Thanks for your comments on my last entry, Katie, you always explain things so well. Your experience is one of the reasons why I know it is essential to keep going until Ben is fully weight restored and never to settle for partial recovery as a second-best.
It is so sad that Anon (who commented twice) feels so locked into her / his eating disorder. Far from being 'in control' of your life and destiny, having an eating disorder is, in my opinion, a case of being totally 'out of control' as the ED takes the controls and drives everything into a rapid downhill spiral.
All too frequently I've heard anguished parents saying: "During that period she thought she was in control, but then she got to the stage where she just couldn't help it as the ED dragged her downwards". It's a bit like swimming in the sea, then you go out too deep and the current drags you out to sea whether you like it or not.
The Good News is that also, frequently, I've heard so many relieved parents saying: "These days she says that during that period, deep down, the 'real XXX' was so relieved we were refusing to give up, even though on the surface she appeared to be fighting against us."
At one point somewhere along the line Ben said NO to permitting the ED to control his life - and, thankfully, he said this before things got too dangerous. He took his life back; he put himself back in control and threw the ED out of the driving seat.
So did Katie.
This takes tremendous strength, determination and self-will - to say 'Yes' to a life free of the shackles of the controlling eating disorder; to regain true control over your life and destiny.
But I also know that there is a lengthy period where there is little the sufferer can do as the ED behaviours, destructive thoughts and rituals have them locked in. This is when I (and others) believe they need a third party working strongly on their behalf guiding them, like Janet Treasure's dolphin analogy, towards a point of safety from where they can start to recover. (Usually their parents in Family Based Therapy which is the modern, evidence-based way to treat EDs.)
Or, which must happen for some people [adults?] without the benefit of this constant third party support, something that 'clicks' in them and turns the tide. Maybe it's sudden; maybe it's gradual; maybe you can't pinpoint it at all, but everyone around you is aware of a gradual change in attitude, behaviour and mood. What's your opinion Katie? I can only say what I've seen in Ben's life and the lives of my friends' and contacts' children.
I know that an eating disorder is a terribly complex condition and that everyone is different. But, having said this, I am always amazed at the massive amount of common ground I discover with other parents of teenagers and young people with eating disorders. The point is, that - even thought it is so incredibly complex - there are so many elements that are exactly the same for so many people, at every stage.
I do hope Anon gets the opportunity to experience 'true control' of his / her life by slowly releasing the iron grip that ED has over him / her.