Switching Off

Since L was admitted, our relationship seems to have deteriorated. I was glad she at least made a choice about her treatment and I have tried to respect that. It isn’t easy to sit at mealtimes watching the clock, but we do it. However, L has gone from being able to eat meals reasonably well at home to struggling with anything. Because we follow the unit routine, she only needs to wait thirty minutes, and the food goes in the bin.

On her unexpected weekend at home, she manages ok refried bean redecoration notwithstanding. On a lunchtime visit after a dentist visit, she eats scarcely nothing. She doesn’t even try. And this evening at home, as part of her afternoon leave she eats a spoonful of potato and some peas, plus the strawberry garnish on the lemon shortbreads I made excitedly, still stupidly believing something I prepare with care and love might make her eat. It doesn’t.. She sits while I beg. She sits while K begs. She pulls at her hair and stares at the floor and nothing happens. The food goes in the bin. Except the chicken, which goes to the cats. They at least feel as if they have won. Along with Ed.

But even worse, I stop caring. I feel too ill. After nearly four weeks off, I need to get better and get back to work. And that will never happen while I have to deal with L’s illness. It has gone too far, the screaming sense of failure is too strong and too loud. Nothing I do makes any difference. So I have decided to do nothing. Perhaps she might eat for her father or The Boyfriend. They can deal with it. There is nothing left of L any more it seems, only anorexia. And I don’t want anorexia in the house any more. I have had enough. I am closing the door and closing my heart. Because it’s Ed or me. And K needs me well again, even if L doesn’t.

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6 responses to “Switching Off

  1. Feel for you OMM. Only L can make herself well. You’ve tried so hard, nobody could have done any more. But now you must concentrate on your own recovery. That’s the most important thng. Return to work can come in due course. But, unless you are well, you can’t do your job properly. Nobody could. So for now just focus on yourself, and the other people in your life who both love and need you. You’re a great Mum, but you are just worn down and worn out. You can, and will get better. But you need time and space to achieve that. Love and hugs sent your way xxx

  2. I feel your pain, I’m in the same situation with my daughter after 8 months in patient and extensive outreach help we still find ourselves in a bad place when it comes to food. I gave up work stupidly thinking that would cure things obviously I was wrong and now I’ve become emotionally detached to protect myself. I too have decided not to stress over food but am made to feel guilty by family members who say I give in to easy but what’s the alternative, scream, shout, cajole, sympathise etc to have it constantly thrown back in my face. I feel like I’m fighting a battle not only with my daughter but an unknown entitiy in the Ed. I too am tired I dream of running away I dream of a time when our family life can be like that of others relaxed and carefree. I feel like a terrible mum and a heartless witch when I ask myself when will this end, there has to be more to life for us all than this xxx sorry to rant xxx

  3. And I’m sure you’ve not stopped caring. You’ve simply run out of the ability to actively do anything more to help L for now. You still love her and care about her just as much as you always have. But you are ill yourself and that prevents you from being active in her care at the moment. Let her father deal with the situation and devote what little energy you have to yourself xx

  4. Hi OMM and Liz, I too can empathise with you! much daughter was in same position just 12 months ago, I was at my wits end. My daughter is a thriving, lively young woman again since having treatment at a centre in London. She was intravenously fed for 7 hours a day for 7 days with vitamins and amino acids, after the first day she made the decision herself to eat and not be sick. It was like a Lightbulb switched on in her head, it happened that quickly, no one forced her to eat, there were no tears, it was all very calm. I wish you could meet my daughter so she could tell you what it was like. There is no where else in Europe that offers this treatment, it had only been open for 4 weeks when we went. I took a risk by going there with her but I can honestly say it saved my daughters life. It is a private establishment and doesn’t come cheap, but I would have sold my house if I had to, to save her life. I’ve mentioned this to you before OMM and it breaks my heart every time I read your blog. I just think that some methods work for some people and other methods work for different folk.

  5. I just came across this site and this comment trail and so much rings true with my experiences. My daughter had anorexia, she was 18 at the time and weighed 6 stone. I gave up my job, I couldn’t cope with the constant demands and I was just empty, exhausted, ill and broken inside. I needed to get better, but couldn’t as my daughter’s illness invaded every part of my existence and destroyed everything and I was twisted with anxiety, worry and deep deep loneliness and isolation. Her anorexia was tied to values and control. It controlled our lives and it controlled her and she controlled us.
    Over time she got better, but it was a cruel cruel journey that stole so much from my family. I got better too, but neither the illness, my depression or the struggle will ever really leave. It is etched on my soul, scratch and I fall again.
    It was the letting go that made the change, we just let go of the struggle to get her to eat and somehow the control shifted and she started to eat. I also let go of my distorted priorities and reprioritised my life, I let go of the people who I thought were my friends and I let go of my former self. Within this journey I lost alot but gained alot more, I don’t know whether the daughter I have now is the daughter I would have had had she not been ill. But I have her now, and, at one time, I thought we would lose her.
    There is hope, it takes all sorts of different things for different people, but there is hope. x

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