It’s been over a year since I’ve visited my own website. l’m back with an update and some reflections over the past year. Last time I updated you, my daughter had just been discharged from a specialist eating disorder unit. Sadly, a few weeks later she was readmitted under section 3 of the mental health act.
After a number of months of pain and trauma for her and us, she was discharged on the 3rd September 2021. I am over the moon to be able to type that she is in active recovery and is still at home with us. We celebrate every month of being at home, in recovery, and cherish that time we are able to spend together as we had two years of our lives stolen from us due to anorexia.
She recently came off meal plan. Something I was extremely anxious about. As a parent managing her meals, I was worried that without the structure of meal plan, I wouldn’t be able to protect her from anorexia and relapse. We’re almost one month into her eating “normally” and whilst there’s still room for progression, she is managing okay. I remind her on a daily basis that progression not perfection is what she needs to aim for.
She turns 18 in June – I feel pretty old – and I am working hard with her to gain the experiences of “growing up” that she had lost due to a heart condition and then the anorexia. We’ve got two holidays booked for her with friends for when she’s 18, and they’re both huge motivating factors to keep in control of her eating disorder, rather than it controlling her.
It’s really important to note that whilst she is no longer sectioned, or in hospital, she still has anorexia, and probably always will. She will need to ensure that she remembers everything she has learned, uses all of the tools she has gained, to stay in recovery. Relapse is often slow and gradual, but it can be so subtle that by the time it is noticed, it hits hard and fast which makes it more difficult to help and support the person with the ED. As her mum, I will always support her wherever I can, but something I learned was that it’s her recovery and she will only walk that path when she is ready. That was a hard lesson to learn – as a parent, you want to protect and take away the pain of your children, no matter how old they are.
I’m getting back to my recovery
My daughter being ill has impacted my already rubbish mental health hugely. It triggered feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, shame, and blame. My mental health has taken a huge battering and up until recently, I was ignoring its decline entirely. I feel like I couldn’t begin to heal myself when my daughter was struggling so much. My thoughts were of constant worry, of the fear of losing her, and I felt guilty for even thinking about myself during this time.
For the past 2 months, I have been working hard on my mental health. I’m currently entering month 3 of schema therapy, which has proven to be the most challenging, yet eye opening therapy I have ever done. My psychologist confronts some of my sore beliefs, contains my fear, and gives me the courage to allow my vulnerability to be exposed without it being a shameful experience.
We have some real issues in the UK with the mental health system under the NHS. I am considered “too ill” for primary services and “not ill enough” for secondary services – the only reason I ended up with schema is because of the sheer amount of people just like me sat in the black void of services. Luckily for me, my psychologist has agreed that I need EMDR to process historic trauma and I will be given this after the schema therapy. If it wasn’t for her, I know I would be in a much darker place right now.
I am learning about myself, re-learning who I am and what I like and don’t like beyond trauma. Shedding it’s pain and re-building a picture of me without it. I’ll commit time to write some blogs about mental health, stigma, and share some of my poetry as that’s part of my own therapeutic process.
If you are struggling, please reach out, there is no shame in struggle.
Until next time.