A story about getting help…
“When our daughter Lorna* was 13 she became ill during the summer holidays, she began exercising; cutting down on the amount of food she ate; vomiting and using laxatives. When we became suspicious of an eating disorder, she denied this adamantly, although by this stage the weight loss was becoming obvious and her periods had stopped. Lorna confided in friends about her condition and they contacted her guidance teacher who immediately let us know. Within a few days, I took Lorna to our GP who immediately referred us to the CAMHS team who diagnosed anorexia nervosa.
We were seen very quickly as things were deteriorating at home. Lorna was furious that everyone had found out about the anorexia. Within weeks of diagnosis she stopped eating completely; drank very little; and vomited after eating anything. She was self harming; her mood was low and she felt suicidal. We had intensive support from the community team and her GP, however the situation had reached a point where this was no longer enough. We felt completely helpless watching our daughter dying in front of us. She had changed so much that it was like having a stranger at home.
Eventually Lorna had to be admitted to the inpatient unit. Immediately a team of caring professionals were able to take over her care and keep her safe. She refused to eat and required a feeding tube. We started attending the Carers support group which was another huge help for the two of us. We heard other parents stories and we realised that we had done nothing different to anyone else at the meeting. We also realised that as parents, we were not to blame. Other families experienced hospital admissions, while others were battling on at home. It was great to be able to speak openly and not to be judged by anyone. Everyone there understood. Six months on and we still attend meetings for support, advice and education about eating disorders.
After input from nurses, doctors, psychologists, dieticians, family therapist, occupational and art therapist; Lorna has maintained a normal weight now for 2 months. She is excited to be back at home and we are continuing treatment with our local CAMHS team. I hope that we can continue helping our daughter choose the right path; however, I know our friends at the Carers meeting will be right behind us and that helps us as we know there is no quick fix to this illness"
*Names have been changed
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