He watched her sleeping.
A baby again,
With not a care in the world.
But the moment she woke,
Her world would cave in on her.
Make it almost impossible for them both to breathe.
Never had he felt so helpless.
He tried to help.
He’d coax and cajole.
Just a mouthful…
He’d try to understand,
See things through her eyes;
But before too long,
Care would make way for desperation,
And they’d be screaming.
Because he couldn’t bear to watch his baby die.
To watch her starve herself to death,
And ravage her body with laxatives.
Because she couldn’t bear to lose control.
To submit to the weight gain
Needed if she wanted to live.
Both of them desperate.
Neither wanting to hurt the other,
In inflicting deep pain.
Both had aged,
Ravaged by her disease.
He must not let it win.
He must not.
This much he knew.
Of the rest,
He was less sure.
This is one of a series of poems I’ve written for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2014. It’s from the point of view of a father, loved ones often feel very helpless when someone they care is gripped by an eating disorder. Many end up with mental health issues themselves.
You may find the following helpful:
Beat (the eating disorders charity) helpline – 0845 634 1414 – can be called by loved ones as well as sufferers
Beat message board for people with a loved one with an eating disorder.
its so sad and true. the desperation, loss, looming doom. 😥
so sad.. x
Another enlightening poem Pooky. “Both desperate; Neither wanting to hurt the other; Both succeeding” this is what stayed with me.
Thank you Peter – I was worried those lines would be ambiguous to others but they were the most important to me too so I didn’t really want to change them. x
Oh this is o powerful and sad Pooky.
Can you tell me, do you think these disorders have always existed (I know alcoholism has but was never treated as an illness) or are the eating disorders a result of modern world influences? xx
I think they’ve always existed. I think they’re more prevalent now and may take different forms but I’m almost certain that in some form they would always have existed. There is some evidence of anorexia like illnesses recorded in the 12th and 13th century if memory serves…
Moving, as always. Reminded me that it’s not only the EDer who’s affected and who suffers
that can be easy to forget when you’re the one at the centre of it, but I’ve spoken with many parents, teachers, friends, siblings etc over the years who’ve been torn apart… The evil thing about an ED is that it totally changes the sufferer’s personality too.
Yep, totally agree. For me, it wasn’t until things were ‘out in the open’ that I discovered how many people actually cared about me.
You’re right, EDs are evil and insidious
Très grave pour toute la famille
Un journaliste français a vu sa fille mourir en se laissant mourir de faim ! Il n’a rien pu faire