Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Invisible Girl.

This is not the sequel to The Invisible Man. This is actually the book I referred to in the previous post. 

The girl is Debbie Barham, a.k.a. D.A. Barham. Peter Barham wrote this book to honour the memory of his daughter who passed away in April 2003 at the age of 26.  Anorexia nervosa was her life-long battle.

People tend to see anorexia nervosa as 'the skinny girls problem.' Like addiction and other psychological illnesses, anorexia nervosa is never just about the illness itself. Treatment must include exploring the personal issues that could actually be the driving factors behind the illnesses. 

In this book, Peter argues that her daughter's struggle has to with her shyness, her torn-apart family (Peter and Debbie's mother got divorced when Debbie was nine months old) and her fragile relationship with mother. In school, Debbie couldn't fit in. She relied on her talent to get herself out of it. She sent jokes to radio shows under the name D.A. Barham. They were really good that the radio people that they were sent in by some middle-age, pub-frequenting bloke. Emerging from within this painfully shy schoolgirl is a dynamite comedienne and writer. 

With the money she earned from her writing, Debbie sought independence and a career. She steadily graduated to the next level, writing for TV. Before she even realised it, she was sitting in the rooms and having meeting with the titans of British TV comedy including Clive Anderson, Bob Monkhouse and Graham Norton. (I only know Graham Norton because I recognise his name from The Graham Norton Show.) Everything looked like they are moving in the right direction.

Everything except her illness. Debbie had lost any desire for food and couldn't retain them. Anorexia nervosa leads to many kinds of nastiness: damaged teeth, ulcers on the scalp and feet, brittle bones and nails. Patients are often found to have parents with high expectations, a fault Peter admits to. I learned that confronting them aggresively is highly discouraged because the patient might refuse to cooperate in order to gain power over the situation. 

The most striking part of this book in my opinion is the article Debbie wrote on matricide (the act of killling one's won mother) titled Matricidal Mayhem. Peter believes that Debbie channeled her real feelings about her dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship into it. She disguised them using her razor-sharp wit and passed the whole thing off as another one of her brutally sarcastic essays.

This is a very insightful book about a disease I rarely think about. I do feel that I would better understand Peter's feelings and message once I have daughters or children of my own. In the meantime, I hope learn from Peter's mistakes and not repeat them with the existing people in my life.

(Speaking of existing people, my dear eldest aunt passed away on Monday. She, God and I would greatly appreciate it if you could dedicate an Al-Fatihah to her. Thank you so very much.)

Monday, 27 October 2008

Bad way to give advice

Not very long ago an old friend from school told me that she could be anorexic. Her doctor said she's displaying the symptoms. Anybody who knows her would see this as no surprise at all. She's really, really, really slim. For her height.

I think I'm not the only one who's worried about her. Then I remembered that I have this book about an anorexic and I lent it to her. You'll relate to it, I said, wihtout telling her what the book is about and hoping that she wouldn't catch my hidden intention. Innocent lass that she is, she thanked me and took it home.

That was probably one of our last conversations. We didn't get along well after that. Showing up at her wedding was torturous. I feared the groom might come up to me and punch my lights out for having the nerve to tell his lovely bride that she hasn't enough meat on her bones. ("I didn't say anything! It was the doctor who did!") She returned the book shortly before the event. Her silence about it was especially disturbing. It's either she never touched the book or the book touched her, in a hot iron sort of way.

No more advising people using books. I've learned my lesson.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

I broke the template

The old, red one. Irrecoverable damage.

Because I didn't back the template up. ARGHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*rol smashes head against computer table surface repeatedly*

So, how are you guys doing? Long time, eh?

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