Posted by / Category London /

Venice: Lovely Facades, But What About Foundations?

London is the city of all superlatives. I recently read that London has overtaken London as the world’s most expensive city.

I am not surprised. That said, I think the London also holds the sad record of high functioning people with hidden mental issues. I attended a party over the weekend. I thought that it would be lovely to catch up with friends and acquaintances. The food was indeed amazing. They served, amongst other things, delicious little pizzas with mozzarella melting on top of them. Who can resist pizzas? I certainly can’t. Neither could my teenage daughter, actually.

So, us being us, we tried the mini pizzas and ended up having quite a few. They were really tasty. Then, it dawned on me that we were the only one eating them. In fact, apart from another woman who had had a couple of grilled prawns, nobody except us had touched the gorgeous food. How weird! I naively thought that pizza was the teenage food by excellence, and there were lots of teenagers. Well, I was clearly wrong. What was going on?

I had a good look around me. The women were all skinny and smiling. Some were looking enviously at me stuffing my face. A friend of mine came next to me and said:
“- Do you realise that most people are anorexic in this room?”

She was right. Of course she was. I was probably surrounded by high functioning anorexics. But why? Where was this coming from? When did it all started? How could I not see? To be fair, they all looked so happy. What was going on behind this happy façade? I wondered. The sad fact of the matter was that they didn’t look like the kind of persons who would seek help.What a tragedy in waiting!

I saw a teenage girl removing her cardigan. She had bruises and cuts on her forearms. I caught myself thinking: is she self-harming? She quickly put her cardigan back. But she kept smiling and looking lovely. Of course she did. I wondered what kind of silent suffering she was going through.

The food remained untouched, but the white wine bottles were coming and going at a very fast pace. In fact, I noticed that an acquaintance had drunk a couple of bottles without bating an eyelid. I was stunned. I hadn’t realised that she was a high functioning alcoholic. Come to think of it, some mums had already told me that they had a bottle of wine every evening, to ‘relax’. I thought that they were joking. They probably weren’t.

I was in shock: how do you help people who don’t believe that they need help? How do I protect my children from such mental illnesses? Can I protect hem? Just because they are high functioning, with good jobs or a prominent positions in the London society doesn’t mean that they are not putting themselves (and possibly others) in danger, right? For the first time in years, I must admit that I was scared.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London