Within hours of dropping him off at uni I got the first message saying he didn't fit in with the other guys in his apartment and felt lonely... Then this lunchtime I got another message from him. I can always tell when something's up because his first message is always something like "Hi", and that's all.
He feels he's not ready to start university, feels on a different planet from everyone else, feels out of his depth socially having been isolated for so long while everyone else grew up. He feels as if he's years behind and way, way out of his depth. His natural instinct, because of the anorexia, is to isolate himself rather than putting on a brave face and going out there...
I spoke to him on the phone and he was in floods of tears saying he hated "everything". His room feels like a prison cell and he didn't enjoy the beach party at the accommodation bar last night.
So I got on the phone and spoke to someone in charge of the accommodation complex, explained the situation (i.e. about the anorexia, depression, etc) and then someone else called me back to find out more - except they couldn't say a great deal as, until 18 year old Ben gives his permission (which he will do), the Data Protection Act prevents them from communicating with me.
Having said this, I did have a good chat with them...
The upshot is that they're sending someone round to see him in his room, hopefully around now - someone skilled in counselling / mentoring. We need to see if it's salvageable i.e. if he will stay - or go.
The problem is that we will need to decide within the next four weeks to avoid any financial implications. But if he does decide to withdraw, he can pick up where he left off in 12 months' time.
It's early days, of course, and things may improve.
But they may not. Whatever he decides I am sure we can make the best of a bad situation. After all, I am used to Plan A, B, C, Ds... I am the Arch Problem-solver!
If possible, we need to avoid a knee-jerk reaction - the instinct to flee back to the safety of home.
But it may happen.
Or it may not.
I expect he's not the only one to be feeling pretty cr*p once it all sinks in that they've left home and they're in this little apartment room on their own...
Watch this space, I guess...
Efferty efferty eff.