From the Guardian (Weekend):
What I’m Really Thinking: The Mother of An Anorexic:
“At least it’s not cancer – you know, something serious,” my mother says helpfully on the phone. I feel cruel as I tell her anorexia has the same mortality rate as many childhood cancers and a longer treatment time. Eight months in hospital at the last count, and another admission looming.
I’ve always been keen to feed my children well. I breastfed, cooked my own purees, insisted on vegetables and fruit, banned fizzy drinks and insisted on family mealtimes with no TV or phone. Yet feeding my daughter is the hardest thing now. I feel people watch us in supermarkets as she hovers over cereal bars or looks for the rolls that hours of internet searching told her were lowest in calories. Mealtimes are now dreaded and endured, yet we soldier on. We hover anxiously outside bathroom doors asking her to keep talking so we know the precious food she has eaten is not vomited up, induced by her slender fingers jabbing in her throat. How do I explain to colleagues that my late arrival at work is the hour I spent coaxing down a slice of toast?
What will heal her damaged brain is food and weight gain, yet we are swimming against the tide. Every food is labelled with calories, each magazine rack screams warnings to any young woman that weight gain is to be avoided at all costs. Our spectre is not diabetes, but osteoporosis caused by a puberty arrested by weight loss. Our voices can’t be heard above the din of received wisdom, so we huddle on internet chat rooms for warmth. We discuss science and strategies. But the sad truth is, we desperately miss our children and we want them back’.