My daughter was 13 when she started to restrict and lose some weight.
She became medically unstable quite quickly. Her GP didn’t have experience with Eating Disorders, so we didn’t have a great understanding of how bad things really were.
She was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with anorexia, but discharged after 12 days. We were sent home to do a version of FBT which helped her put a good bit of weight back on over a few months but her mental health worsened significantly.
We were given a referral to CAMHS as her FBT therapist didn’t feel she was the right person. There were other things going on – she had started self harming, and had suicidal ideations.
The FBT approach didn’t work for us unfortunately, as she is extremely stubborn. Until she decides she wants to recover, that stubbornness will continue to work for evil rather than good! It’s a merry go round…
…I never did like merry go rounds!
A huge impact
Our lives have been hugely impacted. I took 6 months off work to care for her, until my sick leave ran out. Around the time of her third admission, I decided I’d had enough of anorexia ruling my life. It was time to start getting back to my life. It is certainly a different life to the one we led before her eating disorder, but I know it won’t be forever.
I have gone back to work 2 days a week, and am slowly working on getting my own small business up and running.
Anorexia is still very high up on the list, but it is no longer the ONLY priority.
It just can’t be.
I’ve learned a lot and changed my outlook. We had a family trip away recently which she missed as she was in hospital. Perhaps in the earlier hospital admission I would have cut it short, but now feel it is important that the rest of the family have to continue to have a life and we aren’t completely ruled by her illness.
The relationship between her and her brother has been hugely affected. There are still glimpses of it there, but it is much more strained.
Finding people who ‘get it’
I have new friends I have met through the facebook group and/or hospital who are wonderful to have in my life, even though some I haven’t physically met.
We are all going through similar things and there’s no judgement, and certainly no comments like “is she just doing it for attention?”
Black humour serves us well…who else can laugh about the ridiculousness of “I can’t swallow that one tablet” when they’ve previously managed a whole box in one go!”
She sees a psychologist at CAMHS weekly, which is her biggest support. Our GP has given me a huge amount of knowledge, and the strive facebook groups and carer support meetings are invaluable.
I look forward to going to work on a Wednesday and leaving my husband at home to deal with the day. I take the approach that this is what it is, and as much as I’d like to, I can’t make the choice for her to recover. Although it’s not her fault she has anorexia, it is her responsibility to make the choice to get better. I can’t do that for her.
And it’s not forever!”
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