Eating disorders aren't just a 'girl thing'

On this page you can read an excerpt from my book: 'When Anorexia Came To Visit: Families Talk About How An Eating Disorder Invaded Their Lives'.

"I knew that eating disorders were manipulative but I never really understood how much damage they caused to the family. There I was, living under the same roof as my daughter, yet it was as if I no longer recognised her. I'd often go to bed wondering if she'd still be alive the next morning." 'When Anorexia Came To Visit' contributor

From the back cover:

Getting your child through an eating disorder is one of the toughest things a parent can face. In When Anorexia Came To Visit 20 families talk frankly to author Bev Mattocks (Please Eat... A Mother's Struggle To Free Her Teenage Son From Anorexia) about the effect that anorexia had on their lives.

Excerpts

'When Anorexia Came To Visit: Families Talk About How An Eating Disorder Invaded Their Lives' by Bev Mattocks

"When I look at Molly I want to show her to every desperate parent who has just discovered that their child has an eating disorder and say: 'This is what recovery looks like!'"

"'Can you try and eat an apple?' the GP asked. I sat there open-mouthed. Lindy had almost stopped eating by this point. And, anyway, what difference would an extra 40 or 50 calories make?"

"It's as if, all of a sudden, my daughter trusts us. She will now let me hug her. She'll talk, she'll chat and she's eating really well. Emotionally our 'little girl' is back with us again. It really is incredible."

"These days, she'll come in with a takeout, just like anyone else. She'll grab a burger here and a pizza there, or sit down in front of the telly with a tub of ice cream. She is just a really happy young lady."

"I explained that we would never let her die, that we loved her and that she was too wonderful to lose. So whether we did it at home, in hospital or through a tube, we would ensure she got the nutrition she needed to get well."

"Eleanor took the information she picked up from appearing on Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny and, by sheer willpower, applied it to herself. She refused to give in to the illness."

"'Just how far will you go?' I asked my daughter. 'There is no end,' she said. Terrified, I promised her there and then that, whether she hated me for the rest of her life, I was fighting for her very survival."

"I could see the consultant making notes, concluding that anxiety was the problem in the family and that our son was feeding off this atmosphere. Well of course we were anxious! What parents wouldn't be anxious?!"

"The A&E nurse said: 'I'll go and get you a glass of squash; it won't be too much.' And there I was trying to explain that my daughter wouldn't even drink water, let alone squash."

"We parents know we have to get our children to eat. We know what they need to eat and how much of it they need to eat. The problem is, how do we get them to eat?"

"As a parent, I have not felt listened to during the whole of my daughter's illness. We may not be 'experts' but we still know our children best. And eating disorders appear to be one area of medicine where parental opinions are regularly ignored."

"I remember going out to a restaurant and Lauren ordering a huge meal and a massive pudding with ice cream. It really was amazing, because she ate everything she was served up!"

"I can't tell you how desperate we were for someone to come and talk to us about the illness - to explain what we could expect, what was normal and what wasn't. We kept waiting. But there seemed to be nobody."

"With someone like Lydia who doesn't handle change well, continuity is vital. But, at 18, patients are cut adrift from the treatment team they've come to know and trust to face the mysterious new world of Adult Services."

"These days Karen will spend time with friends and will eat what they are eating. They'll have a pizza, even go across the road to the chip shop and have a deep fried Mars Bar. Who would have thought it?

"While our child is being treated, we are busy learning too. And, unlike the professionals, we have no-one coaching us. All we have are books, internet sources and anyone else we can find whose brains are willing to be picked."

"I needed someone to hold my hand and tell me how to help my daughter but no-one seemed to have any answers. I felt totally helpless, isolated and very frightened. It was overwhelming."

"Through the ATDT forum I realised that the re-feeding nightmare... the long periods sitting around the table, the awful atmosphere, the anger, the crying and all those things... were normal."

"My son's anorexia helped me realise what is important in life. Many things seem so trivial compared to what we've been through. You see things in a different light. And that is good in a bizarre kind of way."

"A teacher said: 'Here we are, talking about academic achievements. But, for Rebecca, walking into school every day is an achievement compared to these other students.' That was so lovely. Rebecca nearly cried. And so did I!"

When Anorexia Came To Visit: Families Talk About How An Eating Disorder Invaded Their Lives

"She spent the rest of Christmas Day crying on the sofa. Her sobs were endless and gut wrenching; they didn't even sound like normal cries. All she would eat was instant porridge and raspberries. She spent the next three or four days like this. She even thought we were putting calories in the water. " 'When Anorexia Came To Visit' contributor

What people are saying about 'When Anorexia Came To Visit'

"These stories offer hope and resilience through their honesty and practical advice and will be an invaluable source of support for families." - Professor Janet Treasure, OBE PhD FRCP FRCPsych

"It is thanks to pioneers like Bev Mattocks, June Alexander and others that these stories are being told which will, I hope, help to turn this tide and get these most deadly of all mental illnesses the research, recognition and understanding that is needed." - Becky Henry, Founder & President of the Hope Network, LLC & Award Winning Author of 'Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders'

"If you have a child with an eating disorder, or suspect he or she may have one, this will help you to see what may happen. It offers the stories of 20 different families, yet it's amazing how similar many of the stories are. Anorexia is such an awful illness - and that's what it is, an illness. They can't help it. It's all part of their biological makeup. Sadly the most prevalent issue that arises in virtually every story is the same - some group pertaining to be a professional fails them. Whether it's CAMHS, Adult Services, their GP or someone else. We've experienced the same. But the tips that each mother gives at the end of their stories are extremely helpful. This is an informative, if heart-rending, book. Have had to hide my tears occasionally, especially when reading on public transport. Best to read it in the safety of home..." - Parent

"Sensitive, well written and a must read for families, provides comfort in the absence of help and support. Very Informative." - Parent

More reviews...

"Full disclosure: I have had the honor of meeting many of these families and I wrote an introduction the author included in the book. As an international parent advocate I look for resources for parents facing an eating disorder. Parents are looking for other families that they can relate to, learn from, and aspire to their success. This is just that: 20 families telling their story in easily readable, moving, and colorful tales. Meet these families, and among them you will find a few -- probably many -- that remind you of your own situation. You will not feel alone. You will feel refreshed and empowered and informed. You will also feel hope: there are twenty doses of hope here!"

Laura Collins, Founder of F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered & Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders) & Author of 'Eating With Your Anorexic'

"I explained that we would never let her die, that we loved her and that she was too wonderful to lose. So whether we did it at home, in hospital or through a tube, we would ensure she got the nutrition she needed to get well." 'Suzie', 'When Anorexia Came To Visit' contributor