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Tuesday 5 June 2012

Soul Searching - getting back to normal

Exam pressure, tiredness and the gloomy weather have made for a bit of bleak week here, culminating in my children lobbying my mother (and a few of my friends, methinks) to urge me to give up my advocacy work in the eating disorders world.  Their argument is that it is time for me to move on and they want their "Mummy" back to normal.  (See above.  I am slightly disappointed to think that I used to be average...)

Talking to HWISO and my wise mother, I did point out that I feel the "Mummy" they want "back" is really some idealised figment of their adolescent imagination and probably a misty-eyed, sentimental view of when summer holidays were long, hot and always sunny, Christmas was magical and all was perfect in the Garden of Eden.  (I have a slightly different view of the almost intolerable boredom of standing on cold touchlines, endless school runs and a constant 24/7 vigilance required to ensure the safety of the children, the dogs, the house and anyone else who may in the vicinity.)

So we stand at an impasse.  In three years time, both children will have left home and moved on to university or a job or whatever else lies in their future.  I live permanently with the sword of cancer over my head.  Don't get me wrong, I have had the all clear but every ache or twinge or itchy mole - the first thought is cancer and the corresponding torture of treatment.

I wrote to the Fairy Blogmother and she wrote back some wise words to the effect that I was way ahead in the karma stakes, if I wanted to give up now but that it was not a decision that should be taken lightly and I should take time to think about it.  She knows me and my natural impatience well.

I have also received a personal email from Jo Swinson about the Body Image project, wanting me to get involved.  This could be a huge opportunity for FEAST UK to really talk to a lot of people involved in all aspects of this project and to lobby for eating disorder patients and their families, among the corridors of power.  My specific areas of interest are the use of BMI as a measure of health/diagnostic tool and the evidence base for the diet industry (Rocking article from Sue Thomason in the HuffPo) and I do want to make sure that eating disorders are not a short one page towards the back of this issue.  Who knows?  Maybe we could change the world.

So a little less time spent on the internet and a lot less time on the forum, for the moment, whilst I cogitate and ruminate and try to quell my inner Boudicca........................


  1. Anonymous05 June, 2012

    Whatever you choose to do, you stay on Facebook, you stay my friend and we talk every so often of Skype. Why? Because you ROCK.

    I totally get what you mean by you live permanently with the sword of cancer over your head - because I live with the sword of AN over my head. Not quite the same, but I do consider myself to be in remission.

    That sign is right. Normal is average: mean/median/mode in statistical terms assuming a normal distribution. Having always been an outlier, at least 2 standard deviations from 'average' then I think that to be normal would actually be rather cool.


  2. You do rock, Charlotte. All the best in your decision. xx

  3. Charlotte my dearest, you are clearly a women of action and change. That bright witty mind MUST pursue the things that make you feel alive. I think your children will understand that. Letting them know their important to you is something you do with a vengeance.

  4. Anonymous06 June, 2012

    Just a question, darling Charlotte... Why, when you are doing such awesome work as an Expert Carer and on the ATDT forum are you contemplating working with Jo Swinson??? The body image project has little to do with eating disorders. It's about changing society with the objective of making some people like their physical appearance more.

  5. ELT

    As a mother of teenagers, I do think that some of the issues raised are important. There is too much advertising, photoshopping etc etc etc and images (and expectations) of perfection are the norm amongst teenage boys and girls. There is too much pressure to look like a thoroughly photoshopped model and too much emphasis placed on physical appearance by the teenagers of today. The pursuit of thinness and the worship of the collar bone is worrying.....

    I also want to make it clear that the correlation between eating disorders and Body Image (as opposed to BDD) is somewhat spurious. I want to keep a firm eye on the BMI is not a diagnostic tool thing and I so want to be in on the evidence base for dieting.

    I hate being left out of parties.

  6. Darling, you ARE the party!

    Activism is a calling, not a job. We do it because we can't not, usually. It makes us saner.

    Our loved ones - and this includes mine - want us to be "happy" and they often think the problem is the activism. For me, my happiness was stolen by thinking there was something I could or should be doing to help others. Being an activist has not been unalloyed pleasure, no question, but on balance I think I'm far "happier" than I would otherwise have been. But then, my family has offered me the luxury of being an activist and they, as much as I, deserve any credit for things accomplished. I should tell them that more.

    But retiring and moving on is part of the natural order of things, too. I look forward to it.