Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A review of 6 months at the Maudsley

It is about 6 months since Waif started to attend the Maudsley. I felt such relief when she started - we were in the hands of professionals. No, I didn't expect instant solutions but I was opimistic of full recovery within a year. After all, Waif is young, we caught her quite early and she is going to the leading centre in the world for eating disorders.

Before each visit I find myself optimisticlly expecting a weight gain as Waif seems to be sticking to her high calorie mealplan. Sometimes she has put on a few hundred grammes and sometimes she has lost a few hundred grammes.

On reviewing my blog, I see that in 6 months, Waif has put on precisely 1kg whilst she has grown about 2.5cm (I will have a precise height figure tomorrow). This is not good enough. In fact, it's pants! She needs to gain 9 or 10kg more. Something has to change, only I don't know what. I will start by pointing out these stats to Waif.

I had been umming and aaahing about whether Waif should be allowed to attend a 4 day residential engineering course in April.....I originally said she could go for 2 days (which is one night so no full day without me seeing her eat) but I have now received the timetable and see this won't work: Days 1 and 2 the teams are picked and design their projects. Day 3 they do the build and Day 4 is the presentation and competition judging. She must go for all 4 days or not at all.

Can I set a limit perhaps? There are 4 weeks to go. Perhaps I will say she can go IF she reaches 4o.5kg by then (that would be a gain of just over 0.5kg a week). I wonder if that is setting her up to fail. I wonder if it is fair on the course organisers - I know there is a long waiting list? I wonder if it is just what she needs to focus? I wonder if in 4 days there she could lose all 3 kilogrammes of weight gained in order to go?

I will ask the psych tomorrow at the Maudsley.


  1. practically speaking16 March 2010 at 10:23

    it seems to me if she is ever going to gain weight then sooner or later she is going to have to be set, and buy into, a weight gain target. Most likely a weight gain that allows her to do something that she wants to do.

    otherwise, if she has no weight gain goal, how is she going to gain weight?

  2. One of the difficulties with anorexia is that being scared of recovery is a symptom, which makes it really hard for a person to keep up progress if left to their own devices. That doesn't mean that Waif will never recover, but it does mean that she is unlikely to see a reason to get and stay better without some sort of structure, goals, outside motivation, that sort of thing. It sounds like you've done everything you can think of so far and it's great that her illness hasn't gotten worse, but I can't begin to imagine how frustrating it must be on the other side of the fence as a parent. I know in my case I needed to see clear reasons to fight for recovery before I got anywhere. Eating disorders seem very illogical from an outside perspective but the fears they create seem absolutely real, huge and terrifying to the sufferer. I was ill for 12 years and now I'm virtually recovered, so there is always hope!