Six months on..

I am on the train to work, in a packed carriage of commuters and students. Due to flooding, the network is in chaos. The train is too crowded to use laptops and tempers are frayed. I feel quite calm, most work related issues don’t faze me. Life with anorexia has made me far more resilient.

It is six months since I started this blog. Half a year from the weekend when I realised my daughter was seriously ill. I remember the panic and terror and the sense of not having a clue what to do. I remember thinking I could talk her out of it, that her favourite foods would tempt her – food which the rest of us ate, feeling increasingly hopeless.

I remember feeling hopeful when L told me she was ready to take recovery seriously but wants to be involved and have control, not realising this was the voice of Ed, trying to bargain with us, to keep L out of our reach. I remember the horror at working out that her sudden happiness was because she had vomited up dinner. I remember the overwhelming loss of my funny, wonderful daughter, my best friend, and the equal sense of loss at realising she had always felt second best and never good enough. I remember how each eating success felt like we’d beaten it, only to be followed by a backlash from Ed. I remember hours of food shopping, negotiating with the Ed terrorist that possessed my beautiful girl. I remember the sympathy of the CAMHS team, as they watched us struggle and the gentle way they explained that hospital was inevitable. I remember the grief and relief as L was admitted, to a small homely inpatient unit and it was someone elses turn to feed her.

What have I learned? That ED is a tyrant and its power is often stronger than love. That my belief that this would be over soon would be so wrong. I have had to learn a patience I never had before. I have been moved to tears by the incredible kindness of strangers, of other mothers and ED sufferers and survivors and the compassion and love shown to me as they welcomed me into the world none of us want to inhabit. It would have been impossible to survive these six months without them.

My father always said youth was wasted on the young and joked he would love to have his life again, but with the wisdom he acquired with age. If I could go back six months, I would know that with anorexia you need to think the worst. Then double it. I would have asked for L to be admitted earlier. I would not have negotiated with Ed. L has spent over three months in hospital and there is little prospect of a discharge. But I also know I needed to learn these things for myself.

Tonight, we have A Trip Out. To IKEA, where we will buy her a desk and have a snack, if L can cope. I am ridiculously excited about this. L and I love IKEA. It will be almost like old times. But the sad truth is, that in the turbulence of the last six months, I can remember every detail of our struggle against Ed, but I have forgotten what life without anorexia was like.


3 responses to “Six months on..

  1. Right now 6 months must feel like a very long time, and I know you already know this, there is so much more life to come after this fight with Ed is won. That time will come, it is already hard fought and painful but you’re all doing the right things.
    Part of me wishes that there would be someone to say that we could do whatever necessary to find a way out of my own darkness, even if that meant hospital too. But for now the fight is mine alone because the people who would be there for me, can’t handle the true story. Reading of your journey with L gives me some hope that one day there might be someone to stand by me in the way you do for L, perhaps that hope will be enough to keep trying.
    What you are doing for your daughter and for the rest of your family too, is not just parental instinct, it is much more and I am grateful to know that it is possible.
    Thank you.
    I hope that your evening goes well!
    take care x

  2. I think after 3 months, (this is relatively short however) inpatient, if you and L are so anxious about discharge, you need to think about why they aren’t talking about discharging her.
    Is it that she won’t cope? Is her BMI still below 19? Is it her mood? Has she asked to be discharged, or is she too anxious?
    After 6 months inpatient, I was still freaking out about the idea of being discharged, even though I wanted it more than ever. It’s scary. It’s unsafe. You know in hospital you are more protected from your head and ED, but outside, it’s so easy to fall back, to miss things, to trick people. It makes me sad writing this because I know how true it all rings.
    Maybe you need to have this conversation with her.xx

    • Hi, we have talked about discharge, as well as discussing it with the unit. Their programme is very gradual, she would transfer to being a day patient for a number of weeks and then be discharged to CAMHS for weekly community treatment, usually for a year. We’re not anxious about it, so much as just wondering when it will happen. Her BMI is 18.2, so she is close to stage 3, which is BMI 18.5, when she will probably transfer to being a day patient. I know she is scared about discharge and returning to school and I agree it will be really hard. But facing those challenges is part of her treatment too. She won’t be alone though.

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