"I found yesterday really hard," said Ben out of the blue when frying the onion in oil (yes, oil!). "In what way?" I asked. "Loads of ways," he said, "starting with the girls on the school bus who wouldn't stop talking about diets, then P and L were talking about their latest diet in Psychology, then at break N offered me some crisps [chips] and a chocolate muffin. It was really hard..."
"To an anorexia sufferer, things like that are a bit like ultra violet light when people are wearing white," I replied. "The white things show up really bright whereas in normal light they'd look the same as everything else. To a recovering anorexic, things like that are really difficult to handle."
(Here's what Top Eating Disorder Blog Ed Bites says on the subject...)
But the good news is that Ben is still being very open about things. "In town today I chose the higher calorie sandwich," he said, "and a packet of curly crispy things. It was hard, but I made myself do it."
And I know for a fact that last night's evening meal was difficult for him. We'd run out of tuna in brine for our pasta, so I had to opt for tuna in oil (2 tins of it!). In the past he would have freaked out and refused to eat it. Last night he ate the meal without any hesitation or problem. I'd also thrown in a load of anti-pasti loaded with olive oil. In the past he'd have dug it out and dabbed it clean with a piece of kitchen paper, but he didn't last night.
So today I gave him a hug and said "Well done, I'm really proud of you. And also thank you for being so open about the exercising yesterday at CAMHS. You know this is something we need to work on, don't you?"
And he does.