Thursday, 23 June 2011

Looking back yesterday on a year ago was "very useful"...

Truly, I feel the anger I felt in June 2010 when...

...Just because Ben's BMI wasn't rock bottom, my concerns weren't taken seriously, despite the fact that rugby-playing Ben had lost one quarter of his total body weight over the past 12 months.

Initially the treatment team did permit me to administer a 3 x meals / 3 x snacks Eating Plan and he started to regain some lost weight. But when the Eating Disorder threw a tantrum 3 months on and refused to continue, the team decided to "hand back the control to Ben" because it was felt this would be "more helpful to him".

When, as a result, his weight started to go down they weren't "unduly concerned" because, at that stage, he was "nowhere near what he was when the treatment started" which is a "good sign because he's done so well".

The team decided it was "time to focus less on the eating side of things and more on working together as a family to see what is helpful to Ben and what isn't".

Meanwhile I was positioned as an overprotective mother who was "passing her own anxieties onto her son".

With our family vacation coming up and the long summer break from school it was decided that "we should take things a bit easier all round" and use our vacation "as a holiday from food pressures and calorie counting". I was completely banned from mentioning food, eating and calories whilst on vacation. The vacation was a nightmare and Ben lost weight.

Over the next few months, Ben's weight plummeted and his moods and behaviours deteriorated, including suicide threats and dangerous and distressing behaviours.

At the treatment sessions he was in a Good Mood when he'd lost or maintained weight - and was hell to live with if he'd gained. As a result the weight continued to zig-zag downwards.

Meanwhile Ben was still in complete control of his eating and food preparation (except evening meals). The thinking was that by "experimenting to see what does and doesn't work" and "making mistakes" he'd learn from them and this would help him change. "It's all a bit of an experiment," they said.

By September / October 2010 we were still "experimenting" and getting nowhere.

But then in October 2010 we experienced a breakthrough.

What triggered this breakthrough?

For the first time ever the treatment team came down on Ben like a tonne of bricks following his second heart scare in 6 months when his pulse went down to 29 and I rushed him to hospital again. He fought tooth and nail to get out, kicking furniture and having to be restrained by security staff and eventually the police.

Suddenly at our next treatment session the atmosphere was different with direct, straight-talking of the "we insist you have to do X or there is a real chance you could end up in hospital. With the heart scare we don't have to wait until your BMI is dangerously low; we could hospitalise you now" kind of thing. The word "sectioning" was used...

I believe that something 'clicked' inside Ben. By now he completely trusted the treatment team because they were working with him in the way he (the ED?) wanted them to, and here they were laying down the law, so they must be right!

Also the Prozac he'd been prescribed back in August started to have some positive effects on his mood.

Maybe it was a combination of the two, but Ben's motivation, moods and behaviours did a U-turn for the better. However he didn't gain weight. Six months on he'd simply maintained and fell into a motivationless "Limboland" because he felt he wasn't achieving anything.

Also, the positive action and drive I'd seen from the treatment team following the heart scare kind of melted away and we were back to "experimenting". After a few months of really feeling that the treatment team and me were 'on the same page', moving forward and achieving things, everything ground to a halt.

This is when I introduced the Recovery Contract which worked a treat in every single respect (weight gain, motivation, etc) until a couple of unhelpful comments from the team (see recent entries) stopped Ben in his tracks and appeared to undo the good that had been done.

So I feel the anger I felt 12 months ago almost to the day.

And this anger hasn't changed that much really...

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