Well truth to be told, it was never really gone. And truth to be told, I never really felt like it was in spite of my darling Emily's very exceptional acting abilities. Upon reflection, I think there was maybe a five week episode, following the hospital stay, where healthy Emily was stronger than the E.D. Then we went to the cottage for five weeks and the E.D. got stronger and stronger but the restricting got harder and harder so binging and purging silently took up residence with us for most of our time away.
Once again, I found myself observing behaviours that seemed unnervingly familiar. And once again, I was chalking them up to adolescence in the face of Emily's exasperated "Really, I'm fine Mom" responses to my queries. Apparently 'really I'm fine' is code for 'the E.D. is alive and well'. But a few days after our return home, Emily bought two items at the grocery store that screamed 'Hi it's the E.D., remember me?' - rice crackers and cup of soup. And like a combination lock tumbling through the right sequence of numbers, all my little nagging thoughts clicked into place. My mind reoriented itself to look through the E.D. filter and reality took hold. I was standing in the kitchen, kind of verbalizing my stream of consciousness in real time, and I saw the look of sad agreement on Derek's face and knew he and I were on the same page.
We had a team meeting set up in a few days but I wanted to let Emily know that we were gravely concerned so that she wouldn't be blindsided at the meeting. I took the opportunity to mention a couple of my concerns to her, which she refuted at first. But I like to think that I saw a little bit of relief in her. Relief that the cat was out of the bag, or perhaps that now she didn't have to go it alone.
She said that she didn't want to talk about this to anyone so I was the relieved one at our meeting, when Dr. C, was able to draw her out of her fierce reluctance to disclose her thoughts and feelings. But what poured out of her was so very hard to hear. The anorexia voice has taken over her thinking 24/7, she is engaged in full blown restricting, although thankfully the purging has stopped.
Dr. C, has given her four options and four days to consider them. She can continue restricting, try to stop restricting on her own, try to stop with the help of the team and us, or go back in the hospital. She has been given an exercise to use to help her make her decision. She is wandering around the house in the E.D. fugue, unable to distract her mind from the 'voice' to get any relief, unable to eat, unable to stop thinking about eating, unable to choose health and life over the power of the E.D.
She told me last night that she still can't believe that this is happening to her. She is embarassed and ashamed and doesn't want to let everyone down and she hopes that people won't find out. We are in holding pattern until Tuesday when she has to make her decision then the team will instruct us on how to move forward. I think that if she chooses to let us help her that we can implement the 'magic plate' strategy and bump up her team interaction to help get her back to being strong enough to give the E.D. the heave ho, if not for good, than at least for a while. I wish I could stop her suffering and mental anguish, it is the curse of motherhood to not be able to kiss it and make it better.