Thursday 24 November 2011

ED changes people

Thank you to those who left comments on yesterday's blog about the problem of integrating back into social life and school. Without a doubt, an eating disorder changes people; not just in the way it devastates lives, but in the way you - and those caring for you - emerge completely different.

I've already talked about how it's changed me as a parent, making me into a better, more tolerant, caring and insightful person with their priorities in a better place (hopefully!!)

Likewise, Ben is a very different young man from the teenage boy whose life was hijacked by the eating disorder in 2009.

Sure, he is two-and-a-half-years older which, in teenage terms, can seem like a lifetime.

But he's transformed in many other ways, too, which - without the ED - might not have happened.

He, too, is more caring, thoughtful and insightful. He is extremely philosophical about things, thinks very deeply and maturely about the life issues that really matter, and has become quite spiritual in his own 'typically Ben' individual way.

He is also very strong, as anyone overcoming an eating disorder has to be. After all, he's gone through experiences that most other teenagers will never have to go through. In religious terms (if you like) he has fought the devil and won.

Like many traumatic events in life this makes you think very differently. Trivia seems... well... oh so trivial. Every moment of life cries out to be lived to the full. When you've 'lost' what amounts in Ben's case to one seventh of your entire life on this planet, not to mention suicidal tendencies that threatened to snuff out your life altogether, there's a heck of a lot of lost time to make up for.

Meanwhile life just trundles on for the other teenagers in his social group and they find it hard to accept this 'new' Ben who thinks and acts a bit differently from the way they do.

And, I guess, there's always the worry that - because he's emerged differently and is still receiving treatment - he may still be under the thumb of the eating disorder; a volcano about to erupt at any moment.

We know he's not, but unfortunately they don't.

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