Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Two fingers up at the eating disorder again!

Following on from the extremely sociable weekend, Ben is planning to meet up with some of his old mates this afternoon to go and see Spiderman at the movies. Then on Friday he's meeting another old mate for lunch in town. Meanwhile he's joining a Warhammer club, starting on Sunday afternoon. (Warhammer, in case you don't realise, is about painting plastic fantasy / Lord of the Rings figures and playing table top war games with them. Or something like that. It's Ben's #1 passion.)

And today he's off to see if he can get a part-time job, probably voluntary, e.g. charity (thrift) shop, to get some experience of store work. Plus, he's very keen to go on a Barista training course (as recommended by my dear friend Charlotte), so he can work in coffee shops, restaurants, etc when he's a student.

Then next week he goes to Poland, on a three-day school trip to Auschwitz.

So it's two fingers up at the ED again and all systems go towards getting his life back from its grasp and getting used to being with his peers again, ready for university.

And he decided to do all this before I offered to award him extra points to encourage socialising (on our Recovery Contract).

Which reminds me... 18 months since its launch, how is the Contract doing these days?

To be truthful it's been on a bit of a back burner recently. But that's the great thing about the Contract: it's flexible, so when you feel you no longer need it so much, you just use it less.

Last week Ben asked if we could do it a bit more regularly again because he finds it really helpful to conquer challenges. These days there aren't so many 'fear foods', it's mainly challenging situations which could be having what he calls a 'condensed lunch' when he knows he won't be having as much later in the day, or not counting calories for a day. And now we're adding points for social interaction. But, as Ben says, "I was planning to do all this anyway," which is excellent news.

Also, 'doing points', as we call it, has always been a useful exercise. It gives us time to talk, on neutral ground, because - right from the start - we agreed that when we 'do points', no-one will jump down the other's neck. There will be no shouting, no criticism, no lecturing, no dishonesty, just an open and honest two-way conversation on neutral ground.

This is one of the reasons why it has worked so well.

"We'll 'do' a version of 'points' via Skype when you're at uni," I said yesterday. "At first you'll find I'm quite vigilant, probably contacting you most days to check how things are going on the ED front. But, as you settle in and get stuck into a routine that works for you, I'll contact you less and less, and eventually leave it up to you to contact me... or not. How does this sound to you?"

He said it sounded fine. "And I'll be able to help you with any problems you're having, like what to do when your room mates have left ten tonnes of washing up in the sink and you need to cook your meal!" I added. "And you can order all your supermarket food online via our account, once a week, and buy other bits and pieces as and when.

"You know what you need to do. You know what you need to eat, when and how often. I know you will do it. And I'll be here to give you encouragement when and if you need me."

But I won't be on his case all the time, just keeping a discreet and diplomatic eye on Ben, playing it all by ear, knowing when to back off and when to be vigilant. And when, God forbid, to take action if the Demon ED decides to have a bash at ruining things.

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