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Letter from H (2009)

July 2009


I have had anorexia for a long time and recently got diagnosed with high functioning autism (basically, autism along with a normal-high IQ).

It’s hard to say this as I’m not all the way better yet, so it’s scary to articulate it. But it’s important.

I got lots of (useless) ‘treatment’ in the hospital. But the thing they didn’t seem to realise (which I find pretty odd) is that all I really needed for them to do was to completely remove any choice I had about eating. To make that not even an issue – to just make it utterly impossible not to.

Because only when I was relieved of that burden of choice would I be able to move any further than food.

In the end, it has been a very difficult journey that I and my parents have had to navigate in spite of the so-called professional help. Now, I am so terrified of ever returning to the hospital that that fear alone is enough to make eating feel compulsory. But it shouldn’t be this way. I am an adult age now, so it’s hard for my parents to really take the control they could have when it started. But they didn’t know what to do for the best, and believed that the doctors knew better, so – unfortunately, but understandably – they listened and did as they were advised.

Also you have to start things early on, or things just get so messed up that then you have a lot of other stuff to untangle, too. You have to start with children for it really to work best.

I really just want to say that, as someone on the ‘other side’ of things, I agree with what I’ve read of your ideas. The most frustrating thing (for everyone) is that the one thing I (we) can’t bring myself do is to tell anyone what would really truly help me. Because the part of me that is sick is terrified that someone will actually do it and that I’ll get better. It’s infuriating when part of you wants to get better and yet you can see that what they are doing is just exactly the wrong thing, and yet you feel utterly paralysed and unable to tell them so. In fact, the sick part of you actually tries to steer them as far as possible in the wrong direction, and unfortunately fear makes you come up with some pretty elaborate and effective methods.

Sorry. I’m going on a little. That’s it. Just. thanks. All I (we?) really need is gentleness along with certain absolutes that can’t be negotiated.

Then the gentleness can be used to help deal with the pain we have to go through to deal with eating and weight and all of that so we can come out the other side, instead of wasting a bunch of dead time negotiating and playing pointless games and slowly dying in the process.

God. I’m not even sure I can send this. It’s so scary to write this down even. Boy. I am SO messed up. OK I’m just gonna hit send now, before I change my mind.



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