Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia by Harriet Brown

By Harriet Brown

I've by no means had anorexia, yet i do know it good. I see it in the street, within the gaunt and sunken face, the bony chest, the spindly fingers of an emaciated girl. I've come to acknowledge the flat glance of depression, the hopelessness that follows, necessarily, from years of hunger. i believe: That might have been my daughter. It wasn't. It's no longer. If i've got something to claim approximately it, it won't be.

thousands of households are laid low with consuming problems, which generally strike younger ladies among the a while of fourteen and twenty. yet present clinical perform ties those families' arms in terms of assisting their young children recuperate. traditional clinical knowledge dictates isolating the sufferer from the kinfolk and insists that "it's now not concerning the food," whilst a kin watches a toddler waste away ahead of their eyes. Harriet Brown indicates how counterproductive—and heartbreaking—this process is by way of telling her daughter's tale of anorexia. She describes how her kin, with the aid of an open-minded pediatrician and a therapist, helped her daughter get well utilizing family-based therapy, often referred to as the Maudsley procedure.

Chronicling her daughter Kitty's disorder from the earliest indicators, via its terrifying development, and on towards restoration, Brown takes us on one family's trip into the area of anorexia nervosa, the place hunger threatened her daughter's physique and brain. yet wish and love—of the standard, family-focused kind—shine via each selection and motion she and her kin took. Brave woman Eating is vital examining for households and pros alike, a guiding mild for a person who's dealing with this devastating ailment.

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Additional info for Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia

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Kitty laid her head in my lap the way she used to when she was a toddler. Lately she’d been both insecure and clingy. She reached for my hand constantly, wanting to link arms, walk in step. She hovered when I cooked dinner. Was this normal, I wondered? Weren’t fourteen-year-olds supposed to be pulling away? She did spend a lot of time alone in her room, where she’d created a rigorous gymnastics training regimen that involved doing hundreds of push-ups, V-ups, and chin-ups a day. And she was out of the house four or five nights a week at the gym, practicing with her team from six to nine, eating dinner by herself every night around five.

Kitty’s illness wasn’t about the food, but we had to try to get her to eat. It wasn’t about the food—but she was starving to death. Though I respected my friend the therapist and her years of experience, her words made no sense to me. With each day that passed Kitty was disappearing, mentally as well as physically. She was hysterical, emotional, fragile. She couldn’t think straight, couldn’t sustain simple conversations, let alone express or “work through” feelings. If it wasn’t about the food, then why was she so irrational about eating?

Five or six times a day, she sat at the table and faced down panic and guilt, terror and delusions and physical pain, and kept going. And she emerged on the other side. After months of being lost, she came back to us and to herself, and the world took on color and sound and meaning once more. Between 3 and 6 percent of all teens deal with an eating disorder, whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or the all-too-common ED-NOS, or eating disorder not specified. Many more struggle with other devastating illnesses, both mental and physical: Schizophrenia.

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