Anorexia....an absolute nightmare of a condition and the great sadness is that it can start from a very early age.
A few years ago I met a thirteen year old girl, who had been abusing herself since the age of seven.
That’s when she started cutting herself. She also drank nail varnish and nail varnish remover!!!
Why, because she felt that was the only control she had in her young life.
You see she had watched as her father dragged her mother along the floor by her hair. She had listened and witnessed the horrible abuse her father had inflicted on her mother and there was nothing she could do to stop it, as young as she was, she had tried...
But she could hurt herself without them knowing, she was in control...it was her secret and hers alone.
And that’s what anorexia is all about...Control.
It’s a mental health problem of the worst kind because it often goes unnoticed unto its to late to change the long term outcome.
It needs to be helped and stopped as early as possible. If left this illness can and does last a life time...often a short life time.
Read or watch in DVD the Karen Carpenter story.
The cutting and the abuse my young friend was inflicting on herself turned to not eating. The not eating turned to bulimia
The young lady I’m talking about did get the help she needed before she was sixteen. She was in a hospital in a specialist ward for months to get her weight back up and the metal health intervention she so desperately needed.
She will walk a tight rope for the rest of her life, as the condition never completely goes away. The slightest emotional upset could set it off again.
Its cruel, it destroys families and it kills the most beautiful people.
I think I also need to mention the young people this illness is most likely to affect, are often very high achievers. They demand excellence in themselves. In other words A stars and nothing less will do in all their exams.
I’ve been witness over the past thirty five years to a few heart braking cases and all I want to do today is give out an alert, a heads up so to speak.
The tell tale signs are obvious. The fact our young people don’t want their food, they lose weight, they lose their lustre and become quiet and secretive. With young girls, their periods stop and they start growing facial hair. I’ve got to be honest if its got this bad, the young person is in real trouble and professional intervention is desperately needed.
You need to ask for professional help as soon as possible. The problem I’m having at the moment is that the first port of call for help would be your doctor.
Just last week a mummy told me she had taken her thirteen year old daughter to the doctors because she wasn’t eating and she was losing weight. The doctor has organised for her to see a councillor in about three months time (no urgency here) but he didn’t even weigh her.....sorry but that’s not right. The doctor seems to have completely missed what is going on and now mummy is very worried and so she should be.
Again there are problems at home. The father has left the family to be with another woman in another country and has told both his daughter and his son he doesn’t want to spend time with them anymore!
Please please if you know of any young person who you think might be vulnerable to this horrible condition, try and alert the closest family member.
This is the only illness I will not deal with on my own. I want professionals involved before I will treat as a patient. But the sadness for me is that I often get this problem before the professionals have been asked for help and it’s up to me to get parents to seek the help they need.
Please remember, it’s a mental health disorder, not a physical one.
My prayer on this occasion, that my words may help a young person that I will never meet in person.