Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia

 Mark and Maddy Austin in Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia.

It is a month since Mark Austin made a TV programme about his daughter Maddy’s anorexia. He has done this to point out how hard it is to get treatment when a child begins to waste away. The Duke of Cornwall got involved as well, but has it changed anything very much- not yet. It was brave of Maddy to take part in this programme. I wonder how she really felt about it. I wonder how she is now, if her anorexic voice has gone away.

Mark and his missus told us a harrowing story about how they coped with Maddy’s anorexia. How his wife had to sleep with Maddy to keep her safe, to make sure that she didn’t die during the night. How he told her to go away and die if that was what she wanted, in frustration at how powerless he felt. There is a line in the book ‘Heart of Darkness’ which speaks to me about anorexia. The Horror; The Horror.

We are all so glad that Maddy found the help she needed at an eating disorder clinic in Surrey which nursed her back to health. But I am left wondering exactly what the nurse practitioner actually did and said to her. So I am left frustrated, wanting to know if there is some sort of secret about anorexia recovery that despite all my years of experience, I haven’t found quite yet.

We had a phone call today from a mother whose daughter has  anorexia for 7 years. They exist in a tormented relationship, mother trying to help, daughter lashing out, sick husband living on the sidelines witness to a daily living hell. For years I felt I didn’t have the courage to work with anorexia, now I do, I am not afraid to face it. I have to go so deep down to find the person who has become its prisoner, and from time to time come to the surface gasping for air. The air is always there.

 

The Guardian

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