Who, really, is crazy?

When I read stories like this...

Tragic anorexic Carole Patrick dies in York after 30-year struggle "York Coroner Donald Coverdale, recording a verdict of death by misadventure, said her death was the “unfortunate and unintended consequence of a medical condition arguably under her control”

... I feel so frustrated. Since I come at this illness believing the patient has a brain condition - one that they CAN NOT understand until they are nutritionally restored and the brain has healed - I see so many points along the line where misunderstanding of the illness was a tragic lost opportunity.

For the family watching the illness - who might have reacted differently if they had the right information early.

For the clinicians whose only avenue was to try to convince the patient to understand.

For the coroner, whose "misadventure" in interpretation simply perpetuates poor information.

For the public who are being induced to pity instead of act.

For the families who, reading this article, will not hear the words "brain disorder" or biology or genetics or TREATABLE ILLNESS even once.

For the employers who unknowingly enabled the illness.

For the grieving family who have been ill-served during and after.

But of course completely for this woman, who lived her shortened life in a living hell for 30 years - a hell she neither chose nor could choose to stop. Thirty years of suffering that could have been prevented, or stopped if the world outside her had the knowledge and the will to do so.


  1. perfectly said. anorexia is so painful and miserable and all consuming. if there's a way to help, help must be given!

  2. very sad. I hate it when people say the illness is under the patient's control. a limited amount may be, recovery may be somewhat...but for the most part, it is not. Misinformation makes me sad. :/

  3. So true: help must be given, and misinformation is sad!

  4. Stating that anorexia is 'arguably under control' is arrogance of the highest order. And obviously, the person making the comment is oblivious and ignorant of the driving forces behind it.

    I don't believe I have control; I don't know how to GET control. I try to avoid negative behaviours, mustering all my inner strength...but I am beaten more times than I succeed. This leaves me angry, frustrated and ashamed. That makes me more likely to binge/purge/starve.

    What a vicious circle.

    And I am supposed to be in control of that? If I was, I'd have to be a total mad woman to keep indulging, wouldn't I?

  5. Having gone on at length elsewhere about this one, I feel that I must at least comment here.

    While I completely understand the distress caused to both sufferers and families alike of his words, the Coroner would have had limited options in his wording and was being asked to make a clinical judgement within a specific medico legal field. If he had chosen "neglect" would that have been better than "misadventure"? Possibly, but who would the press and even the public then blame for the neglect - the woman's poor mother?

    At least the coroner said it was "arguably" under her control - and indeed the exact nature of eating disorders, their aetiology, best treatment, moral meaning......IS still a matter for furious argument both here and elsewhere.

    May Carole rest in peace, and her mother and the rest of her family be comforted by the knowledge that they did the best they could with the limited knowledge they had at the time (and that ANYONE had the time), they loved her, her suffering is over, but her story may help drive the campaign for the research and better treatment that, as her 83 year old mother pointed out, is so desperately needed to help to conquer these terrible illnesses.

  6. Laura,

    I wonder if there is any way to write an editorial in response to this article. It puts forth so many myths that are unfounded and gives the public an inaccurate view of anorexia. Is this something FEAST media committee could take on?

  7. Jennifer,

    A member of the committee saw your message even before I could alert them - and action is being taken!!

    Thank you!

  8. What a powerful message! I hope your words are reaching the people who need to hear them.


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