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Sunday, 10 November 2013


Talking with My mother in Scotland yesterday afternoon bought me up short and I felt sad.

Her daughter, the one so badly treated by Ayr CAMHS, has been admitted to the wonderful Yorkhill in Glasgow, for observation. She came home for weekend leave this weekend and life fell apart for poor MiS, with high anxiety, food refusal, meltdown from sibling and a general mush up. Eventually, after a chat with me, the hospital, supportive "been there, done that, it passes" emails from the amazing Feast UK team, the crisis passed.

There will be another. And another. And another. They will get easier, shorter, less threatening and eventually morph into just plain grumpiness. MiS will find these crises easier to manage, will stop reacting to the anxiety with anxiety, move on from this hellhole, get a life back, watch her daughter thrive and grow.

Just now, as the team digest the ridiculous defence by Ayr & Arran NHS of their non-treatment of the child and thinks about the next option, I had forgotten that on the end of this pile of paper and emails and self-congratulatory pats on the back for how well we have done, how well presented our complaint is and how strong our case, there is a mother who has been to hell and I haven't quite pulled her out yet.

I reread the Complaint Letter answer from Ayr & Arran and wondered how they can try and justify "effective and on-going treatment" by claiming that a child, who had presented to them as falling from the 10th percentile for weight in her age group to 0.4th percentile, was receiving such treatment because, under Ayr CAMHS, she hadn't gone any further down the percentile for two and a half years.  Really????

I have compared recovery from an Eating Disorder to the Chilean miners before. Can you imagine being strapped in that capsule and being hauled up?  My idea of hell. All that inky blackness, suspended on a thin cable, being pulled up by some unseen person - your life in their hands stuff - wearing sunglasses, no control at all. But yearning for sunlight and freedom.  Every second of that journey must feel like a lifetime and a millisecond at the same time. I think it feels like this for MiS too.  And I forgot that for a few days - that there is a real, loving, terrified mother in the middle if all this and that it is just the beginning for her.

Throwing starfish sounds all very worthy. I need to remember to throw them far enough. 


  1. You also need to remember that you can only throw them as far as you can - and we, the rest of the world, including CAMHS and complaints teams, need to step up to the plate and continue to waft them further and further out from the rocks.

  2. By the way, it sounds as if the poor mother and child are having a terrible time. Is anyone, other than the CAMHS team who failed to diagnose her for so long, surprised at this given that the poor child has an eating disorder?

  3. Don't beat yourself up Charlotte - you have done and are doing an incredible job for the lovely Mum in Scotland. Your own plate is full to overflowing and yet you are still giving. Perhaps, in the midst of everything, you could remind yourself that you are also, only, like the rest of us, human. Massive love to you, N. xxxxxx

  4. That's very moving, Charlotte. You may think you lost sight of her emotional turmoil, but you were there on the phone for her. That was precious.