Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years

By Cheryl Dellasega | Go to book overview

1
Turning Points for Better and Worse:
Facing Anorexia, Dishonesty,
and Separation

"Is Ellen losing weight?" my husband asked during her eighth-grade Spring Concert. Hearing this from a man who regularly took our daughter out in public with her clothes either on backward or rescued from the Goodwill bag made me pause. I, too, had thought she looked thinner in recent weeks, but knowing she was growing taller and maturing physically had offset my concern.

That night I searched the crowd of children taking their places on the risers to sing and realized I couldn't find Ellen. There was a girl in the same blue dress I had bought for her, but she was too skinny to be my daughter—wasn't she?

Impressions flashed through my brain: Ellen's recent remarks about the fat content of nearly every food she ate or didn't eat and her newfound fussiness about clothes. Hadn't she been a bit irritable, too?

"I'll take her in for a checkup," I told Paul. "She needs a new asthma inhaler anyway."

A week later, our family doctor confirmed that Ellen had lost twenty pounds since the previous fall.

-11-

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