Wednesday 18 April 2012

Okay, so what DID I get to say yesterday...

That's the trouble with 5 minute interviews - you simply don't have enough time to even get started, let alone say all you want to say. Also, the nature of interviews is that you also need time for the interviewer (here, Lorraine Kelly of GMTV) to ask the questions and comment on your replies. Plus time for any other person (in this case, GMTV's Dr Hilary Jones) to say their bit, too. Oh, and I almost forgot, (shame on me!) time for my son to talk about the descent into anorexia from his own perspective. After all, it's not all about Batty Matty!! So, in a nutshell, this is what I did - and didn't - cover on the Lorraine Kelly show yesterday.

I explained how everything had gone pear-shaped during the summer of 2009 and how Ben started to exercise more, de-calorise meals, cut himself off from his friends and lose weight. How I had no idea what was happening; after, all as far as I knew, eating disorders like anorexia happen to girls not boys. I also thought (wrongly) that anorexia was all about a 'diet gone wrong'. Just tell them to eat and they would. But, basically, I had no idea what was the matter, so it wasn't until late summer / early Autumn that I took Ben to see the GP.

It took several trips to the GP to get Ben referred for treatment. Firstly he was a boy, and so I expect there was quite a lack of awareness that boys get eating disorders as well as girls.

Then there was the fact that Ben didn't look particularly 'stick thin' at that stage. Just by looking at him you probably wouldn't think anything was really wrong, especially if you'd never seen him as a rugby player before he lost all the weight. As Lorraine Kelly said, his weight plummeted from 12 stone when he used to play prop forward in the rugby team to, well, she said 7 stone, but it was actually 8 (50kg). (8 stone doesn't sound mega low, but never forget this is a 5ft 7inches rugby prop forward bloke we're talking about...)

But I knew something was terribly wrong. In the end it was the school nurse who told me about what treatment was available, so I went back to the GP and insisted they refer Ben for treatment.

I knew there would be a wait, but I had no idea it could be up to 6 months before he'd get treatment. Meanwhile I was helplessly watching my son disappear in front of my eyes.

And of course anorexia isn't just about losing weight; it's about all the other things that are going on as well. It's about the strange behaviours and moods. It's about depression. Ben cut himself off from his friends, he started to behave strangely at school and went off the rails. This, from a boy that had been academically bright, popular and respected by his peers and teachers alike.

And there Lorraine Kelly had to conclude the interview as we were limited for time, of course.

I never managed to explain that, in effect, we didn't have to wait 6 months for treatment because I managed to get Ben fast-tracked into treatment following the emergency admission to hospital at the end of January 2010 when his pulse dropped to 29bpm.

And, of course, I never managed to talk at all about the road to recovery - or the wonderful, amazing, awesome people that helped us get there (you know who you are, dear ladies at the Around The Dinner Table Forum!) and who were a true lifeline - and still are.

Or even my blog and why I write it.

But I did manage to get them to put a link to B-EAT and FEAST on the Lorraine Kelly Twitter page.

So that was our interview with Lorraine Kelly on the Lorraine Kelly show on GMTV yesterday.

But at least it gave our 'cause' some exposure i.e. raising awareness of the growing problem of anorexia in teenage boys.

And a huge thank you to Ben (who isn't really called Ben, as  you will have seen) for enthusiastically agreeing to take part in the Lorraine Kelly show and talk about his experience with anorexia.


  1. You both did GREAT!!! I just wish that you, Batty, and your son had had longer to talk. You both presented as very articulate and knowledgeable.

    I wasn't too impressed with Dr Hilary Jones' wibbling about 'pressure on men to have a six pack' (which is NOT the cause of anorexia nervosa), or the fact that ITV labelled your slot as 'manorexia' (ugh..). But you and Ben scored 100% in your presentation. You are both very brave!


  2. I admit I did want to stuff a sock in Lorraine's gob a couple of times ("let Batty and Ben speak!!")and I agree with ELT about the "manorexia" (grr) and Dr Hilary's blathering: utter nonsense.
    The pair of you did a brilliant job with the time you had though. I could have sat and listened to you for hours: Magnificent, knowledgeable, compassionate Mum! I admit however, that as soon as your slot was over I did not hang around for anymore Lorraine and co!

  3. You did absolutely amazingly, well done to both of you! I cringed when they said 'manorexia' but you both did sooooo good! Did you get to have a chat with Lorraine before, or spend ages in hair and make up?
    Annaliese xox

    1. Thanks! No, we didn't chat with Lorraine before but we did chat briefly with Dr Hilary. We mainly talked with the producers (at length!). As for makeup, didn't spend ages there (no time!) and they didn't do my hair!