Friday 3 February 2012

Will he, won't he, will he, won't he, will he join the party?

Already he's "feeling tired" and asking me if I wouldn't much rather he stayed home to save me having to drive out at goodness only knows what hour to pick him up from the club in town where C is having her 18th birthday party.

No, I said, I am more than happy to pick you up and the socialising will do you good.

This, as usual, was him emailing me from a school computer this lunchtime - emails that usually start off with "How're you doing?" and often end up with him asking me to pick him up from school.

But today I'm busy, so I can't.

And, anyway, I've agreed with the Assistant Head that he's really well enough now to tackle full days in school.

"Tell him I say he must", she said at our meeting on Wednesday. "After all, it's a crucial time for the A2 level students. If he misses more school there's a chance he won't get the grades we've predicted. We believe he is capable of getting those grades, but to get them he needs to be in school."

Home is still Ben's 'comfort zone' where he feels he can run and hide.

But I strongly believe it's time for him to get out there and be with his peers, especially with university looming on the horizon.

However I wouldn't be surprised if he chickens out tonight and doesn't go. Or, if he does, he calls me mid evening to ask me to pick him up early.

I do worry that this urge to run home to his 'comfort zone' when under pressure socially may make it harder for him to live away at university next year.

It's difficult to know whether 'tough love' is the right approach or not...


  1. when you find the magic answer as to when to push, when to pull, when to sympathise and when to leave well alone please let me know, and let me know whether the same answers work with husbands as do with adult or almost adult children because I'm blowed if I know.

    1. Marcella, you forgot to add elderly parents to the list ...

  2. How come you don't make Ben stay the whole day; has he done anything that endangered his safety ever to warrant the caution of taking him home? I would say being in school sends a better message even though he may not feel it is right. I am not sure exactly about his situation/ how he feels while in school, but for me when I was in school I felt it was a waste of time because I couldn't concentrate and was way to anxious to learn anything. I went to school everyday, up to maybe the last month or two of school when I had a much bigger feeling of depression and hopelessness where I went to the school counselor and requested to be put in a mental ward for 72 hours. My family was always acting as what I was doing was simply an anooyance and this as well, but I got my wish of studying at home and feeling "safer". Staying in school everyday was nervewracking and I basically waited for every single day to end go on my three mile walk (when I still lived with my mom) and then eat dinner and however many calories I still had to eat according to her (I had them all tallied up and she knew it..and I have always been afraid of lying.)Do yoga to calm down and then go to sleep. Over and over and over. I really don't remember much from then. As for social activity..I can't say much on that one, once anorexia hit I was so brain dead and just..well I'd say anxious, but it was hard to even have energy for that! I didn't talk to people much. Even when I first tried to recover, it was just awkward and I didn't know how to talk to people, which I've always been bad at anyways. If he was very social and out going before, it is probably a good thing I'd say though. One thing my current therapist mentioned to me is that I might have Asperger's since I've never been very social, have OCD things, etcetera however I am never sure if it is Aspergers or eating disorder symptoms simply mimic it.

    1. Thanks, kbsiopexperience... Your experience sounds very similar to what Ben was going through two years ago when I took him out of school for very similar reasons... Thanks for sharing this. Love BM xx

  3. And, no, he didn't go to the party...

  4. I have mixed views about pushing people with AN to be like others. Not everyone is a 'party person', whether they have an ED or not. I never have been, and neither is my brother. My father was an introvert too. My father's and brother's introversion were/are not linked to an ED; the introversion is an inherent trait. It is true that AN leads to introversion and isolation, but it may be that rowdy parties are just not Ben's 'thing' - either at the moment, or ever.

    One of the reasons why I was so self-critical before I developed AN was that I wasn't like my peers in many ways. I was shy and I had my own interests. But being a bit atypical and not 'fitting in' made be anxious and depressed - and THEN I developed AN. It wasn't the other way round.

    Only this last week I berated myself for not going to a big social event. I felt that I had to do this event to be 'normal' and ended up having a panic attack over it. I talked to my psych about it and he said that I needed to show compassion towards myself and just accept that I couldn't do it. Recovery from AN doesn't necessarily mean becoming like everyone else.

    My personal feeling is that Ben would be best finding a social outlet in which he feels comfortable; perhaps one that is less rowdy than an 18th birthday party. I know that I did 'find myself' socially when I went to London as a postgraduate. I found a group of friends who like me, preferred to go for walks, or visit museums, than go to nightclubs.

    Just a thought.... xxx