Funny how, for the first 12 months of our relationship with CAMHS, I felt as if we had two completely different agendas. I had serious problems consolidating the messages I was getting from my various professional and lay ED contacts and those I was getting from our CAMHS team. At times I felt totally at odds with them. Often I used to wonder whether they were colluding with the eating disorder rather than kicking it into touch.
Then just over a year ago something changed. Or at least it did with the psychiatrist (out of a CAMHS team of two). For me the watershed was when Ben was rushed into hospital for the second time with a dangerously low pulse rate of 30bpm in October 2010. Suddenly the psychiatrist zoomed in, took charge of the ED and, instead of following the 'you need to WANT to change' route, she adopted the 'you have NO CHOICE but to change RIGHT NOW or I could, in my professional capacity, hospitalise you sooner rather than later' route.
This put the fear of God into the eating disorder and into Ben - and for the first time he said NO to the ED. We haven't looked back since.
Between then and now, despite the odd disagreement which is only natural, the psychiatrist and I have been 'singing from the same hymn sheet, on the same page' (to coin a phrase that makes me squirm).
For the past few months we've got on astonishingly well and I really like her. In fact I'm going to miss her when she leaves her job in March - aarrrggghhh! that was news to Ben and me today!!!!
The Good News is that we have almost reached the point where we don't need to see CAMHS at all. And, anyway, Ben is 18 next week and about to go to university.
But what it will mean is that we have to work with someone else between March and when Ben does go away.
Maybe March is the opportunity we need to make the break and say Goodbye and a Huge Thanks to CAMHS, knowing that someone is there if we need them. OK not the psychiatrist we've come to know so well over the past two years, but someone.
In a strange way I'll miss CAMHS. And I am eternally grateful that, here in the UK, these two years of treatment have been completely free.