Laura Willmot dies from anorexic collapse one week after being sent home by her doctors.
In another world, a millionaire’s ex wife freezes to death in her car after her wine binge. In a barely noticed throwaway remark, her husband noted that “we ate separately, she was always on one sort of diet or another”. Living these separate lives, the couple drift apart. Had they remained together, she would not have met her lonely end in the cold.
Most people are going to be drawn toward the sad demise of Laura. Her untimely end simply brings about more questions;
Why, – when family treatment is known to be so helpful in anorexia, does her right to confidentiality trump the continued involvement of her parents? Anorexia is KNOWN to be a particular kind of madness, obliging sufferers to avoid treatment or accepting only that kind of treatment that is never going to work. Even if someone is biologically 18 years of age, we KNOW that anorexia freezes emotional time, and they are probably just as old as they ever were when they first became ill.
Why would a psychiatrist Dr Herzig trust a patient to make her own decision, knowing that her brain is dulled by lack of nutrition and a shrieking anorexic voice.
Why doesn’t the NHS insist on enteral feeding over and over again until the patient has the strength and the will to fight their illness or get sick of repeated hospital admissions. If we can just keep someone alive for long enough, they do fight their illness and they do struggle toward a life of better health and more connection. It takes a long time, but it does happen.
Where anorexia is concerned, Laura’s case highlights the fact that intractable anorexia is a devil to treat despite all the lovely new theories we have. However I have seen some desperate cases recover. One lady I know spent almost 18 years in and out of hospital, but started to get better shorly after I spoke to her. I’m still not sure what I did. She is now on my training, learning how to help others in a proper way.
Where dieting wives are concerned, please stop it. Eat with your partner and with your children. Celebrate your lives with food, talking, sharing, whatever. Don’t let diets rule your life.
Two lives wasted. It doesn’t have to be like this.