Following some feedback from other parents, it appears that I'm not alone in struggling with post-trauma problems. The Good News is that our sons and daughters have recovered or are almost recovered from their eating disorder / anorexia / bulimia. The Bad News is that once we, as parents, sit back, relax a little and begin to think about moving on with our lives... zap! pow! our own minds begin to scream out "Aaarrrggghhh!" Which, when you think about it, isn't in the least bit surprising.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
It's over a year since I last agreed to be interviewed about our experience with our teenage son, Ben, as he developed and recovered from anorexia. As it's Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I agreed to be interviewed for our local radio station last night - an 11th hour arrangement which left me zero time to prepare. But it wasn't just that I had no time to prepare; when I opened my mouth to speak to the interviewer... nothing came out!
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Yesterday I had a bit of a clear out and came across a box full of blank notebooks, so I took out one of them to use for notes, only to discover it wasn't completely blank. Inside was the original of the letter which features in Chapter 7 - Consumed - of my book Please eat... A mother’s struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia. I remember it so clearly... Sitting in my car, waiting for Ben to come out of school, frantically writing a letter to him because, by this stage, he wasn't speaking to us. Or at least he wasn't speaking about anything to do with his rapidly developing anorexia. The only way I could get through to him, I felt, was through a letter. I was in despair. So this, in its entirety, is what I wrote (edited considerably for my book)... The love that went into this letter... phew!!
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Today was my third EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) session in an attempt to fix the annoying PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which crept into my head just over a year ago - a delayed reaction to the trauma of getting my teenage son through anorexia. EMDR is supposed to be really effective against PTSD and - on the face of it - it's really weird, but it seems to be working. So what, in my extremely laywoman's terms, is EMDR and how is it supposed to work?
As you will have seen, I've been AWOL from this blog for much of the past year. It's a real pig, but I've been battling with this darn Post Traumatic Stress Disorder thing which began to rear its ugly face just over a year ago. It's really annoying because, like many of these things, you can't just 'snap out of it'. No matter how strong you feel you are, you can't just push it to the back of your mind and get on with things. It's doubly annoying knowing that it's now my turn to admit that, OK, I need help to get my head back together again and, yes, it's not surprising when you think about it that my brain has suffered an adverse reaction to the years of extremes which it encountered as a result of my son's struggle with anorexia.
Here's what I've posted on my Facebook page: Many of you will know that Charlotte Bevan was the best friend and support that anyone could have while battling with a potentially life-threatening crisis in the family. Anorexia Nervosa is still a much misunderstood illness with the highest death rate of any mental illness (Research has found that 1 in 5 sufferers will die prematurely as a result of it).
Monday, 22 September 2014
Thursday, 14 August 2014
If you could have seen me 40 minutes ago, storming into the GPs' surgery, demanding to see the senior partner and demanding that a locum be removed for his (at best) appalling and (at worst) lethally dangerous ignorance of anything to do with eating disorders and mental health... The sheer self-control as I waited in the waiting room to see the senior partner... counting from 100 down to 1... and again... no crying, Bev, PLEASE....
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Watching Ben leaping along the beach in South Devon last Saturday, a massive, genuine smile on his face, I suddenly realised that it's the first time that all three of us have been to a beach since 'that day' in summer 2010 when Ben almost got carried off by the currents, as described in my book Please eat.
I've come to the end of my therapy for post-trauma stress - for 2 reasons: firstly, the cost (private treatment); and secondly, because I can probably do just as well with self-help books, etc from now onwards - plus the techniques I learned from the therapy sessions and the general overall awareness of why the mind and body responds to trauma in the way it does. Knowing that I am 'normal' and not going totally bonkers is a massive help!
Tuesday, 10 June 2014
I found it really helpful to have it explained to me why I've been feeling as I have, and how the brain reacts to trauma. Even more helpful was being told that this is NORMAL. That this is the way the brain deals with things. Also, that some parts of the brain are different from others. Like the hippocampus, the part of the brain that's largely responsible for 'being stuck' and causing me to respond to dozens of triggers as if the danger were still present.
Friday, 6 June 2014
Thank you to Magenta Eel for her comment on yesterday's post about burnout and whether I should leave the world of eating disorders behind. i.e. Do I really want to return to the world of eating disorders? Would I risk allowing it to possibly define me as a person in my future? Wouldn't it be better to just move on? I totally agree that, yes, it would, in a way - a way that feels natural and comfortable for me. And here's why...
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
For months I couldn't even click onto this blog, let alone write it. I couldn't face eating disorders. I steered clear of my Facebook page and anything else to do with eating disorders. Meanwhile I drowned my sorrows in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and other self-soothing activities. Perhaps they've been helpful because this is the first time for months when I've felt perfectly happy to click onto this blog and write something. As I sit here in bed, coughing up nasty green stuff and feeling physically shattered, I feel incredibly positive inside my head. After going through a very tricky time, Bev's-head-wise, over the past 6 months or so, that has to be Good News all round.
I'm sorry to say the surfing didn't quite go as planned. Apart from being far, far, far more strenuous than I ever imagined, I spent the first day with a monster of a sore throat. By the next day it had developed into sweats, a hacking cough and an even worse sore throat. By the afternoon I was in bed - and the next day I made the immediate decision to come home while I still felt safe to drive. I have been here, in bed, ever since!
Sunday, 11 May 2014
For a couple of months I couldn't actually write anything. I couldn't face my Facebook page either - or indeed anything to do with eating disorders and my experience of getting my (now) 20-year old son through anorexia and back into the Land of the Normal. Here's why...
Friday, 21 March 2014
The other day I emailed Charlotte Oakley, Clinical Lead, Connect-Eating Disorders, Glasgow & Clyde, Scotland, for more information on Family Based Treatment for eating disorders being rolled out across Scotland. I am immensely grateful to her for taking the time and trouble to reply at length, for allowing me to post the following info and for clarifying the situation which will hopefully help my blog followers to understand what is being done in Scotland - and why. Or at least in Greater Glasgow & Clyde - because, as Charlotte says, she "cannot speak for all of Scotland" although she suspects that other areas are "likely to be the same".
Friday, 14 March 2014
Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia. Daniel has been working on the English version since the middle of last year. He also arranged for German proof-readers to check it through and provide feedback. We are both thrilled that the Kindle version of Bitte iss wieder... Eine Mutter kämpft, um ihren Teenagersohn von der Magersucht zu befreien has now been published - and the paperback edition will follow in the next few days. Thank you again, Daniel, for all your help and for believing in my message strongly enough to offer to spend months translating it into German so more families can read our story.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
... which is why I do, in the main, agree with Cathy's comment to yesterday's post (which I really appreciate). Here are my thoughts...
Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia into German so families in Germany can read our story. It's been been given the thumbs up by the German proof-readers and is almost ready to be published - in paperback and as a Kindle download. This guy has generously spent hours and hours carefully translating my words (at his own suggestion) and we've finally managed to find German equivalents for all the British slang. (For example, where is Planet Zorg located? ;) Watch this space for more news!
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
"Okay, it's wonderful knowing that young people in Scotland are being given a better chance of recovery, and sustained recovery, from their eating disorders - but where does this leave us? How does it help us?" asked my husband.