“Perhaps we should reconsider the refried bean option” says K, as she cleans them off the kitchen cupboard. I think about this as I remove the combinations of beans, cheese and potato from various parts of the floor. The table is also splattered and Willow the cat sniffs hopefully, but retreats on establishing the absence of meat. A dog would have it cleared in no time. K goes on to say that it always seems to be the beans that are thrown and last time they were found in parts of the kitchen for weeks. She may be right, but these were requested by L, specifically.

In the corner, curled up against a cupboard is a thin, sobbing girl. Screaming and swearing were followed by attempts to smash her way out of the house, restrained by K and I. We have no training in this. K is distressed later when she recalls grabbing L by the throat to pull her back from the door, but this was panic and fear, not intention. The girl is now wailing softly and resists all attempts to soothe her. We have removed the medicine cabinet as this was the first place she ran to and it is hidden in one of our usual places. All sharp knives have been removed and later when C prepares dinner, he will have to find them. In a short space of time, the crying girl will become my daughter again. We help her from the floor and to the sofa, where she returns to a foetal position with her face away. Her father calls to see her and attempts to speak sense to her. K and I complete the clearing up, J completes a master class in eating and C arrives home. I make a protein shake to replace the lost meal and ask L’s father to help her drink it. He says the unit advise her to calm down first – he called their helpline. I go in again and see he is checking football scores on his phone. Resisting the urge to pull it from his hands and smash it, I go to L. She allows me to hold her and I sit there with her. C brings the shake back and I tell L she needs to drink it. I say I know how she feels, as if she just wants to die, because every single little thing is too hard and hurts too much. I say that I feel just the same and if there was a way the two of us could sleep and never wake up, I would sometimes joyfully do this, but what stops me is the devastation it would cause to others and while I may think dark hateful thoughts about myself, I cannot ignore that others love me and need me to keep going on. So, I get out of bed, when it physically hurts to do so and I keep carrying on, sometimes better than at present, but I keep going. And so must she, and this means drinking this glass of milk shake. She holds out a hand for it and slowly it goes. Her father comes back into the room with K and congratulates her, telling her she’ll be eating a four course meal soon. I see K’s face wince in a “Why doesn’t he get this” way. Then L and I sleep, on the sofa, wrapped up in the usual furry blanket. This is the way we live now, accepting the chaos and misery as part of our day to day lives, cleaning up food, hiding knives and other means of harm, hoping that one day things may change. But after two years, you really do start to wonder.


4 responses to “Aftermath

  1. I hope this comment reaches you, I’m typing it from email because that’s my only communication right now (no internet for websites). This hits home because I know things can get better, as hard as it is to see from where you are. I was once in L’s position and ironically today I did eat a four-course meal, with no difficulty I might add, and little thought to calories. I continually feel blessed to have made it this far but I know L can too, if she keeps remembering all she has to live for. Please know I think of you often and read all your posts by email. I suffered from anorexia for more or less five years. But now things are different, I don’t know how or why, but I do believe that under the right conditions the brain can heal itself. For you and L it’s just a case of creating the right conditions and the brain will do its work, that’s what happened for me. I believe in you! I’m rooting for you!

  2. Things really WILL change – and this from someone whose family has not beaten the illness completely and can’t say “look at us we’ve beaten it” because it is still there, fighting, winging, taking up too much space in our lives – but it is quieter, and we ARE still working on getting rid of it completely. We now have lots of laughs, as well as the occasional rages and tears.

    Meanwhile the unit really MUST work with you all on a plan for the next couple of weeks that they can stick to. Her father isn’t able to provide 24/7 support – that’s OK. It doesn’t make him a six winged anti-Christ, just a fairly normal bloke. You and C need respite, and anyway you’re going to be out of the country next weekend. That’s OK too. It’s an example of good parenting of your other daughter, and good self-care and you both NEED to be able to get on the plane/boat/train, turn all mobiles off and enjoy your trip.

  3. I hope things really improve you for you all. I hope you all get peace, quiet and rest on the trip and when you get back you are refreshed.

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