Tuesday 15 March 2011

Some very difficult juggling to do this week...

So, as you'll have gathered, I am keen for us to move onto the next stage of recovery from the anorexia. This in itself is going to take careful juggling of - still being supportive / loving / helpful while introducing a bit of a 'tough love' / no compromise element. If I don't, then he risks staying in a 'comfort zone' rut. It's far easier for the eating disorder to keep away from school and friends at comfortable 'safe' home. It's also far easier for the eating disorder to continue to be very selfish, looking inside instead of outside. So I am carefully nudging him out of both of these comfort zones...

Since the Autumn, Ben has been going to school in the mornings only. 2 or 3 mornings he doesn't make it at all due to the insomnia problem, yet  increasingly he is 'recovering' by mid morning and definitely by the afternoon. Because school is much easier for him these days (note, I didn't say 'easy', I just said 'easier'...) I have agreed with Ben and school that he will go into school EVERY day if possible. By this I mean, mornings only for the time being, but on days when he doesn't sleep, I'll take him in later for half the morning - or the afternoon. What's more, I'll take him in BEFORE lessons i.e. at break time to allow him to socialise. From this we will build up to some trial full days.

I have also agreed with school that Ben's friends will be a little more vigilant in keeping him with them at break times and in free periods to avoid the temptation to 'go for a walk round the grounds' (read 'go for a run / exercise') like he did yesterday.

In a normal world, this plan would be reasonably simple to put into action, but in the world of the eating disorder, it's jam-packed full of hurdles and potholes...

First, there's the insomnia which still needs addressing...

Then there's Ben's mood which has been below par for a few weeks as a result of knowing he's in a rut and feeling unable to move on...

Then there's the BIG ISSUE of compulsive exercise which is still well and truly a problem. It is the primary reason why Ben can't do full days at school - because he sees school as 'sitting around doing nothing' and still can't handle this. He feels compelled to move around and simply can't sit still and concentrate for long.

And there's the other BIG ISSUE of the 24/7 thoughts buzzing round his head all the time - thoughts about food. He can't stop thinking about food.

Plus, advising him on how to handle peers who talk about food all the time. (If he was a girl, it would probably be about how to handle peers who talk about dieting all the time or whatever...) He finds this particularly difficult.

So the juggling is not as straightforward as it might seem and is a massive challenge for all of us.

But, like last time round when I instinctively knew we had to move on and out of a rut (at the end of last summer), I have to find a way to do it. Basically, we don't have a choice. It's 'do' or stay ill. (Last summer it was more of a case of 'do or die'... or at least it felt like that, with Ben's threats of suicide...)

Oh, and my husband has just found out that the temporary job he got when he was made redundant from his main job a few weeks ago is finishing at the end of the week.

So he really will be out of work.

Which means my juggling has just got a little bit more complicated...


1 comment:

  1. Wow... I never knew there were others out there. I am a fourteen year old boy (YES ANOTHER BOY) with anorexia. I have been hospitalized in two private hospitals in London for 13 months and have been ill for two years. I similarly have major issues with exercise (I used to do cross country, rowing and rugby... and 'walks in the park'). What has helped me is in my current hospital, The Priory, we are allowed one 30-minute intense exercise session a week once we get to 3 kilos away from our target weight. That has really helped me and the man who takes the session tells us to calm it down if we are going crazy. We also get a 30-minute swimming session. Whilst this is still not enough for me, because I am an inpatient for five days a week (previously 24/7) the nurses make sure I am sitting down. I use to refuse to sit down, but they wouldn't allow me to go on my two daily walks around the grounds (actual walks haha) so a bit of bargaining goes a long way. I am at a similar stage to Ben it seems, after a year and a half out of school, for 6 weeks I have been doing two mornings in school. I find it horrendously difficult socially and academically, I can't do sport (NIGHTMARE) and lets just say my morning snack is... difficult. I am also stuck in a rut or comfort zone and am reluctant to have more leave from the priory or go back to school more as after an awful admission at Capio Nightingale Hospital (their philosophy treated us like pheasants: feed 'em up and get them the hell out) I now feel very safe at the admirable programme in the Priory. I also have an anxiety disorder which does NOT help. And I can relate to the 'do or die'. I am now in the long painful process of 'doing' and have turned corners (I can sit down for longer periods of time now and i narrowly avoided going on an NG tube). It's so worth turning the corners. Here are some incentivesfor Ben's recovery, as believe me he'll need it.

    1) Puberty. Every guy (pretty much) wants to be fully sexually developed, tall and manly in general. I've already damaged this and don't want to damge it further and be a child forever.

    2) Girlfriend. Every guy (pretty much) wants a girlfriend and all the girls on my unit dont like skinny guys!

    3) Sport. If your son really has an interest in sport and its not solely in the context of his anorexia, then that can be a major incentive.

    Now I understand that these can be lost sight of in the throes of anorexia, heck, I lose sight of them every other minute. If I could be any help at all - and by the way I know itd awful not to see him but what has really worked for me in terms of recovery is NHS funded inpatient admission in the Priory - then contact me on my blog: justanotherpoemjustanotherperson.blogspot.com

    the poems are about recovery. all the best. There is hope. Tell Ben it gets better and that anorexia isn't a choice, recovery is. Please have a look at the blog and comment in response if you want.