So, once again, we are left with the feeling that Anorexia is the bane of the health service. It seems that almost every time I am contacted it is because the ‘system’ is letting people down, letting our children down. No one really wants to bother with an illness that is so impossible to comprehend, so incredibly difficult to have an impact on and requires the cross over of mental health and physical health with the inherent cohesive working which appears repugnant.
It is perhaps in some ways easier to stand and chat with your nurse colleagues than it is to sit with an ill teenager who is determined to expend calories even knowing that the risk to her heart is potentially fatal. It is easier to ignore that ‘freaky looking’ kid who we don’t want to have on our ward let alone have any input with. Much easier to stick with those who do not choose to be ill, do not bring it on themselves, do not have fads and fancies about their appearance. Well yes! It is easier but that is for you. This child is being persecuted by a mental health illness. Each sidelong look you give her leads to a huge chain reaction of spaghetti head, of thoughts out of control and rushing around their brain. Thoughts that you see such a gross and overweight person that you cannot bear to look at them properly. Judgemental thoughts that are uncontrollable. They have no basis in your mind, but that is not the same for them. That’s without going into details about comments to parents and patients which are at best ill informed and unappropriate and at worse disgusting and ignorant.
If anyone ever wants to get any kind of concept of the pain and irrational thought processes then watch the Louis Theroux documentary about Anorexia Nervosa. It gives a true reflection of what it is like to have to deal with what so often is a lifelong illness, early intervention is recommended under MARZIPAN but of course, that doesnt happen often as GP’s dither, CAMHS dither and the only one running around is a parent who is being treated as either delusional or the cause of the problem. Yes people it still happens. As you can see I am very upset that no matter what is done nothing changes. I am not going to stop doing all that I can and will be on the fundraising trail again soon!