Getting your child through an eating disorder is damn tough, we all know that. But what happens when they reach their set weight / Weight Restored? What no-one told me is how they come to terms with something that is very difficult for them to come to terms with. Their weight is okay, but obviously it's been going up for some time. What if it continues to go up? What if it never stops?
CAMHS always said to Ben: "Don't worry, we'll never let your weight spiral out of control once you are Weight Restored."
The trouble is, when that finally happened - i.e. within the last month or so - CAMHS were no longer around. Ben was discharged in February because he was 18 and because the psych was leaving.
And, for two years now, Ben has been eating with a view to weight gain. His weight has gone up and down, as you would expect, but the general trend has been upwards, especially over the past few months. So much so that he now looks just like the old Ben. Without the 7-days a week training / Rugby physique (because exercise became a compulsion, so he's had to keep it to the bare minimum), but definitely absolutely fine.
He is finding it very hard to come to terms with where he is now. He loves food and doesn't want to eat less than he's been doing. Yet something inside him (the 'Anorexia Demon?') is telling him that if he continues like this he will continue to pile on the pounds and get fat.
In his mind, his weight gain diet was restrictive. In other words, he would like to have eaten even more than he did. And the prospect of eating less than he's eating now in order to maintain his weight has sent his mood plummeting.
The experts always said that Recovery is all about getting to a place where you don't think about things like this any more. Food, and thoughts about food, begins to take its normal place in everyday life rather than dominating it. Gaining the odd extra pound or two is no longer a worry. But what "they" didn't say is how you get from where Ben is now - Weight Restored and anxious about continuing to put on weight - to where he should be - Weight Restored and content.
A bit like in the Bad Old Days, right at the start, when "they" tell you your child has to eat cream cakes and custard, etc in order to put on weight, but fail to tell you how the hell you're supposed to get cream cakes and custard, etc past their rammed-closed mouth.
So I have put a post on the Around The Dinner Table forum to see how other parents of young people recovering from eating disorders coped with this stage.
Watch this space...