Last night I looked at Ben and, for the first time for years, I felt I was looking at the 'old Ben'. And, thankfully, he seems to have come to terms with the slight weight gain and appears to be continuing to eat as normal. He didn't get the Games Workshop paid job, but he's agreed to volunteer as a helper at the Phab club on a Friday night.
We went along to Phab on Friday. It was strange to be back there after 36 years. Mind you, it wasn't the same building - the original and another have been burned down over the years... It was pretty scruffy and run-down, but it was still Phab. And it was still run by this amazing woman called Ann who must be well into her seventies now, yet is still rushing around organising and motivating people like someone 40 years her junior. In fact I was mega impressed with Ann - the kind of selfless person that's 101 per cent dedicated to what she does, like the people you get on 'Secret Millionaire' on the telly.
The other volunteers seemed great, too. As I said to Ben: "There's much more chance of meeting people like you there. After all, if these people were the clubbing / getting drunk sort then they'd be out clubbing and getting drunk on a Friday evening, not taking time out to help at Phab."
Ben is still chasing up the other volunteer openings. Incredibly no-one has got back to him, despite him nagging them. However he's also arranged to work at the charity shop again on Thursday and Friday mornings, mainly for something to do. And he's chasing up the few friends that are still in our city (i.e. not at uni or overseas on a gap year) to see if he can meet up with them.
On Friday morning we met with our new psychologist who seemed to be really good. I wasn't sure whether Ben agreed with me, judging from the fact he refused to speak to me afterwards. But, then, Ben was always like that after CAMHS sessions before brightening up later on in the day. Once I managed to get him to speak he said: "I feel about at sh*t as you can get. I feel like doing myself in."
Fine... "Don't you say things like that to me," I replied, "Not after all we've been through, you and me". The main thing that was getting him down was his relationship with his dad, which came out at the session. He feels that he's not "the son my dad wanted"... "the going out and getting drunk, rugby playing, getting into trouble kind of son".
"Do you really think your dad would have wanted a son like that?" asked the Psych. Also, he worries that his dad thinks he's sitting around doing nothing when he's actually doing his level best to find work, etc. But once I'd managed to get him to talk about it, he seemed fine.
Anyhow, he's seeing her again a week today - to work on easing him into university in September. I don't just want him to 'muddle through' university; I want him to thrive there. So that's what we'll be working on.
Meanwhile, it was my birthday on Saturday - and Ben cooked a surprise 3-course meal for 6. It was amazing!!