Thursday, 5 August 2010


We have the metrics from the Maudsley.  Waif has grown a cm and lost 0.3kg but the psych was reassuring about that saying it would be two steps forward, one step back and the graph is going in the right direction.  She also said that growing uses up lots of energy so some weight loss is not surprising, although it means our target is going up.

She gave us the choice of the last week in August, or the third week in September for our next appointment.  We are being brave about going it alone and plumped for the end of September.

Waif was in tears at the appointment as I knew she would be, at the weight loss because she feels she has given it her best.  I know she has, and now she is home I know she will put on more weight.

The psych caught me on the hop by asking what meals I cook.

Sigh, I am not very imaginative.  We generally have McDonalds on a Monday (fishburgers), salmon on a Tuesday as it is delivered that day, some sort of chicken the next day - usually roasted with some lemon and garlic or in a creamy sauce or as fajitas ( I don't eat meat so have refried beans in my fajitas), some sort of vegetarian dish on a Thursday like Thai noodles, cheese and tomato toasties or pasta pesto, then some kind of red meat on Friday (? bolognaise, lasagne, steak, sausages).  Then there will be a curry on Saturday night and a roast on Sunday.

I can see I should expand my repertoire!  It will be easier in September with Older Daughter away as she is the one who dislikes rice and pasta so we will be able to have dishes like risotto and ravioli.

Apart from whether Waif has put on weight or not, we do not seem to discuss much at the Maudsley. It seems to work on the weightwatchers principle alone.  There again, Waif has no obvious OCD tendencies, trauma or underlying depression so I am not sure what else they could work on. I guess I don't care HOW it works, I just care THAT it works.

Hmmmm... I do appreciate how very lucky we are that the world leading centre, the Maudsley Hospital, is on our doorstep and available to us for free.  I can't imagine how I would have tackled September to December  2009 without that crutch as I had faith in them.  I know I would always have fought for the best possible provision for Waif, and did stuff at home too (taking a break from work, moving her to a new school) but I am lucky that te best treatment landed on our laps so easily.  I am glad we didn't go for the private route (we have insurance and so could have chosen this) which would have involved in patient treatment at The Priory.  Being an inpatient, whilst sometimes vital, sounds miserable and life altering, without being wildly effective long term.  Whilst Waif has spent considerably longer putting on her weight (goodness, 10 months to put on 7kg), she is now in good eating habits and I am fairly confident that she will not relapse in the near future - whilst she is still at home, that is.


  1. Oh bless Waif! Poor thing - the growth upwards however is brilliant! Anorexia can seriously hamper height and that's great she is still growing.

    What a shame the Maudsley only focus on weight - I'm really suprised and quite speechless really!

    You are right - inpatient is very miserable and life altering but sometimes very important too - however the fact you have taken time off work to take care of Waif is just incredible - and I'm sure in time she will be in a state to leave home and cope with her eating alone. Baby steps.

  2. I honestly feel anorexia can never be treated as a purely physical issue. There is (almost) invariably an emotional element - this is not necessarily intense trauma or major depression. It can be simple personality traits that turn on the sufferer. With Waif, I remember you mentioning she is a) perfectionistic to an almost painful and maladaptive level; b) has issues with respect to control and separation - sleeps in your bed, was at one stage very concerned with when and whether you went out, etc. [Sorry if this is a misinterpretation, and I definitely don't mean it in a derogatory way; on the contrary, these can be lovely qualities in themselves; it is just the anorexia that makes them turn on us.]

    I suppose it's hard to discern whether these are underying traits, or merely created/exacerbated by the way anorexia affects one's mind and emotions. Nonetheless, it could be rather good to sort out, do you not think? Take care

  3. Thank you for such thoughtful and thought provoking comments. Yes, Waif is a complete perfectionist and also suffers from separation anxiety and I am sure those have contributed to her illness but I doubt they will ever change - we just need to teach her coping strategies. In fact, I had a chat with Waif yesterday as she was doing 3 hours of Henry V notes for a module she is taking next term. She was very cross at the thought that I might stop her working (I wouldn't). It's difficult for me because instinctively I applaud her perfectionism - she gets so much done, achieves such great results and is a general whirlwind - so I worry that I subconsciously encourage it, but I absolutely wouldn't wish it on her if it is to lead to unhappiness.

  4. Perfectionism - I wish I had some advice on how to let Waif "let up" on her work just a little. I guess if it does not dominate her life then it could become a positive factor.

    But it can spiral so only perfect is ok - I'm sure it isn't you encouraging her - it's just an innate trait in Waif I guess. Maybe it will improve as she shifts away from anorexia and finds some outside interests away from studying etc? It sounds like she will go far in life either way.