Monday 26 September 2011

I've been reading Harriet Brown's 'Brave Girl Eating'...

... and I'm astonished at how identical our experiences are. Virtually every thought that goes through Harriet's head has gone through mine in the last 26+ months. Virtually every ED behaviour exhibited by her daughter, Kitty, was carbon-copied in Ben.

Harriet even battles with old versus new treatments (and explores the reasons for opting for the Maudsley Method) and why, when her treatment team claimed Kitty was Weight Restored, Harriet's gut instinct told her she had a bit further to go. Just like us.

Page after page after page, our experiences are virtually identical - right down to us both smashing dinner plates on the kitchen floor when things got too much. It's uncanny.

But reading that book has reinforced my own decision to press on with this blog. Although my experiences may differ from other families', I am sure there will be overlap. I am convinced that other parents will exclaim "Me too!".

Even if my ramblings don't help their children get better faster, then at least it's reassuring to know someone else has been through what you are going through: that you are not 'unusual' in any way in the irrational world of eating disorders. And, most important of all, that there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

Harriet's book also makes me angry. Angry that I didn't get the 100% support I needed from my treatment team when pushing for weight restoration first and foremost which lies at the heart of the Maudsley Method... that passing food control back to the patient too early is wrong and that, no, we can't wait until a seriously sick child "wants" to get better before taking action. I'm also angry that I didn't push harder for this. Harriet did and she got the support she needed.

On the other hand, living in the UK we are incredibly fortunate to have our National Health Service, despite all its shortcomings and seeming lack of consistency when it comes to treating eating disorders in different areas of the UK.

This means we get our treatment completely free whereas Harriet, like so many US parents, has to battle with her insurance company at the same time as battling the ED. Thank goodness we didn't have to do that.

I'm two thirds of the way through the book at the moment, so I can't comment on what comes next. But, like Carrie Arnold's "Running on Empty", I find it hard to put it down.

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