Tuesday 10 January 2012

As if to rub salt into the wound...

Like some dreadful pop song you can't get out of your head, the School Song has been playing in my mind on a non-stop loop since it was sung in the school chapel on Sunday. I went to bed trying to push it out of my head. It was there at each of the 5 or 6 times I awoke during the night and it is still here this morning.

English public or grammar school songs are cheesy at the best of times. Unfortunately, when you consider the Topic of the Moment, this one is all about 'friends' - the unbreakable bond of school friendship. "... Be it to our friends a token of a bond of love unbroken... old and new friends, all we cherish... minds and hearts with love entwining... mindful of her friends for ever..." etc etc etc etc.

It's as if the ED 'demon' is gleefully tapping away at the school organ, his 'demons' chanting the School Song at me, over and over again... aaaarrrgggghhh!!!

If you hadn't gathered, I was on a bit of a downer yesterday. I didn't tell Ben; I just said I didn't feel well, and I went to bed early (School Song playing on loop, of course...)

The school term starts today and yesterday I asked him if he'd be spending the whole day at school.

"No point", he responded. "No point in standing there all alone over lunchtime when I can be at home doing something useful and with people that actually TALK to me."

He has completely given up on trying to salvage his friendships. He has decided that his social life is beyond help and he will spend the rest of this academic year knuckling down and studying. To hell with his friends, they might as well not exist. Not surprisingly, he hasn't been in contact with any of them over the Christmas break.

Regardless of what I say, what his Dad says or what his therapist says, his mind is set.

And he refuses to spend a full day at school because it will mean spending the lengthy lunch hour alone.

Meanwhile he seems to have dropped all the activities which staff set up to help him integrate back into school: a part in the drama production, person in charge of House charity fund raising, etc.

All the potential new friends who he talked about a few months ago, in the year below, seem to have evaporated into the ether.

"Let's face it, mum", he said, "I am not going to have any friends until I go away to Uni."

And meanwhile that confounded School Song continues to play on loop in my head, especially relevant in this, his friendship group's final year at the school:

"... a bond unbroken, to departing friends our token..." followed by an unpronounceable greeting / parting word in ancient Greek.

I've got my own unpronounceable word for this situation, in ancient  British...

Me, being me, I can't let this just lie.

I can't sit here and do nothing.

Good God, these friends are NICE people. Many parents dread their children 'getting in with the wrong crowd' but Ben couldn't have 'gotten in with' a nicer crowd - girls as well as boys.

It did cross my mind on Sunday whether I should have a 'quiet word' with the girl who's shown Ben the most support during his illness. But, as my husband rightly said, that might be putting too much pressure on her. Never forget these kids are studying for the most important school exams of their career; it's not fair to put extra pressure (and possibly a feeling of obligation and - unintentional - guilt) on them.

But what I have done is fire an email off to the school nurse to see if I can pop in to see her.

In the early days of the eating disorder, she was a pillar of strength and we became great friends. We haven't been in touch recently, so it's a good opportunity to catch up. I can't think of anyone else I could talk to who might 'just' be able to help.

Bloody eating disorder.


  1. If they were friends worth keeping for the rest of your life, they'd have still pursued friendship with him, even at his lowest, not given up because he was so ill. Tell him that. The friends you make at uni are the ones you keep forever anyway :)

  2. Yes, I agree, uni friends are the best friends. But getting established at uni can be hard...

  3. I'm hoping it is as me and Ben are nearly exactly the same in our situations, we're the same age, school was messed up as a result, friends gave up, we both went in hospital at the same time, it's one coincidence too many! I think you may have had twins.

  4. Ben already has a few 'twins' - same situation, same age, etc so please feel free to become another 'twin' ;)