One Way Or Another

Today is the meeting at the unit, at which L is to decide whether to stay in the unit or go home. I ask her over the weekend if she has any views and she tells me she wants to stay, but doesn’t want to upset The Boyfriend. This is obviously worrying. I know he isn’t placing any pressure on her, but being apart from your first love, having to arrange supervised visits, especially at a time when he is ill. So, I suggest a compromise to her nurse, that she spends time at home at the weekend, which will stop her prevarications. Her nurse feels this would be good. Especially when there are further confusions about visiting, resulting in distressed calls from The Boyfriend’s family and L.

So, before the meeting I spoke to L. She was tentative about asking for this arrangement, fearing she would be different. But we agree to at least ask. In the meeting, I sense immediate problems. The most hostile nurse is present, a sour faced man who rarely smiles. Her total weight gain in three weeks is .2kg, but it is noted she has made progress recently in eating meals, even if strangely this has meant a weight loss. I ask about weekend leave. They look at each other and I know I am being ‘managed’. At present, their way of doing things is non negotiable and it would be harmful for her to be with me, as I would control her eating. I try and explain, once again, the advice I was given before by CAMHS, that my insistence on eating doesn’t make me a controlling malign influence. They look at the floor and I become tearful, saying how their approach previously made me feel like a dreadful parent, losing all confidence in my abilities to feed my child and it took a long time to get that confidence back, with help from CAMHS. The hostile nurse actually smiles as I begin to cry and I ask what is so funny and he sniggers in response. I leave before Iose my temper completely.

In the car, I sob and sob. Back home I cry more and realise the hardest thing – that I have to respect L’s choice, because, if not, she will be torn in two. If it is to be their way, then let it be their way. But I can’t visit and ask her about food and find she hasn’t eaten. Or weight and find she has lost again. I have to let go and give them full control. Because I just can’t fight them any more. I can’t even go back there. I wish I had never allowed her to be referred. I also hope that they prove me wrong and make her well again. Worst of all, perhaps they’re right and it really was caused by me all along


10 responses to “One Way Or Another

  1. It was NOT caused by you! And that’s not just me saying so, it’s Charlotte as well! I am so sorry you are in this situation. It is hard enough to ‘give’ one’s child to the unit without having all this conflict. Is it worth you going back to CAMHS and talking to a trusted member of staff there and exploring whether there is somewhere else that L can be referred to? Or where you can get some help for yourself now?

  2. I don’t profess to know all the pros and cons of the various treatment options, but what I do know from reading your blogs is that you are a FANTASTIC mum! Someone once said to me about you, that “everyone should have a mum like OMM”, and I definitely agree! Thinking of you and sending lots of love. xxxxx

  3. I am so so sorry to hear how hard things are. It doesn’t take much to see that you are an incredible mum and this blog is testimony to that. The view that this is your fault is such outdated practice. If anything, inpatient can feel like a bit of a sanctuary- which may explain why L wants to stay. If they’re not forcing her to complete meals/ drink replacements then it sort of allows you to live with ED whilst feeling contained. I remember getting to a point where I would rather stay on the ward than go home because at home mum- rightly- pushed me whilst anorexia screamed at me for not fighting her whereas on the ward it was safe and structured, I ate non-threatening bland hospital food, was left free to purge and could placate anorexia by saying to myself that I had no choice. What I’m trying to say is that the fact L has chosen not to come home may well point to the fact that you are anything but the problem. Thinking of you all always xx

  4. It definitely isn’t your fault. You’ve always done everything you can for all your children in their best interests. The male nurse at the unit sounds absolutely vile and extremely unprofessional. We have seen cases to professional bodies based on that sort of behaviour.

    What Becca says above makes a lot of sense to me. L is avoiding confrontation at the unit, and by choosing to be there, rather than at home, she is also avoiding confrontation with her family. Because at home you all do everything possible to ensure that she eats enough to make her well again. And that inevitably leads to conflict with L.

    CAMHS have consistently assured you that you are doing the right things in support of L. They have seen you at home together, talked to all of you, and still support your way of dealing with the situation. I think what is most disturbing is the divergence of opinion between CAMHS and the unit. Is the “hardcore” unit you referred to a possibility? The current treatment centre seems almost to reinforce L’s submission to Ed. Would a centre devoted specifically to the treatment of eating disorders be more appropriate in the present circumstances and is there a route to pursue to get L to such a place?

    Thinking of you all, but especially you OMM. I recognise the pain that you feel as L’s mother when, despite your very best efforts and constant battling on her behalf, don’t produce the move towards recovery that you desperately hope for. Sending you hugs. xxx

  5. I am so furious at the unit that I’m spluttering swearwords here. Not in any way useful for you, or, in fact , for me so I will stop and repeat what the other comments have said. In NO WAY is it your fault. The unit has a very, very strange way of dealing with AN that is at odds with the evidence base, your experience and knowledge of your beloved daughter, and the local CAMHS team who are presumably their colleagues. What are the options for proper specialist IP care?

  6. It’s not your fault. Yes, everyone reacts to their environment and their influences – and it’s really horrendous for you that L’s style of reaction lies in the self-harm of an ED – but that doesn’t make it your fault, anymore than when she was as a baby and first arrived with such an endearing and engaging character (you wrote about her in an earlier post) was all your doing! She was just made that way. I imagine the roots of my being bulimic lie in my feelings towards my mother (amongst others), but it is not her fault. My Mum was an amazing, intelligent, loving, fair and kind woman – my way of turning my feelings in on myself were just that – ‘my way’. L is lucky she has a mother who is strong enough to love her this well – as was I. I know you might feel it might be your fault – go ahead and feel it – but, for the record, you’re wrong. Strength to you, sister x

  7. I am thinking of you. Most definitely not your fault. Cannot understand how some people can work in MH.
    Things wont be like this forever.

  8. Echoing everything everyone else has said. And thinking of you, sending long distance hugs to both you and L … wishing that somehow, someway, a better situation will emerge.

  9. This made me really sad. As someone whose parents did not challenge my eating disorder I have always found it deeply touching to read how passionately you fight for L – fighting an eating disorder is painful enough when it is your own, when it is someone you love it takes incredible strength and courage to balance challenging the voice of the ED with assuring the individual that they are loved and accepted. To me, it always seems that you do this beautifully. Echoing what several others have said EDUs can be helpful but can also be a bit of a sanctuary in some ways… The hardest (and most rewarding) parts of recovery happen in real life. The really infuriating thing in all this is the (all too familiar) inability of different NHS services to communicate with each other and develop a joined up and consistent approach that works for all of you… I wonder if you are able to access an alternative EDU? In Devon, there is some (limited) choice around Exeter vs Bristol I think, is there anything similar that you could do? The Exeter EDU (Haldon) is really good in my opinion… (and they definitely do require weight restoration).

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