Good news - Ben did go to his Warhammer gaming club last night and enjoyed it. (And then came home for a plateful of M&S fish'n'chips with peas followed by 2 puddings.) Today he's talking to a local museum about volunteering. Then tomorrow evening he's going to see one of his friend's bands in the city centre. Meanwhile we've arranged to see a former CAMHS (eating disorder specialist) psychologist next week to tidy up all the loose ends.
Private, yes. But I'm hoping my dear late dad will pay for the treatment... Pretty please, mum... Otherwise it'll come out of my savings.
Ben also has an appointment for an NHS assessment on Monday, but I'm not holding out much hope there. It's only an initial assessment. Whatever he eventually gets referred to may have a lengthy waiting list and will probably be low level counselling with a finite number of sessions e.g. 10 or 12.
I had NHS counselling in the summer of 2010 when Ben was going through his worst anorexia patch and it was useless. Lots of form filling, questionnaires and taking home dozens of photocopied sheets - the kind of info I could have found on the Net. Also, you don't get to choose your therapist. It's a case of pot luck.
This is why we've decided to go ahead with the private treatment.
Last night I talked to the psychologist on the phone and she sounded great. So fingers crossed... And because she specialises in eating disorders we may not need to bring in a private dietician.
Ben wants me to be involved in the sessions, just like I was at CAMHS, and the psychologist is happy with this. I've told her about our Anorexia Recovery Contract and the way it's been so successful. She also asked for a potted history of Ben's anorexia to date.
"But the good news is," I told her, "He's come out the other side. He's very keen to work on the outstanding issues - the niggly things that prevented him from staying at university, mainly on the social anxiety / integration front. Plus the odd bit of fallout from the eating disorder which came to light when he had to cater for himself and eat in student accommodation, is away from his usual eating routine and is surrounded by stored food in his room (because of lack of space in the shared kitchen). When he was discharged from CAMHS in February he thought he could handle things himself. He thought he was ready for uni. But when he got there he realised he wasn't. Far from it. And he realised he needs help to overcome these issues."
Of course Ben hasn't spoken to her yet. And at the end of the day he needs to feel comfortable with her. So fingers crossed there, too...
But so far everything seems to be going pretty much to plan. Okay we're hampered by the lack of paid jobs in a recession, but - hey ho - at least there are voluntary opportunities.
When I sat in that Sheffield coffee shop with Ben the other week and set out the caveats for leaving university and taking a year off, one after the other, in writing, he agreed to cooperate.
And so far he has.
Willingly and admirably.