Well, I’m here to talk about my friend, Inês, who died with pneumonia exacerbated by anorexia.
A few days ago, we talked with her mother, Ana, and we asked her if we could use a text that she wrote explaining all the process. So, I will try to explain with Ana’s words how the day-to-day of an anorectic is, and how the family and friends suffer with the disease.
« When I found that Inês suffered from anorexia, I went into a whirl of emotions: confusion, insecurity, fear, anger and, of course, the feeling of guilt that leads to the inevitable question: "where do I failed?". And is in this state of stunning general that we need to get the action: to seek expert help, seek all the information that we can to clarify the doubts and calm the restless spirit. and then follow up consultations of various specialities, the conversations, research, the tips, advice and, with all this, increase the doubts, insecurity, fear and awareness that, after all, we did not know anything (or almost anything) about the disease.» tell Ana. She refers that, nowadays, the information of eating disorders is very trivialized and it’s very easy to us to think that we know the causes, the symptoms, the different cures, but she thinks that only with an experience, we can forget that false evidence. »
Many people, think that anorexia is a disease for week people, a fashion disease, a whim, but people who think like that is because they don’t know how the disease is, they are some kind of ‘ignorant’.
« An anorectic patient lives in a huge emotional roller coaster: ranges from moments of great anger and aggressiveness and emotional moments of great grace: sometimes shows great maturity and emotional denotes a supposed autonomy, now has behaviors that indicate an intense desire to return to the comfortable safety of childhood. »
« In the early days of illness, moved more by emotion than by reason, I did everything wrong! See my daughter to eat less each day that passed, losing weight at a frightening pace, called for deeper maternal instinct: the need for super protect, monitor, control, pressing, require. Thus, impose timetables, set menus, was accurate in the intervals of meals and the issue of food came to dominate all our conversations. (...) Our surveillance, even discreet, only increases the resistance, our pressure only strengthens the unwanted behaviors, our control only increases the need they feel to maintain its own control of events .(...) Eat becomes an unnatural act, to become a moment of suspicious glances and mutual accusations. The simple question "what did you eat today?" is perceived as a serious interference. »
Ana said that « We need a great mental discipline to maintain the normality of conversation at the table when the meal of our son (daughter) comes down to an apple or a glass of water (...). It is not easy to pretend that nothing is happening when we feel our son (daughter) vomiting in the bathroom. »
« The first difficulty with this whole process is to convince the anorectic that he(she) has a problem. Without this awareness, it is difficult that any therapeutic strategy results. When this obstacle is overcome, they must accept the need for treatment, which is not easy. Ana also tells us that she thinks that anorexia causes intense internal conflicts, « It is as if they were actors in a battle between a healthy part of the mind that, rational and consciously, struggle for survival and a life with health, and other patient who stubbornly pursues the objective that must be achieved at any price. »
« The strong showing is also targeted to the practice of excessive exercise. Even when they are already malnourished, weak and lacking in energy, deliver to the exercise with a great sense of discipline and duty. Inactivity is avoided at all costs: to sit on a sofa is almost perceived as a sin. »
« The humor is deeply affected. They feel sad, depressed, often questioning about the meaning of their lives and have difficulty experiencing the joy and relaxation of colleagues and friends. They get tired easily from the conversations and come to be hostile and aggressive. »
« The consequences of malnutrition are in the mind and body by the day. Besides the obvious effect only through special examinations, it is remarkable that people become slower and apathetic, have difficulty sleeping and wake up very early, the skin becomes dry and wrinkled, low body temperature considerably, making them more sensitive to cold, and the hair falls to a frightening pace. Only I know what I suffer when I was drying my daughter’s hair and realize that her strong and beautiful hair was now a mere memory. »
« Although, we knew that the internment was a possible thing, something in our unconscious was referring this possibility to the area of "only happens to others." (...) This ghost, which for so long was away of our mind, it appears now as the last chance to reverse a situation that was already becoming unsustainable. Unfortunately, this time turned out to precipitate the expense of a pneumonia that has seen her as an easy prey. The doctors assured me that what took her life has nothing to do with anorexia, but I am convinced that if she wasn’t so weakened she would have overcome this tragic struggle. »
I would like to thank Ana, because she has been so patient with us and let us publish this text.