Ben says that the #1 thing that helped him the most over the last 18 months or so has been the Recovery Contract which we set up in March 2011. And, albeit much tweaked over the months, it's still going strong - at Ben's request. We don't do it as often... maybe once a week at the most... but it's still proving to be useful.
Following Ben's brief flirtation with university last month, challenges tend to be more about facing the things that are going to help him adjust to university life in the future, hopefully next September. Ben's keen to go back to university and is eager to do everything in his power to ensure it's a success.
So these days when we do the Contract we talk about Ben's plans for the week. We discuss what he's already done and how things have turned out, and set more challenges for the week to come.
For example this week's challenges are: To investigate becoming a singer in a band, to meet someone socially, to phone about a couple of volunteering opportunities and to go to Games Workshop tonight for their weekly games evening.
He's also added in extra challenges himself, ad hoc, like doing the rounds of another shopping centre near our home to see what paid jobs are available. He's already been round scores of shops and cafes, unfortunately with no luck. But he's done his level best, armed with his CV and Barista certificate. He was also going to meet up with a school friend in Sheffield tomorrow when I meet up with another mum (with a daughter with anorexia). Unfortunately I've had to postpone our trip as I have a heavy cold...
Plus he's already working at his old school on Tuesday mornings, as a teaching assistant in sixth form history and politics classes.
And we're still looking at the different options for further treatment to work on social anxiety and tie up the loose ends of the eating disorder - all the stuff that prevented him from remaining at university this year. Getting treatment, private or NHS, isn't as easy as you would think. Both have waiting lists and I really don't hold out much hope for the NHS option, although he has an assessment on Monday.
Ben hasn't been weighed for some time now. I think it was almost a month ago. And I'm keeping quiet. He seems fine. Yes he's still relatively slim, but not skinny. In other words, the alarm bells aren't going off. Not yet, at any rate.