Friday, 9 December 2011

We are assuming Ben will go away to Uni...

I had a frank and useful conversation with Ben yesterday about whether or not he feels he will be ready to live away from home at university and successfully manage his own food and recovery. We need to decide over the Christmas period because, if he'd prefer to put our home city as his main choice, then we need to apply pronto for a special scheme that takes into account interrupted studies and the need to attend a local university.

Ben has always preferred the other university (that's him in the pic on Open Day). He likes the city, the atmosphere, the location, the accommodation, the teaching staff, the facilities and the course. Everything, in fact. And he doesn't want to let the ED get in his way.

He sees Uni as a fantastic opportunity to draw a line under the anorexia and move on. He insists, quite rightly, that he can manage his own cooking and - hopefully - food intake. He already does a lot of this here, managing all his meals including - on some days - the evening meal. He is brilliant at frugal supermarket shopping and frugal yet nutritionally balanced meal planning - and he is content to continue on his required daily calorie intake and keep a watchful eye on his weight.

We will ensure there is a good 'special needs' support team in place at the university should he need them, and also so they can keep an eye on his weight and well-being, too.

And the university is only 35 or 40 miles away on a direct railway line / motorway so it's cheap and easy for him to come home if he needs to - or for us to visit him there.

We talked about all the exciting things that he is looking forward to at uni: all the clubs and societies he will join so he can make friends with people that have the same interests, the meals he will cook, the student halls where he will live, the quirky local shops and cafes nearby, and so on.

I could tell the other day at our local uni that he wasn't terribly interested. So it's pointless making him go somewhere when he would much rather be somewhere else.

I don't imagine this decision will change.

So it's a case of working towards Ben living away from home in September. And, just to make sure everything does go to plan, we might set up a University Transition Contract similar to this one from the FEAST website.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say that I think you are amazing parents! It is so difficult to not worry when your child is away, but the best thing you can do is let him have his space and trust that he will be ok, and that if he is not then he will be able to ask for help when he needs it.

    If going to university is what he wants, then encourage it because having that kind of motivation is crucial in recovery. As long as he feels like he's moving towards somewhere that he wants to be, then he'll stay strong and keep fighting.

    Also, its important to start trusting him to be able to look after himself - and this is a perfect opportunity! University is such a great experience. Also, its a world where his eating disorder isn't the centre of attention. Being in a place where you can see 'normal' people his age (not that anyone is normal ha) will be helpful and will help with recovery as ED becomes very absorbing!

    I wish you all the luck in the world!