LIFE AFTER 25

Source: Pexels by Lisa Fotios Don’t get me wrong, your 20s are filled with fun, laughs, new people, new experiences and new joys. Although, it can also be like a double-edged sword at times. But once you hit the mid 20s, oh boy do things start changing. Prior to that, you have no major concernsContinue reading “LIFE AFTER 25”

DOES THAT SPECIAL PERSON LOVE YOU?

Source: Pexels by Văn Thắng Love is not only the most overused word in the English language, but also widely misused. Everyone has a different definition of what they believe love to be and apply that understanding to their actions. There are also many definitions out there to explain what love is. There is notContinue reading “DOES THAT SPECIAL PERSON LOVE YOU?”

HERE’S WHY ‘TONE OF VOICE’ IS CRUCIAL FOR YOUR BRAND

Source: Pexels by Negative Space Building your brand is easy. Okay, fine. It’s not that easy. But knowing how to speak to your customers certainly makes it easier. You have your brand and you know its purpose. But you’re struggling to connect to an audience that will drive your sales. There’s just a secret ingredientContinue reading “HERE’S WHY ‘TONE OF VOICE’ IS CRUCIAL FOR YOUR BRAND”

ARFID: THE EATING DISORDER THAT ISN’T GETTING THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES

Most people are aware of the main eating disorders that affect people. Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are very much accepted as disorders in the medical world, and in society too. However, an eating disorder called ARFID (avoidance restrictive food intake disorder) is one that is less in the public domain.
ARFID is an eating disorder that affects both children and adults and is something that can be rooted back to trauma in early childhood. Trauma that then seriously interferes with that individual’s relationship with food and drink, causing them severe anxiety and preventing them from doing what most people see as totally natural.
This new kid on the block is also being largely ignored or played down by the medical sector. Lack of funding means that these sufferers are left to live with this debilitating and life-limiting condition (with little or no help).

        Yet ARFID has been on the DSM (diagnosis and statistical manual) since 2013, and it really isn’t acceptable to use monetary constraints as an excuse to not help those suffering from it. If these same children were all obese, the system that denies them would be falling over themselves to offer support and guidance. Yet just because many ARFID sufferers are not of abnormal weight, they are deemed to not have any need for assistance.
Instead, these individuals often find themselves being labelled as ‘picky eaters’, and their issues get seen as being behavioural. The attitudes of ill-informed individuals, whilst likely unintentional, then create a stigma that adds to the anxiety these individuals already have.
More awareness is needed around this condition to get rid of the awful stigma around ARFID so that some of their anxiety can be reduced.
I shall now tell of my own personal account of living with a child who displays all the characteristics of ARFID, to demonstrate the wider effect of the condition. It really is something that affects the whole family and not just the individual themselves.

      My daughter Jessica was born near her due date, was a decent weight, and seemed to be perfect in every way. Yet for some strange reason, she would not take her milk. Cup feeding was suggested by the midwife whilst in the hospital, with a caveat that I shouldn’t continue this once I got my baby home.
No support was offered, and no investigations were done, to find out why she would not feed in a normal way. I struggled at home to get enough nutrition into my daughter and was even accused of deliberately starving my own baby (at a weigh-in session, at my local health centre).
My daughter was not gaining weight as she should have, and I was spending long hours trying to coax her into having her milk.
Doctors were dismissive and commented that she was a happy smiling baby.
Eventually, she stopped wanting her milk at all, and we as parents reached a crisis point. We knew that we had to take action to get to the bottom of our daughter’s milk refusal. I ended up in the hospital with her when she was just 3 months old.

        After much persuasion, the paediatricians found out that she had silent reflux (a condition where stomach acids flow back up to the oesophagus). Although some medication was then prescribed to her, my gorgeous baby would still only feed minuscule amounts.
It became clear that a nasal gastric feeding tube was the only solution to the problem. However, this proved to only work for a few months before my daughter started gagging and throwing up these forced feeds.
Early weaning had started at 4 months, and it was accepted that this force-feeding was counterproductive. Initially, our daughter seemed to be thriving on solids, but it wasn’t long before she was refusing food and drinks again, and we found ourselves struggling once again.
Again we turned to medical professionals for help. We were desperately needing help to be able to assist our daughter to overcome her fear of food.

       During this time I found a really good and supportive Facebook parent support group (ARFID support for parents & carers in the UK/Ireland).
Whilst none of these wonderful people claimed to be medical experts, they did have young people who are living with the condition, and they could offer 1st hand experience of living with those suffering from ARFID.
This group has literally been a lifesaver because I realized I wasn’t alone.
Other parents could empathise and understand the frustration, anguish, and difficulties I faced every day. The group also offered an opportunity to chat with others, that just got how the whole experience literally ruled your life.
I also realized that I was not the only parent who felt like they were banging their head against a brick wall. It is wrong that parents should feel abandoned by a healthcare system, that is meant to be there for all.

      Fast forward to now, my daughter turns 9 soon, and not much has really changed.
Our daughter barely grows, and she is only just in the healthy weight zone.
Generally, she is happy and educationally she is where she needs to be. However, it is far from normal that she gets 2 years of wear out of all of her clothes.
Yet the official medical response is: Well you aren’t a tall person, and some people are just petite. Not a helpful response, or one than inspires any confidence. However, these were very similar words to what other people who aren’t living with this, also come out with.
The comments and judgments from extended family can really add to the feelings of utter despair.
Although, they cannot be blamed for their view of the situation when there is little real awareness of ARFID to change their minds. They really are only copying the narratives of what most media articles put out there about this eating disorder. It is these narratives that need to change.

     Greater awareness is long overdue, and that is why I felt compelled to share about my daughter and her journey with ARFID.
My hope is that somewhere out there, are experts who might consider taking up some research to get the condition better recognized. In a world where people demand evidence to support any claims that are made, research into ARFID could provide the evidence that could put the disorder firmly on the map.
Properly funded research could change attitudes, and maybe even persuade those who control the purse strings to make sufferers a priority.
It really isn’t easy to sit back and watch the child you love refusing to do the most natural thing in the world.
On a concluding note: to those who believe no child will deliberately starve themself and will eat when they are hungry – you really have to be in the shoes of a parent with an ARFID sufferer to have a concept of the reality we face.
ARFID really is something that seems to defy logic and yes, the sufferers will literally starve themselves.

THESE 3 AUTOBIOGRAPHIES WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

Source: Pexels by Pixabay Looking for stories that will move you and leave you with an aftertaste of complex emotions and tears? Then these vulnerable memoirs from remarkable women will make you want to take a trip to a bookstore immediately. Know My Name by Chanel Miller Sexual assault is a triggering topic for aContinue reading “THESE 3 AUTOBIOGRAPHIES WILL BREAK YOUR HEART”

ROLLING STONE CAUSES CHAOS, AGAIN

Source: Pexels by Thibault Trillet What one likes to listen to, see, or taste, differs a lot from person-to-person. So, when someone comes up with a ‘top 10 best vocalists of all time’ and presents their opinion objectively, well, people are not going to agree because music is clearly subjective. Rolling Stone is a magazineContinue reading “ROLLING STONE CAUSES CHAOS, AGAIN”

HOW TO BEAT IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Source: Pexels by Kat Smith I’m a failure. I can’t do it. I won’t be able to do it. They’re going to find out I can’t do it. I’m going to get fired. Ring any bells? It sounds like you have a classic case of ‘imposter syndrome’. Enough of these self-help books, I’m going toContinue reading “HOW TO BEAT IMPOSTER SYNDROME”

THE COMPILATION OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY AND THE OMITTED WORD

Source: Pexels by Pixabay Does it matter that women were largely absent in the history of the compilation of the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary? Or the fact that the words recorded were predominately biased towards the experiences of Victorian-era men? I recently finished reading The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams,Continue reading “THE COMPILATION OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY AND THE OMITTED WORD”

WHY COPYWRITING IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Source: Pexels by Negative Space If you’re a new business owner, looking to break into freelance copywriting, or genuinely curious as to what copywriting is, you should read on. If you’re an avid reader, you’ll understand the impact that words can have on us. It makes us imagine, it makes us feel, and it canContinue reading “WHY COPYWRITING IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR BUSINESS”

WHY CAN’T WE CARRY THE EXCITEMENT OF A NEW YEAR ALL YEAR-ROUND?

Source: Pexels by Designecologist The winter holidays are a time for us to reflect and contemplate on how our time has been spent and what memories we cherish the most. It’s fascinating how one time of the year can bring so much joy and enthusiasm. I say, why not carry that excitement and zest forContinue reading “WHY CAN’T WE CARRY THE EXCITEMENT OF A NEW YEAR ALL YEAR-ROUND?”

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