It's funny how the human memory manages to 'forget' or at least 'blur' many of life's traumatic experiences. It sounds strange but, for some reason, I find it really hard to recall how I really felt - day in, day out - during the Bad Old Eating Disorder Days.
I forget just how bad things were and how petrified I was. I forget how I came to 'accept' that Ben might die, if not from the complications of self-starvation then by ending his own life. I forget how I used to break down in uncontrollable tears several times each day - and how, on some days, things would get so stressful that I'd be reduced to a total wreck, like the day I smashed an entire dinner service, plate by plate, on the kitchen floor, then collapsed in an hysterical, weeping heap in the corner. Not to mention the day I had to pull Ben inside by the legs when he decided to climb out of his Velux loft bedroom window onto the roof not caring if he fell off. Or the two emergency hospital experiences with Ben wired up to machines...
In fact the Bad Days were so frequent that I can't possibly list them all here. What you see above was just the tip of the iceberg. But I believe it's vital that I don't forget. This is why I've kept copies of everything I've written on the subject: emails, letters, notes to medical people, my threads on the ATDT Forum (for parents of young people with eating disorders), this blog and so on - and now some new stuff that's come to light (more about that in a moment...)
In some way I'd like to use it to help other parents of teenage boys with eating disorders. If nothing else, then at least to show that there is a light at the end of this terrible, dark tunnel. And, in the case of this blog entry, to show that your memories of the Dark Days will fade and, at some point in the future, it will dawn on you that life is pretty damn near normal. Or at least a zillion miles away from what it was like at the eating disorder's height.
My dear friend, S (the school nurse), reminded me on Friday that she'd suggested back in June that I put it all into a book. Maybe I will. But I've got SO MUCH STUFF that it's hard to know where to start!
Meanwhile, something else has come to light which has prompted me to suggest that Ben gets involved in all this at a 'grass roots' level.
The other day he produced an exercise book. "My diary from 2009. Just to prove how far I've come since then." There weren't many entries "because I got to the point where I couldn't even write, the anorexic thoughts were taking up so much space in my head".
But even though there aren't many entries, it's interesting to read what Ben was going through, from his perspective, back in the summer of 2009 when the eating disorder started to manifest itself (even though it had actually been present for some time before that, as can be seen from this entry).
I suggested that, when he has a spare moment, he uses these diary entries as a base for writing about his experiences ("Not loads of stuff, Ben, just a page and a half of A4-ish."). A bit like the report that my dear friend H and her daughter did for Wales Online back in June. (See page 2 for her daughter's story.)
And he's very keen about the idea of a book. "Just think, we'd get onto the telly, we'd become rich and famous!!"
I don't think so, Ben...
Especially if the said book is to be self-published...