Ah, sunshine, warmth and spring flowers at last - which was a great excuse for a walk in the woods this afternoon to gather some dead wood for the fire (if you remember, Ben is still doing mornings only at school, although he didn't make it in today due to another night's insomnia...) And, also as you may remember, these days walks are great opportunities for nice, positive heart-to-heart chats as Ben opens up about his anorexia. Back in the 'bad old days' we'd do umpteen walks, especially when he was off school last Spring / Summer, and I'd be so frustrated at the lack of progress - or promises to improve this, that and the other which I knew the anorexia wouldn't let him keep.
Autumn would turn into Winter... it would snow, then Spring would come followed by Summer and the negative slide downhill would continue. It was incredibly disheartening and worrying; I just didn't seem to be able to get through to him. This Spring feels altogether different and I know this Summer will, too. Like the description of the beach on holiday in France, last Summer had a surreal feel to it. To all intents and purposes, life was going on as normal all around us and we should have been full of the joys of spring with gorgeous weather and beautiful countryside. But, really, it might as well have been darkest, deepest winter for how we all felt inside...
I love it when Ben talks about his anorexia in the past tense and looks forward to an anorexia-free future. We've also been talking about possible last-minute bookings for a holiday this Summer, probably somewhere in England. Both of us know that he'll probably be absolutely fine this time round. Well, 90% fine; we may still have a few glitches with getting sufficient food into him when he's in a different environment to the home environment he's used to. Or not. Who knows. What I do know is that things have changed and the warmer, brighter, happier days are on the way.
"And look at my body!" he exclaimed this lunchtime, pulling up his teeshirt to show me a torso while, still thin, wasn't so stick-thin you could see his ribs which used to be the case. And his hip bones don't stick out like they used to do. Plus, his face looks more fleshy and he lost the dark rings-around-the-eyes waif look ages ago, I'm thankful to say.
"I'm so proud of you!" I said and gave him a great big hug as he reached for the Flora margarine to spread on his fruit tea loaf. (For ages, any butter-type spread was a 'fear food', but no longer.)
He's also talking about trialling full days at school (sorry, but I couldn't help mentioning school dinners which has always been my main concern...) He doesn't like to talk about that because the anorexic thoughts still stress him out in the way they make him feel he has to plan things meticulously and he'd rather not think about it right now.