Saturday 16 June 2012

Boiling down the events between Oct 2009 and Jan 2010

The four months between October 2009 and late January 2010 are the most complicated months to describe in the book I'm writing about our journey in and out of anorexia. It's also difficult going back to this period - the period between when the penny finally dropped that Ben was developing anorexia through to the day he ended up in the cardio ward with a pulse rate of 29 which fast-tracked us into treatment the very next week.

So much stuff happened. It was like being on a terrifying rollercoaster which we couldn't control and which was dragging us forwards, up and down, to and fro, round and round, so fast we could scarcely think.

Not only was Ben deteriorating at a rate of knots; but we were having to go through a massive learning curve from knowing zero about eating disorders to knowing more than many general practitioners. And, talking about general practitioners, we were getting precious little help from medical professionals as we sat impotently on that 18-22 week waiting list for treatment.

This was the period when Ben went from being the strapping rugby player and athlete he'd been in July, at the end of the previous school year, to something more akin to a skeleton to the astonishment and concern of the school sports staff.

It was the period where all the baking and cooking that had gone on over the summer vacation had to stop as Ben began to cut down recipe content to the bare minimum resulting in fat-free, low calorie, tasteless food. He'd get agitated in the kitchen and at the supermarket, policing my supermarket trolley to make sure nothing 'unhealthy' went into it. He was banned from the kitchen, but insisted on accompanying me to the supermarket, much against my better judgement.

This was the period when he excluded himself from his social circle at school, following the summer months where he'd cut himself off from his friends in favour of punishing sessions at the gym. Where his moods and behaviour became increasingly eratic and rightening, especially around school situations and, of course, food.

Meanwhile all we could do as parents was watch helplessly as the eating disorder swept our son away like a huge tidal wave.

Oh, and wait for that letter to arrive from CAMHS with the date for our first assessment while we dabbled with private treatment which was like trying to mend the gash in the Titanic with a Band Aid.

Not an easy period to write about, and especially not easy to get across the sheer desperation we were feeling. And fear. There was an awful lot of fear.


  1. I remember that fear - from the time of the first descent and from a relapse - so, so paralysing and visceral. The theory of some treatments is to channel it, that of others to palliate it. I just wish there was a magic wand to take it away and make it unjustified but at the moment it's a perfectly reasonable and reasoned reaction to what happens to far too many people.

  2. Matty please write everything down no matter how disturbing. The fact that someone has already faced the demon will be pointer for those who will most certainly follow. In any learning curve experience is a most valuable asset. Delay would not seem to be an option either because if the sufferer gets to adulthood the rules change and it gets much much harder.