Thursday, 15 October 2009
Katie left a thoughtful, heartfelt comment on my blog 2 posts ago. I then spoke to my closest friend at work about Waif and she shared with me that she had been anorexic at the same age as Waif (13 years old), and she was keen to share with me how she had been. I was even more keen to hear.
Ironically, we met up at lunchtime - my friend eating a salad, me not as I had an infected tooth implant (now better).
What she said echoed so much the lovely Katie's sentiments: my colleague (now a high flying ex-Oxford city lawyer) said that she had been deeply, deeply unhappy at the time. She said it didn't matter to her when people told her that she would damage her body as she just simply and truly didn't give a damn - she even entertained thoughts of suicide so why would damage concern her? Like Waif, she said she would have duly given all the "right" answers on questionnaires about being balanced and happy. Intelligence is a mixed blessing.
Whilst my friend is now well, and is a mother to two lovely children, she said she was shocked by the fate of some of her compatriots from that time. One friend of hers had a heart attack and died aged 30, almost certainly caused by heart damage sustained when she had been anorexic. She, like Katie, said that she would lie and deceive in order to be able to skip food. She wanted to show that she was in control and didn't need food.
She asked me about my husband (whom she also knows) and whether he shows any affection for Waif. She said that when she was young, she was convinced her father didn't love her, although now, with adult wisdom, she can see he always did. She said he never told her she looked lovely and never hugged her and never told her, openly and straightforwardly, that he loved her. Sigh, this is tricky. I, as an adult, know how much my husband loves Waif. Yet I can see that this may not be clear from her point of view. He is a classic father "What on earth do you think you are wearing? " or "Now how is your homework?" (but only when he knows she is behind) and he does do that male thing of criticising her (and me and older daughter) when we eat: in particular he will say to the girls that they are built "like my mother" and have to be careful to watch their weight. His mother, incidentally is tall and slim although she has reasonably big hips (bones only, not fat). He has stopped that now but perhaps a mindset has come about.
It occurs to me that Waif started getting thin when I couldn't eat in February due to a fall and a broken jaw. I lost weight and went from "slim" to "skinny". Perhaps there was some kind of empathy taking place. I am now making an effort to eat properly in front of the girls.
Sigh, this is silly. There should be no blame, just an enemy (the eating disorder) and teamwork to vanquish it.
Waif has just had her first dose of antibiotics. One is to be taken twice a day (9am and 9pm I reckon), and the other 3 times a day (6am, 2pm and 10pm seems realistic).