Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Steady as she goes

Waif topped the scales at 41.4kg.  This is 6kg above her weight at her second visit in October so we have made steady progress I am pleased to say.  The psych said that she is no longer "dangerously" thin  :-)  :-)  :-) and we are down to 3 weekly appointments.

OD was more cynical, reckoning that Waif had in fact lost weight since her last appointment 2.5 weeks ago as she was "holding a lot in".  Waif did indeed have a visit to the Ladies as soon as the appointment finished and the psych had disappeared down the corridor.  Regardless, she is still a stone heavier than a few months ago and that makes all the difference in the world.  She is still skinny, and too thin to look or feel her best, but not looking as if she might be about to expire.

I saw a friend last night and she said that she knew a woman who had had anorexia when she was young and that she now walks with a permanent limp because her hip did not form properly due to a calcium deficiency.  She was the daughter of a chef.  She says that if only she had known the damage she was doing her body at the time.  I wish that people like that, with experience, would go and talk to girls (for it is usually girls) at schools with rampant eating disorder problems (many of the high achieving, private London day schools) and show them the lasting effects.

Basically, Waif has begun to recover since she changed schools.  OD is still at the school that Waif used to attend.  Their attitude towards food is very odd.  Older Daughter was to have a lunchtime detention yesterday, the upshot of which is that she would not be able to have lunch (admittedly, this is the combination of her losing her pass AND having as detention, but IMHO the consequences of mislaying your pass should not be starvation).  The detention did not happen in the end (the teacher was away, perhaps trapped abroad by volcanic ash) but by then it was too late to have lunch.  This means that OD will no doubt miss another lunch on the day of the replacement detention.  She will therefore not eat between 6,30am (breakfast) and arriving home at 5pm (or 6.45pm if she has an after school activity).  This does not send out the right message on the importance of nutrition and, personally, I think is a disgraceful position for a school with an acknowledged reputation for having girls with anorexia.  When I tackle the school on the subject, they claim there is time between lessons and detention to get food.  If you talk to the girls at the school, they say that due to queuing and queue barging, there is not time, and that if you have forgotten your pass the teachers send you to the back of the queue anyway and you cannot eat before 1.15pm which is after when the detention starts.

This causes me to remember a conversation I had 6 years ago with my psychiatrist friend about schools.  She advised me against sending my girls to this school because, she said, she spent too much time counselling girls at the school with anorexia.  I had forgotten that.  How right she was.  I am glad tha Waif is out of there and that OD is leaving at the end of term.


  1. I visit schools as part of my job, in Australia, and tell them about my journey to hell and back during my 18 years with severe Anorexia.
    Jennifer xx

  2. I just discovered your blog and it has touched me, since Waif's story resonates very strongly with my personal experiences of anorexia when I was thirteen. (I'm currently recovering and seventeen.)

    Wonderful to hear she's making progress - hopefully it continues, as she deserves so much more than submission to a life-draining disorder. It was quite chilling reading your blog and recognising all the familiar patterns - the elaborate and almost-involuntary labyrinths of deception, the conflict between appeasing parents and complying with anorexia's demands, the emotional strain, and the meticulous, over-diligent personality.

    I suppose what struck me most about the initial stages of recovery you’re describing was the sense of life being transformed into a tense quest for survival, where figures and individual movements gather such significance.

    I want to encourage and thank you for being such a beautifully caring mother to Waif. I remember resenting my mum and perceiving her as interference, so challenges are inevitable, but I hope that ultimately your diligence will be rewarded.