Thursday 2 February 2012

I've just read two really powerful blog posts

The first is this one, from Laura Collins, founder of FEAST and author of this book. The other is from Carrie Arnold, former anorexia sufferer and author of this book.

Both focus on the problem that over-18s / adults have when it comes to eating disorder treatment. Far too much emphasis is placed on the sufferer being able to make rational decisions on recovery. As Carrie says: ' "If you don't want to get better," patients are told, "then we can't help you." '

So no-one does and they're left to get on with life alone.

The result is that many of these people remain seriously ill, with serious consequences.

But, hey, they're adults and society believes they are charge of their own destiny.

Legally, yes, but ethically, no.

Thus far, in our family, we are incredibly fortunate in that Ben, although now 18, has shown no signs of asking us, his parents, to be removed from the equation. He also lives at home. For the time being, at any rate.

And I like to think that we will continue to be involved in his recovery for as long as it takes, whatever the law says.

However I can see that, in many circumstances and for whatever reason, it would be all too easy for someone to refuse or stop treatment - and for the medical profession to allow them to do this, because it's the law.

Which, as Laura sadly points out, can lead to this kind of distressing result.

Of course it would be brilliant if these very sick adults COULD make rational decisions for themselves and "choose" treatment every time. In the same way that, if you discovered you had cancer, you wouldn't think twice about choosing treatment.

But the distressing fact is that, all too often, they can't make this decision.

By law, someone should be able to make it for them.


  1. One of the most hurtful things my mom ever told me was "Do you want to die? Because if you do I'll just send you away so I don't have to see it. I have no empaty for you, you are choosing to kill yourself" My mom was...frusturated (that's putting it lightly) only after two months of trying to get me to eat more, though it worked in a way because seeing her so angry scared me. That being said, most of the time I didn't want to get "better" I didn't want to gain weight, but I didn't want to be as I was psychologically, anxious and scared all of the time, couldn't concentrate, etcetera. I have recovered weight wise (the first time, and the second time for more than half of it) on my own for the most part. Often, reading your blog, and reading the forums on Around The Dinner Table make me very..confused, almost happpy, more sad becuse of all of the caring I can see pouring through these parents and I simply wish my mom could have been that way. More understanding, not defensive and angry always saying it's my fault, letting me do behaviors and then basically just saying "too bad". I do tend to regret the way things have gone, no one helped with school, I just barely got by, I have no idea what I want to do in regards to college, I had no one to help to tell me how to apply to colleges (so I didn't) I couldn't think straight past the hour, let alone that. I still can't really..this started when I was 15, I'm 20 now...and nothing feels different psychologically, which is ironically what was my main reason to try and recover. Sorry for the random rant >80

    1. Thanks for sharing this and commenting on my blog. Believe me, I've been down the "For God's sake snap out of it!" route with Ben at times. Not these days, but definitely at the start when I didn't understand it properly or was just damn frustrated and angry at the illness and what I saw it doing to my child.

      All the best in a permanent and successful recovery. Love BM xx

  2. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is not a choice. Absolutely not. I have never seen it that way. When it started for at age 11-12 I actually said to my mother "I'm scared of this thing in my head that won't allow me to eat and forces me to exercise". We had never heard of AN, in part because it was the 1970s and AN was not really in the public domain.

    It is so, so, so important that the medical profession (and the public) see AN as a real mental illness/brain condition and NOT a choice. It is because it IS seen as a choice by so many that it is not treated seriously.

    Despite being weight recovered I still have osteoporosis and cardiac problems. I discovered the latter today and was devastated. Did I 'choose' to have had this illness? No way. Sure, like most teens I resisted treatment (because I was terrified of changing my behaviours), but this resistance was part of the illness; not a 'choice'.

    When I sought treatment as an adult I had great difficulties getting back into 'the system'. It is true to say that I chose to seek treatment and really wanted recovery, but by then I had been labelled as 'chronic', which is untrue. I am largely recovered from the symptoms of AN, but I still have co-morbidities.