I wrote the last blog post after leaving L in the kitchen with toast and juice. I asked C to supervise her eating and went upstairs. I could tell from her face breakfast would not be eaten. The look on an anorexic’s face at the sight of unwanted food is one of the worst sights to a parent. She looks haunted and traumatised and the cause is a plate of toast. After writing the post, I decided it was time to confront the lies. I went downstairs and told her it was impossible for her to visit her friend later. Ed is too strong at the moment, she will restrict, the weight will fall off and round and round we will go again.
I sat next to her at the table, really close with my arms around her. I told her she could lie to me as much as she liked but it would only harm her, that until she can be truthful about anorexia, it will remain in control. I told her again, that recovery wasn’t about rainbows and sunsets, about inspirational quotes and unicorns, but it was about being brave enough to take big mouthfuls of food when Ed is screaming in your face to stop. Eventually a crust was torn off. I held her and reminded her of the summer day when she swam in the cold sea, after hovering by it for ages. I told her to remember how terrifyingly cold the water was when she went in and the only way to cope was to go deeper and just keep swimming. She had a bite. I made a fist and said Pow! Take that, anorexia. She didn’t laugh. I kept holding her. I told her she was a ninja and even ninjas looked all brave and ninja-ey but inside were really scared. Their superpowers came from being really, really loved. Tiny pieces of toast were torn off and eaten. Tears flowed and her nose ran, hankies and sleeves wiped and still she carried on. I acted out an argument between her and Ed where L had a little squeaky voice and Ed had a deep gravelly roar, but L squeaked at him that he would not win. She laughed a little, but the tears didn’t stop.
But the toast disappeared and the juice was drunk. When it was finished, I grabbed her hand and said Run away and we ran from the kitchen, up to my room, into my big wide bed and wrapped ourselves in the duvet. Then L wept, heaving sobs and I held her some more telling her to let herself cry, because the feelings trapped inside are stifling and Ed uses them as a protective shield.