No matter what Ben does, his school friends still treat him differently and it's continuing to get him down. After much deliberation about it at CAMHS and at home, we are almost reaching the point where we wonder whether it's never going to happen and that this final year at school is, from a social perspective, a complete write-off.
Ben has done his level best to talk to his friends and be 'normal', but he's still left out of things and ignored. As a result he spends most of his school day alone which means he is still coming home at lunchtime, unable to handle a whole lunch hour on his own.
Why are they doing this? There could be several reasons. One is that they've seen the anorexia at its worst. They saw a popular, athletic, fun guy transform literally overnight - or at least over the summer vacation - into a physical and mental wreck. They've been on the receiving end of some terrifyingly unpredictable behaviours. To them, I guess, it's as if their close friend had gone insane.
They know he's been receiving psychiatric treatment and still is. They are still seeing him leave school at lunchtimes and not return until the next day, and sit in the corner of the common room alone. And his physique is still a shadow of the rugby prop forward he was for so many years.
So maybe, to them, Ben isn't recovered. Perhaps, to them, he is still 'the crazy guy' who is capable of doing virtually anything - and the only thing that is predictable about this 'anything' is that it will be abnormal, extreme and frightening.
Only he isn't like that any longer.
But they don't know that.
For our family, the eating disorder learning curve was MASSIVE. Like most people, behaviour like this had never featured on our radar. We didn't even know it existed. I guess it is the same for his friends and they can't be expected to understand it or know the dynamics behind it.
Our psychiatrist doesn't seem to be able to come up with a solution either.
Basically Ben wants to be seen as NORMAL and treated as NORMAL. As he said yesterday: "If I'd never known life as a popular social animal I probably wouldn't miss it. But I have and I want to be back there again. Back to where I was before this hit me in 2009."
He has started to blame himself for the eating disorder which hijacked his life for two-and-a-half years. Hopefully the psychiatrist managed to explain why it wasn't his fault. The ED would have happened no matter what.
But he's beating himself up about his theory that if he hadn't cut down on food and increased his exercise he would never have reached the low body weight and poor nutrition which may have been responsible for the anorexia kicking in.
There are so many, many reasons why it is NOT his fault and he shouldn't beat himself up about it, but that it's another blog entry altogether.
But, for now, he is missing out on his final year at a wonderful school and is so very, very lonely.
At least, as he says, when he goes to university he will be starting a clean sheet. No-one will know about his past and will accept him at face value. Hopefully real life can start again.
I hope so.