So here we are again

I am sure that I speak for many when I say that the desire for a loved one to recover from a mental health condition is so overwhelming it borders on the delusional. You want so much to believe that it’s true that you pretend it is.  

I have stopped pretending that L is better. Throughout her illness she has excelled in her capacity to deceive – not through any malicious intent but to try and keep everybody happy.  Even at the worst of her illness I have been astonished at a young woman who can lie sobbing on the floor one minute and chat cheerfully on the phone the next, or beam at her father who has unexpectedly dropped in and ask him how he is and tell him that she’s fine. It’s partly the stigma that does this – her desire to be well, to be ‘normal’ and free from this illness overwhelms her too, so much that asking for help is more difficult than coping alone. She pushes everyone away, including me, and I weep for how lonely her life must be as well as feeling helpless. 

Her illness has morphed into new cycles of binge/purging. I am sceptical of her use of the term bingeing but her description of eating everything in sight, of even foraging in the food bin seems typical of the starved body being so fixated by food it will eat and eat only to be swamped by self hatred and disgust leading to purging through vomiting.  This is a dangerous cycle – a person at a healthy weight can suffer a heart attack due to the chemical imbalance triggered by the forced vomiting. She is also profoundly depressed. Before leaving for university she attempted suicide and it was only her psych team that persuaded me it might be ok for her to travel far from home to start a new life.  I believed with good reason that the services at university might be better than the woeful adult services at home and that she would access them. But L wants so much to be ‘normal’ that she delays making appointments. My threats to withhold any finances fall on deaf ears and she eventually sees a doctor only to wait even longer for the ED service. Her depression becomes worse and she is scarcely able to sleep at night and instead spends nights either in the library or out drinking – a seesaw of excess that only creates more turbulence in her life.

It is five years since she became ill and I feel no closer to her getting better and with each year that passes I lose more hope. And so does she.  For her, it is over a quarter of her life. Every second of her journey from puberty to adulthood has been spent dealing with an eating disorder and I know she no longer believes she will get better and sees little point in living. I have tried strict, controlling mum; calm, caring mum; trusting, hands-off mum; begging, pleading mum – and the truth is that nothing has worked. I feel I have failed her and worst of all I feel a constant bereavement for the life this clever, funny, beautiful young woman should be living. So I’m back here, to write about life and to ask for help.  Because I really don’t know what to do any more and that scares me more than I can say. 

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4 responses to “So here we are again

  1. Sending you love. I am in the same boat. I could have written what you wrote. In fact, I was startled to read my thoughts on front of me on my cellphone. I am so, so very sorry to read what you are going through. My heart breaks for you.

  2. Dearest OMM, i remember your first ever blog post here and me reaching out to you. I want you to know that I am right here for you, again, always…. holding your hand… desperate to hug you and Sending so Much Love xxxxxx

  3. Hello one more Mum.I read your blog over and over with increasing feelings of sadness and distress ,yes about L ,but also about you.I hope you can understand how difficult it is for me to put my feelings into words here,but no way could I just ignore it. How swiftly the memories of those tough tough times rush in.we all tried,we all cried,confused and desperate,longing for a solution .The impact on all of us was immeasurable . Of course I want to help if I can but everything has changed.I know your friends will support you but if you just need someone to sit and listen and be there …you know where I am.

  4. Just wondered if you had an email I could contact you on? My email is below if you did want to reach out. Can’t say I can help but maybe can offer some words?

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