daughter came home, it was so much tougher than I thought, but we survived. And now I need sleep before tackling tomorrow

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4 responses to “The end of the day

  1. I just read both of your posts from this weekend. It sounds like it has been tough but you did well. It’s easy to be angry at L but unfortunately it doesn’t help anyone and I’m sure she must be grateful that you can recognize that. I keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, I hope improvements, however small, continue.

  2. It’s times like these I wish I could hug you, even though I’m a stranger, sounds like you need a huge hug. Okay much more than that, but it’s the best I could offer. And I wish I could offer much more.
    It took a long time for your daughter to develop anorexia, take into account it’s been there developing long before it became obvious. So it’s going to be a long journey back – and I know that’s a cliche, but it’s one that I’ve found to be true. You also probably will find L becomes quite a bit more rigid with little details like the flora, and the struggle when you went out and she couldn’t just add a juice to a muffin or something like that. (I can SO relate to that. Keep in mind that ED doesn’t use logic. Black and white rigid thinking, magical thinking, obsessive compulsive thinking, catastrophising – are the name of the day. For example, lets say that for some reason, I fear quiche. Now you could give me a couple of boiled eggs, plus whatever would have gone in the quiche, and poured some cream on my dessert, and I’d have struggled but been okay. But put it all together and call it quiche, no go. Impossible. Or even call it fritatta instead of quiche and I’m more likely to be okay. It’s not a logic thing, it’s a mind control/mind bending stuck thing.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if L fixates even harder on a few of these rules, because she’s had a huge thing taken away from her – most of the ED behaviours, and her weight, and most of all, the control over these, has been taken from her. Especially in the earlier days where new coping mechanisms still need to be learnt and practised and grown familiar with, and where the world feels out of control and scary as treatment forces her to engage with it again and not shut it out – it’s likely L will hang on more tightly to the few rules she still has. I’ve seen many fellow patients even get fixtated and rigid about recovery to the point that they are panicking and throwing tantrums if they don’t put on enough weight fast enough, if their meal tray comes with too few calories etc, if they can’t have the exact snack they are ‘supposed’ to have, if it is going to be even a little bit late, or they can’t have it in the same place, the same way, off the same plate, etc. It’s a transferral of the same behaviours over to the recovery behaviour – and personally, while it means they comply and it helps them to move forward, I think it should be taken as a heads up that they still aren’t able to cope in a non self-destructive way. And that they still aren’t able to actually focus on the real problems either – it’s all projected onto food/weight is the problem. My body is the problem and when my body is fixed, the problem will go away. (But this isn’t really true.)
    IMO eating disorders are the symptoms of the deeper problems.
    They are also a very effective smokescreen/distraction – can’t deal with those problems? Everyone around you will be fighting to save your life, instead, too. It’s like throwing a bait stage left and exiting stage right as those chasing you go after the bait.

    Sorry about all that ^^
    L has come a long way. She might have a long way to go, but she’s getting there step by step. You have been wonderfully supportive and done everything you can. No your family probably won’t ever be the same – but that doesn’t have to be bad. It would be hard to see K expressing her anger the way she is – but the good side is that she’s expressing it – that’s healthy. She’s not hiding it or letting it build up inside. Also that’s a good example for J and L.

    All of you have had your lives/your world blown to bits. Nothing is what it seemed, and nothing will probably ever be the same. Expect to go through the stages of grieving – to feel anger, disbelief, depression, to bargain, to accept what’s happened… in any order, and any amount of times. And I hope you allow yourself to grieve, but also remember, another true cliche of where one door closes another opens. There are new beginnings for all of you in this. There are ways this experience will make you all stronger, more appreciative of each other and your lives for example. You will meet people for whom you come to know you wouldn’t go back and change things for anything because you wouldn’t otherwise have met them.
    In the meantime, long slow hard journeys are best taken one step at a time. Don’t try and leap several steps at once. Celebrate every tiny victory. They might seem trite, some of them, but they are that important. For me, at one stage, getting out of bed and washing my face then going back to bed for the day was a victory, because I didn’t just stay in bed completely! Every little thing is a stepping stone for the next step. Flora is a stepping stone for realising that other spreads are okay too. Being prepared to contemplate going out and eating out, even if unable to actually follow through – is a stepping stone for one day being able to eat there.
    It’s wonderful that L has spent her first two days at home – and it means physically her body is stronger and not as in danger as it was, it means mentally she’s closer to being able to cognitively work on the real problems. She’s not there, far from ‘there’, but she’s getting there. Hang on, I wish I could say something more comforting and solid – but literally all I can really say is to hang on tight, because this is a roller coaster ride, but it’s also one with many rewards and where a happy ending is so totally possible. And your daughter has the best thing going for her – you – and your love and support. xx

    • Thanks Fiona, I really appreciate your insight. The team at the clinic said similar things too. She has made real progress, but I think I am becoming just worn down. I have gone I to teenager mode. I want my daughter back and I want it now!!

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