Since my last entry I've been 'cramming' like mad, collating links to research, papers and other stuff about the latest evidence-based eating disorder treatment. Yet again, the fellow moms at the Around the Dinner Table Forum have been awesome in helping me get information together. To say that, over the last 19 months or so, the learning curve has been MASSIVE would be an understatement. These days I know so much about eating disorders that I could sit an exam in it. And many of the other 'experienced' moms at ATDT could do a Doctorate in it with their eyes closed... I am constantly IN AWE at how much stuff they know.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
It's early days, but the Recovery Contract seems to be working. More importantly, Ben has taken it on board enthusiastically ("Points win prizes!" he says, thinking of the X-Box Kinnect thing he'll "buy" with however many points I eventually decide it's worth...
Monday, 21 March 2011
Okay, so it may or may not work, but I have high hopes for it at this stage in the recovery process. Today I drew up a Contract aimed at steady Weight Gain over the next few months with a view to hopefully getting Ben ready to go to University in September 2012 (that's another topic altogether...) Most importantly, it's about turning round the stagnation we've been experiencing since the summer on the weight gain front (constantly swinging up and down so in reality he's virtually maintained, despite huge improvements on most other fronts) - so he gains some serious weight.
Sunday, 20 March 2011
I've just been incredibly inspired by a thread on the Around the Dinner Table Forum about Recovery Contracts. Why has no-one in our treatment team suggested something like this, I wonder? They sound like a really workable idea at this stage in Ben's recovery! It is SO IMPORTANT that, having been in Limboland for a few weeks, we move forwards in a purposeful way. I already laid the cards on the table, so to speak, at CAMHS on Friday re. my Plan for the next few months. As a way of implementing my Plan, setting up a Contract seems like a great idea - and Ben thinks so, too. (Thus far...)
So I went into CAMHS on Friday where we were seeing the nurse (psych is on holiday for 2 weeks), armed with a load of paperwork 'ammo' and a PLAN for the next few months. I went through it, point by point, and on the whole the nurse thought it was all a good idea. Also it follows on from their suggestion last week to start blind weighing or weighing less frequently.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
So I picked up the phone and it was the Deputy Head from school saying Ben had gone AWOL in central Manchester while on the school trip today... For an hour, staff searched the area trying to find him to no avail. Eventually, one hour later, Ben answered his phone, saying he was making his way back to base. Deputy Head phoned me to say he'd met up with the teacher and continued on the school trip.
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
My very good friend W on the ATDT Forum has advised (re. escaping from 'Limboland') that when she "broke this process down into manageable steps, it was less exhausting and anxiety provoking for me". She recommends "One step at a time - don't worry about the future... Stick to the task that needs to be tackled now" and "When that's solid, move on to the next step". Excellent advice, W, because it's so easy to see EVERYTHING that needs tackling at this next stage of anorexia recovery as massively daunting. A bit like when you realise the whole house is a total tip (like mine is) and you don't know which room to begin with - and, even then, cleaning the individual rooms is daunting because there's so much to do!!!
So, as you'll have gathered, I am keen for us to move onto the next stage of recovery from the anorexia. This in itself is going to take careful juggling of - still being supportive / loving / helpful while introducing a bit of a 'tough love' / no compromise element. If I don't, then he risks staying in a 'comfort zone' rut. It's far easier for the eating disorder to keep away from school and friends at comfortable 'safe' home. It's also far easier for the eating disorder to continue to be very selfish, looking inside instead of outside. So I am carefully nudging him out of both of these comfort zones...
Sunday, 13 March 2011
It's been one of those watershed type weekends where you all end up being forcibly moved onto the next level of recovery. Having been in Limboland for a few weeks, I knew we needed to get over the next hurdle but, like many things with anorexia, it doesn't always happen when or how you planned it. To cut a long story short, we're making changes this week with a view to addressing those nasty niggly problems that are still well and truly embedded in the eating disorder. Basically, if we don't, then they will stay and Ben will stay in Limboland for as long as we put off working on them...
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Every morning I drive Ben to the bus stop to catch the bus to school. And this morning when he chucked his school bags into the back of the car, I reminded him to put them in the car boot (trunk) instead. Why? Because driving Ben to the bus stop in the Bad Old Days of High Anorexia used to be an altogether different experience... 12 months ago Ben dreaded going to school. He dreaded everything to do with school and dreaded being with everyone in it. Virtually every morning was a battle to get him to the bus. And virtually every morning he'd explode into a massive 'Ed Rage' which meant verbal abuse en route to the bus stop, usually lots of tears and finally the violent slamming of the rear passenger car door as the incredibly distressed 16 year old slunked off down the hill to the bus stop. My car door has never recovered...
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
... And Ben has made a stack of amazing pancakes with various combos: lemon and sugar, nutella, yogurt and fresh fruit, and maple syrup - all fried up in oil. I ate one and he ate the rest, followed by a large iced coffee. Then, last weekend, he made a batch of enormous and very delicious fruit scones which we all had with jam and butter. Today he was the first to make claim to our new ice-cream maker to whip up some frozen fruit yogurt).
Saturday, 5 March 2011
Inspired by a post on the Around the Dinner Table Forum, I clicked through to this page which features a list of excellent recommended books for parents of teenagers with eating disorders along with reviews. If you live in the UK you can obtain most of them via Amazon.co.uk.
Back in the pre-anorexia days, Ben loved nothing better than to go out with his friends and have a giggle. Yes, he was serious at times but on the whole, he was funny and enjoyed life. Then along came the anorexia and gradually seeped all the heart, life and soul out of him. It sucked him dry of all his humour, enjoyment and good emotions - and at the worst point it was if he had no emotions at all. He'd just stand there like a zombie, staring into space, completely unable to FEEL anything. He was totally numb. And he wouldn't respond if you tried to hug him or tell him you loved him. He'd watch TV comedy shows without moving a face muscle and would be as miserable as sin whenever we were out anywhere. It was horrible...
Funny how at the start you look at the anorexia as if it was a physical illness in that you can ask the doctor how long it will take to cure and they will tell you "Six months max" or whatever. I even found stuff on the internet which reckoned teenagers have undergone a full recovery, from diagnosis to discharge from treatment, in just months. Then it gradually dawns on you that, sorry, but you're in for the long haul and no-one can tell you how long it will last...
It's been a difficult week which is why I haven't been blogging much. The main issue this week (apart from the usual insomnia) has been to make a list of all the other things that the anorexia still controls with a view to working on them one by one to move Ben up to the next stage of recovery (and help to address the insomnia in the process, hopefully). Many of these are things that keep him awake at night - worrying about stuff, planning stuff, etc. Basically, the pychiatrist asked him to picture his life as it will be without the anorexia and list all those things that won't feature in it, which are currently driven or controlled by the anorexia.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Ah, sunshine, warmth and spring flowers at last - which was a great excuse for a walk in the woods this afternoon to gather some dead wood for the fire (if you remember, Ben is still doing mornings only at school, although he didn't make it in today due to another night's insomnia...) And, also as you may remember, these days walks are great opportunities for nice, positive heart-to-heart chats as Ben opens up about his anorexia. Back in the 'bad old days' we'd do umpteen walks, especially when he was off school last Spring / Summer, and I'd be so frustrated at the lack of progress - or promises to improve this, that and the other which I knew the anorexia wouldn't let him keep.