I'm here today thanks to Grandad

PUBLISHED: 18:04 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:24 03 July 2010

Dominic Bareham

A GREAT Yarmouth man believes he would not be here today without the support of his late grandfather who supported him while he was trying to cope with the debilitating eating disorder anorexia.

A GREAT Yarmouth man believes he would not be here today without the support of his late grandfather who supported him while he was trying to cope with the debilitating eating disorder anorexia.

Antony Pascall, 28, paid the moving tribute to Dennis Pascall, 78, who was a regular visitor to Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich while his grandson was receiving treatment for the condition, which causes sufferers to starve themselves through fear of putting on weight.

Antony said: “He was very understanding and would always listen to me and I was able to open up to him.

“We were very close - without his support I don't think I would be here today.”

He believes the disorder was triggered by stress caused by the separation of his parents Rosina Stevens and Paul Pascall when he was 14 and the subsequent move to Norwich from Walpole Road in Yarmouth with his mother, leaving behind his friends at Caister High School.

But instead of discussing these anxieties with his family he became reclusive and felt the only way to get attention was to resort to starving himself by only allowing himself 250 calories a day and exercising excessively to burn it off again.

To make matters worse, the charity worker was self-harming by cutting himself as a cry for help.

“I would self-harm because I thought that would use up calories and would have plastic surgery to hide the scarring. My mum forced me to eat when the rest of the family were eating. I turned into a very secretive person, leading a double life and could only live off 200 calories for so long before I needed medical help.

“At one point my body could

not cope on just 250 calories and

I felt ill so I saw a psychiatrist once a fortnight who gave me diazepam which I still have to take today to stop withdrawal symptoms.”

An initial spell of treatment at Douglas House Adolescent Unit in Cambridge proved helpful in enabling him to manage his symptoms because he was able to open up to staff.

But Mr Pascall had to move to Hellesdon Hospital because the unit needed more bed space to cope with demand. The institutionalised nature of the hospital caused his anorexia to get worse and he became depressed, trying to commit suicide four times.

But thanks to the support of his paternal grandfather and the national charity Beat, which tackles eating disorders, he is now making progress and now lives independently in Norwich

where he has made new friends and enjoys an active social life,

as well as being able to work

part-time for Beat in the city.

“Dennis was the only person who knew everything. I was always able to be honest with him and there was nothing I could not tell him. He knows the whole story and was always completely supportive and he would always stand up for me, and without him I would not be here now.

“I could tell everything to him and there was always someone I could talk to. I will miss him, I really will,” Mr Pascall said.

His grandfather, who used to live in Coronation Road, Cobholm, died at his Lowestoft home in January. His funeral will be held at Gorleston crematorium next Friday.

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