As you might expect, I spent a lot of last night and today reflecting on ‘therapy’. Unable to sleep, I went up to L’s room, knowing that she finds it hard to sleep too. I hugged her until she went to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep still. This morning, I decided to go into work early and stay late. For some reason, I want to do something I know how to do and enjoy doing – work. And I guess that drowning in work might be better than drowning in gin although the latter sounds tempting.
Through the morning, the tearfulness evaporates and is replaced by anger. At being called challenging for not agreeing with a therapists hypothesis, at L being told she is determined to stay well, at the assumptions made by someone who has spent six hours with us, at S’s smugness and at being told I am dramatic for saying what I feel. I call the clinic and ask to be put through to L’s case co-ordinator.
When I speak to her, I am mainly polite, but I let her know how furious I am. I question how we can ‘explore a hypothesis’ when any questioning of it is labelled as my change-resistance? I question why this therapist seems entirely bent on holding women responsible for everything – me for being too controlling, L for not wanting to get well, K for not prompting her father to be more assertive. What is the problem with asking why the men are so absent in this process? Could a hypothesis be that in fact, L is starving herself to get her father’s attention. Unsuccessfully, of course. But I don’t believe that either.
But worst of all, was the label of me by the therapist as ‘fragile’. Admittedly, I was crying and had been doing so for a while. But like the moment when a therapist called me meek (described elsewhere in this blog) it was a lightbulb moment, albeit in a delayed way. Because I am not fragile. I am pretty bloody strong actually – and strong because that is who I am and not because some therapist has ‘helped’ me to be so.
So I intend to meet with the therapist and L’s team next week, where i will tell them that I think they are wrong. Not only wrong about anorexia, but wrong about what therapeutic means. That I am perfectly happy to have difficult discussions – but if they depend on me being submissive and accepting the therapist views for fear of being called change resistant, then it isn’t really a discussion is it? That I don’t believe the best thing for L is to be told she is determined to stay ill or how much this illness is hurting those she loves.
And at some point in this conversation, no doubt, I will be called ‘challenging’. I will smile politely and tell her I am only just warming up. Because while we may be a family that spend an hour with her every fortnight, and L’s progress is merely a line on a chart or notes in a file, L is my daughter and no one could love her more or care about her recovery than I do. Not because I am controlling, not because I am oppressive, but because she has a lifetime of happiness ahead that I long for her to enjoy.