DIARY OF AN ANOREXIC: MY GIRL’S MESSAGE
Anna, 54, was devastated when her daughter Loredana lost her brutal battle with anorexia. Now, five years after her daughter’s death, Anna has read her intimate diaries and finally got an insight into her girl’s struggle…
Hugging my daughter Loredana goodbye for the day, I couldn’t help but notice how fragile she felt in my arms.
She was 16, fresh faced and had just joined a dance school. Talented Lorry had always wanted to be a dancer – ballet in particular was her passion – so I was thrilled when she decided to commit herself to it.
But one day, she came home with a concerned look on her face.
‘They’re all much thinner than me, Mum,’ she complained. ‘I think I need to lose a bit of weight.’
I was heartbroken. Slim and pretty, Lorry had always loved life and loved her food too. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way she looked.
I insisted that she was beautiful exactly the way she was, but Lorry shook her head. Little did I know that day was the beginning of a change which would grip my daughter tight and never let her go.
Soon, it seemed that food became Lorry’s enemy. She began studying the nutritional value on everything we picked up in the supermarket, and began cutting her food portions in half.
I prayed that it was just a phase – all girls have confidence issues at a point in their teenage years, I just hoped Lorry would see sense soon enough.
But the weight starting falling off my beautiful girl at an alarming rate. Lorry tried to hide her shrinking frame but even her sisters Natalina, 29 and Gabriella, 23 and her brother Vittorio, 18, noticed Lorry fading in front of their eyes.
Her bones stuck out and her energy started to diminish. Mealtimes soon became a nightmare as Lorry would take hours to eat a meal.
‘Don’t you want any more?’ I would ask, eyeing Lorry’s half eaten meal. ‘I’m full,’ she’d shrug as she left the table.
We’d always been so close but soon, we started arguing every day as I tried my best to make her eat. But nothing we did or said worked – I felt utterly helpless.
Finally, in June 2005, Lorry was admitted to specialist treatment centre, Rhodes Farm in London, weighing less than four stone and with a BMI of just 12. Lorry was scared – she didn’t want to ‘get fat’ as she called it, but we agreed between us that it was the best thing for her.
‘You’ll be fine,’ I whispered to her on her first day at the centre. ‘You will beat this, and you’ll get better and be back home with us soon enough.’ As I said goodbye, I found myself crossing my fingers that Lorry would get better – she had to.
While at the centre, Lorry kept a diary documenting her fight with the eating disorder. She poured her heart into her account of her disease, and it gave her a private place to be honest and frank about how anorexia had gripped her.
Thankfully, six months later, in December that year, she was discharged weighing around eight stone. She glowed with health and a new burst of energy – and we dared to hope that Lorry was on the mend.
She still needed to be supervised while she ate, but the outlook seemed a lot more positive. Lorry spoke about how she wanted to be a make-up artist, showing she was making plans for her future, and I was thrilled to have her back at home where she belonged.
But in May 2006, she developed a chest infection which resulted in her losing a bit of weight, and her obsession with shedding the pounds reignited with a vengeance.
I thought my heart would break as I watched my daughter waste away once again in front of me. Family time around the table became unbearable as Lorry point blank refused to eat.
I felt frustrated and would often scream at Lorry, accusing her of not caring about what she was doing to the family, or herself. I felt awful afterwards, but I just couldn’t understand why she’d lost all control.
She went back and forth to various clinics, but by February 2009 my beautiful girl’s organs were shutting down and when she developed liver disease she was rushed into hospital where tragically, she suffered a heart attack and died.
I was stunned. Lorry was gone, forever. Anorexia had claimed her life.
The next few years passed in a blur as my family was plunged into deep grief over the loss of somebody who gave us so much to live for.
I cried daily for my girl, and struggled to understand why her desire to be thin had taken over her life in such a cruel way. It wasn’t fair.
It was only recently, five years on, that I’ve been able to read the diary she kept as she was battling anorexia. Despite years of supporting Lorry through her battle it was only reading it through her own words that I got a true insight into what she went through.
Anorexia occupied her every thought, her whole being. She described her illness as being out of her control.
My stomach twisted in a sickening knot as I read the words: I hate my life and my body – why do I have to be fat. It’s not fair, I want to see bones.
She’d scribbled entry after entry, where she’d simply written: I just want to be thin.
At the time, I couldn’t understand how she’d lost control of her own body, why she couldn’t get better. But I feel now, through looking through Lorry’s eyes, that I finally understand her battle.
Of course, it’s too late for Lorry but I want some good to come from the diary documenting her death. Lorry thought she could live with the condition, she thought as long as she was thin, then she could live her life with anorexia by her side.
But she was wrong. It’s a killer – and I want other sufferers to read her diary and know just how deadly it really is.
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