Today it is L’s Review. I am invited and attending. Despite nearly oversleeping ( yesterday was my first day back at work and I was exhausted) I am on time and hopeful that this might move things forward, particularly for L and me. But I have hard things to say. I tell the review group that their decision to bar L from eating or sleeping at my house cause me huge emotional damage. I also say how estranged L and I feel. L disagrees with this but I look her in the eye and say that this is about me. I feel estranged from her. I no longer know what to talk to her about,whether I can ask her certain questions or do certain things with her. I tell her how much it hurts that she can break the rules of “All nights at Dad’s and all meals at Dad’s” for meals and nights at The Boyfriend’s, other friends but not to spend time with me. Last Sunday, after a lovely evening together she told me she needed to have her evening snack at Dad’s and stay there. Even though her Dad called her up and said she should stay at mine as he was at work in the morning, she stayed there. I feel like a poisonous presence, as if sleeping under the same roof may cause huge damage to her, as if she might breathe this poison in through her sleep, while I just yearn for the comfort of her steps in the morning and the knowledge of her sleeping in her room.
How did we get like this, I wonder, and I ask if someone can explain what I did wrong, but no one can or does and I give up. We talk about leave and L asks for a week night at home. I hope so hard that I think everyone else will hear the pleading in my head that she will say she would like to spend the night at my house. But no, she means home.
Nothing anorexia has ever done has hurt as much as this. No screaming psychotic episodes have caused the same pain and they have passed, but this continues, day after day after day. After the review I try to explain to the therapist why this hurts so much but I don’t think she understands. And part of me is angry; I have tried so fucking hard to do the right thing, to take control, to give L control, to beg, cajole, bribe and plead and the result has been to be discarded, to be removed from her world and ask to sit waiting on the subs bench until I am called. During that time my credit card might be needed for flights away with The Boyfriend or concert tickets, but I will still watch while her father talks about their time together and how much he has learned and how much he finds talking about football and bands helps, while I sit and wait. And wait. And wait some more. At the end of the review, we agree that there will be flexibility, that L will decide when she feels like perhaps spending some time with me, possibly even a night at home.
Back home, I cry and cry and feel pulled back to that dark terrible time again. Enough. Waiting is hurting me, leaving a wound that never heals, save for an hour’s visit when it begins to feel better and is then ripped open again as she leaves. Actually, I deserve better. So do K and C. I make an enormous decision. I call the unit and speak to her therapist and I tell her to let L know that I want her home so, so much, but I can’t live in this state of limbo and that it risks making me seriously ill again. So, I need certainly and I will assume that as L appears by all her acts and deeds to want to live with her Dad, this is what will happen. Her remaining things will be packed and delivered there and while that will cause immense pain, it will at least be certainty, with the knowledge I need to get over this and move on. Possibly to a new life with K and C. I stress again and again to her therapist that I don’t want her to leave, I want her home, but this state of unknowing is intolerable for my own mental health. And K needs a mum who is well and strong. I need to get back to work, knowing at least this is something I do well. I only ever wanted to love, support and help L to get better. It turns out that perhaps what she really may need me to do is to let her go. I need to be brave enough to do that.