Thursday, 5 August 2010

Maudsley again

We are off to the Maudsley again this afternoon.  Just Waif and me - my husband is working and Older Daughter is on a course.

Waif's goal was 46kg but she weighted herself yesterday and was 43.5kg so we are going to miss that target by some margin unfortunately which Waif will find hard.

I appreciate my commentators telling me to treat this seriously.  I can assure you that I do!  I have given up a year of work to devote myself to making Waif well and it dominates my day, every day.

On the other hand, I also feel that for long term recovery, and for her own mental health, Waif needs to have a life OUTSIDE and APART from anorexia.  I want that side of her life to grow and the ED part to shrivel.  Waif's weight loss in France was, she says, not due to her not eating everything she was offered.  She blames it on her need for SO many calories to maintain her weight and she did not have access to the limitless chocolate bars we now have at home (I try to remind myself that teeth are secondary to survival).

The whole experience was part of Waif's non ED life:  she saw how other families live ( including 5 hours of dictee and other school work on weekdays throughout the Summer!) and improved her ability to mix with others - negotiating with the cousins where she was not given the special privileges accorded to her at home owing to her status as "not well" and "not to be upset" - and improved her French.  

So, it was a difficult call, but all in all the French Exchange was a worthwhile interlude.  I am NOT saying that her weight loss was acceptable BTW and she will not be going on the Christmas Ski Trip unless she is 48kg by then.

We saw an incredibly thin girl walking in the park today.  Waif and I both agreed that she looked really dreadful - skin and bones, poor girl.

"I am not that thin" said Waif, slightly tentatively.  And indeed she is not.

"No" I agreed "but you were honestly like that at Christmas when we were all so very worried about you.  You look so much healthier and more beautiful now."

She does.  

Her skin now has back its youthful glow and the mottled purple veins on her thighs and arms have disappeared.  I hope she too looks back at photos of when she was skeletal with horror and not with nostalgia.

In fact, this morning someone in a shop suggested that Waif takes up modelling.   Hmmm.... whilst I am aware that any connection with the model industry would be disastrous for anyone with ED, I am using this as an aid.  Waif knows that she would need to be a good 4 inches taller than she is now to be a model, and she knows she must eat to grow.  Short term, therefore, perhaps I can use this to my advantage.

We went to my in-laws earlier this week and Waif's grandparents reckon she looks fine now.  Hmmmmm..... at 43.5kg I think she is JUST still in the anorexic range and without doubt underweight. They were trying to be kind and friendly but I am worried that they can believe that Waif is currently an acceptable size.  I had to explain to them that long term recovery is strongly linked to reaching a proper 100% target weight which they no doubt would consider fat but that Anorexia has a 25% death rate and that all I care about is Waif being healthy not, in their opinion, slim.  Their judgment is very difficult to cope with.

Waif's Grandpa you might think to be slim himself but he is not!   He has always been very tubby.  He just believes that girls should be tiny.  He looked very shocked when I said that Waif needs to put on another 5kg before we go to maintenance.  Waif's Grandmother seemed to take that on board a little and plied Waif with chocolate brownies when she went out for surfing lessons in the afternoons.  Also, to be fair, her Grandpa cooked her steak and chips with Bearnaise sauce (all home made).  Yum.

2 hours to go........


  1. Aww, everything seems to be genuinely improving for you - yay! :) Honestly, I partly agree with the previous commenters that it's important to take this seriously, but really, I think you are already. You're exactly right that whilst you need to be vigilant, it is also best not to stifle Waif with the over-protective mentality and be constantly 'treading on egg-shells.' Sometimes (at least once you are emerging out of the danger zone, healthwise), it is best to tentatively allow greater freedom, so that her life is normalised again. Her attitude is evidently improving too; it is so encouraging that she could recognise the emaciated person in the park was unhealthy and had little desire to return to that state! Let's hope she keeps it up, all the bset.

  2. **best. haha sorry, typo. :)

    Oh, and I also just want to comment on the friction about the grandparents' unawareness. Perhaps their mentality stems from simple ignorance? I am sure that, as her grandparents, they love Waif dearly and would want the best for her. Maybe you could have a frank chat with them and explain the reality of recovery; it would be truly awful for them to make such comments in Waif's presence, as I know from experience that that can make you backtrack suuuuuuch a long way.

  3. Just wanted to echo the above commenter - pleeeeease make Waif's grandparents aware the damages a rogue comment could do. I'm sure they mean well but I could write a list of comments my gran said to me during recovery - some over a decade ago that stay with me.

    I imagine Waif has always been a slim girl genetically and it may be a suprise to them the size she needs to be to stay well - that doesn't mean the size is wrong - just they aren't used to seeing her that way. Prevention is far easier than cure here!! You have great awareness.