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Eye mother tells of 'hell' helping daughter with anorexia nervosa

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An Eye mother has described helping her 14-year-old daughter through ‘hell’ when she developed anorexia nervosa.

In December 2020, Victoria Fiebelkorn noticed that Rosie was not enjoying food as she used to and took her to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with anorexia.

Ms Fiebelkorn, a skills escalator lead at West Suffolk College, said: “Her brain was so starved that no amount of psychotherapy or medication was going to impact her – the only treatment was food.

The pair were raising money last week with a bake sale in West Suffolk College for UK eating disorders charity, BEAT.
The pair were raising money last week with a bake sale in West Suffolk College for UK eating disorders charity, BEAT.

“Her brain needed to be fed, so I sat for around eight hours a day insisting she ate. She cried and I cried.

“When I was not feeding her, I was trying to work, or trying to sleep but waking up from dreams where I heard her crying ‘No Mummy, please stop’ – it was hell.”

As the months wore on, Rosie started to realise that her mum was not going to back down and she vented by becoming aggressive to her siblings, Florence, 13, and Fergus, 12.

Rosie and Victoria Fiebelkorn.
Rosie and Victoria Fiebelkorn.

But, as meal times started to become a little easier, a summer holiday to Dorset was the turning point.

Ms Fiebelkorn said: “I swapped our tent for a caravan as I had heard horror stories of the police being called to other families by campers who thought a child was being attacked – when really it was them resisting mealtimes.

“We were both out walking one day and she just turned to me and said she did not want to have anorexia any more.

“In my head, the celebration was starting, but I kept a deadpan face. We went back to the caravan and she told her siblings and they hugged her so much as they had lost their sister for that whole year.”

Rosie, now fully recovered, credits her mum for her turnaround.

She said: “During my hardest time, I did not want support, but looking back I am and always will be extremely grateful to my mum. Without her, I would not be where I am today.”

Ms Fiebelkorn said they were a success story and some do not end that way, but she hoped this would help parents and sufferers going through this now.

“As a society, eating disorders are laced with stigma,” said the 53-year-old. “I think some assume they are for privileged, vain, young women, but that is so not the case and they need to be discussed more.

“The eating disorders charity, Beat, offered us so much invaluable support, too – so to parents, I would say reach out and hang in there, it is a massive mountain to climb but carry on for the sake of your family.”

To find out more about Beat and the work they do, click here.