Monday 31 December 2012

Your essential ED-beating toolkit for 2013

If you've never visited The New Maudsley Approach website and read through it in detail then I strongly suggest you do, in preparation for whatever it is you need to do to help your child recover from their eating disorder in 2013. It is packed full of tools and techniques for carers to use - evidence-based stuff that's aimed at helping you to get the best response from your child at a time when it can seem as if all they're doing is resisting logic and action.

Firing on all cylinders ready for the New Year

It's the final day of 2012 - and the end of my blog posts for this year. Tomorrow we begin our "fats experiment" whereby we spend a couple of weeks closely analysing (and adjusting) fat and calorie content of Ben's intake, preceded by a weigh-in session. I will also be measuring his height. Then, each week in the New Year, I will be introducing new challenges / experiments / tests / whatever with a view to making 2013 the year that Ben really does recover fully and permanently.

Sunday 30 December 2012

Comparing notes with my Mother-in-law

Back in September 2009 it was my Mother-in-law who suggested I take Ben to see our GP. She lives abroad and doesn't see us that often, so when she saw Ben following the summer of Drastic Weight Loss in 2009 she immediately noticed the difference. We, on the other hand, had been with him every day. As a result the dramatic weight loss wasn't as evident.

Friday 28 December 2012

Why the "prequel" to my new book "Please eat..."?

Over the past 24 months I've had countless emails from parents of teenage boys (and girls) with eating disorders who have said that my blog has helped them in their own fight against anorexia, bulimia or EDNOS. It's one of the reasons why I made PDFs of my 2011 and 2012 posts. However as I was reading through the proof of my new book "Please eat..." I was suddenly inspired to publish my blog as well, in two parts initially, first 2011 and (later) 2012.

"Why are you obsessed with his weight ? It's only 2kg", comments Anon. Here's why...

Don't get me wrong... I welcome all kinds of comments on my blog. Often, like the comment I received the other day, it inspires me to write about why I do the things I do and worry about the things I worry about. So when Anon posted "Why are you obsessed with his weight ? It's only 2kg" [about Ben's 2kg weight loss over Christmas] I couldn't resist responding here...

Thursday 27 December 2012

Why do they insist on doing it?

Yet again I'm hearing of a family where the treatment team is insisting on what the parents believe to be a sub-optimum weight for their daughter as far as full Weight Restoration is concerned. I can't count the number of similar complaints I've heard from families, ours included. So why do eating disorder treatment teams insist on doing it?

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Seeing as it's Christmas, let's be angry with the church again...

Yesterday my travels took me past "that church" several times - the church Ben and I attended for a year or so. My attendance was sporadic, but Ben attended religiously, walking the 30 minute walk there and back every Sunday morning over an 18 month period. As you know from previous blog entries he went out of his way to try and fit in, and to get spiritual help - and the church failed him. Read more about it here.

2kg down, but wheels already in motion to put it back on again

I would hazard a guess that there are very few of our children with eating disorders that actually gained weight over Christmas, despite their worries, year upon year, that they will get fat... I might be wrong, but it always seems to be the case in our house. Yesterday was our fourth Christmas Day with ED. Can you believe that? But the good news is that...

Saturday 22 December 2012

What about Batty, though? What's going on?

Another reason I've found it so hard to complete my book in the way I would like is because, for the past couple of months, I've feel really weird. I've felt kind of numb, almost as if I'm observing life from a distance rather than being part of it. The build-up to Christmas has felt really strange, almost as if it isn't happening. It's felt like one massive effort to do anything and "get in the mood". Why do I think this is?

As this year draws to a close...

It's been a hell of a year in so many ways. Thankfully, despite slow progress and the odd blip (some more blip-ish than others!) if you met Ben right now you would think he is a normal boy looking forward to his 19th birthday tomorrow (movie and a meal) and to Christmas with his family. This week he hasn't appeared anxious; indeed he's been relatively chilled. This is fantastic news, especially after last weekend. But what about this year, hey?

Friday 21 December 2012

Everything is going OK...

Following last weekend's outburst, everything seems to be going OK - almost as if Ben had "let of steam"... which is what he claims it was. As I write, he is singing at the top of his voice, about to walk up to the local charity shop where he works on Friday mornings. Our diet has improved this week in that we've had more fats, especially Omega fats which are good for the mood. Plus, Ben has agreed the GP can refer him for further NHS treatment.

Thursday 20 December 2012

I am privileged to have known this woman

Last night the huge school theatre was packed with well-wishers for the school nurse's leaving presentation. What quickly became clear is that there were scores of other families who she'd helped - way over and above the call of duty. And the funny thing was, I suspect each family felt that they were the most important family to her. Unlike many other clinicians, Sheila didn't always keep a "professional distance" when genuine love, humanity and compassion were needed. She is loved by hundreds, probably thousands of people.

Wednesday 19 December 2012


Over lunch we've just had another chat about things, using our Contract as a base for the discussion. I have outlined, again, what I plan to do in 2013 - and why. And also why he can trust me to not "go mad", "deceive" him and why I will - as I said to him - "do what's needed to get you where you need to be. You need to trust me on that. And you know why you need to get there."

Waving goodbye tonight

If you've read through my blog you'll know that one of the most supportive people on our journey through anorexia was the school nurse (who I've called Sheila in my new book). It was Sheila who first told me about what treatment was available for eating disorders and, basically, held my hand while I was going through some pretty nightmarish experiences as Ben slid into anorexia during the late autumn of 2009.

So far, so good...

This is what makes it so different, these days, to the days of High Anorexia when Ben's mind jetted off to Planet Irrational... Thankfully, in general, Ben is happy about my Big Plans for New Year.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

And here is my New Year Resolution!

Adjustments to our Recovery Contract in the lead up to university and LIFE...

Tricky challenge for the New Year...

The wonderful private dietician we've been seeing has sent me a print-out all about fats - and why they are ESSENTIAL for health and won't make you fat. It is incredibly illuminating reading - the proverbial "light bulb moment". Well, it is for me. Whether or not it will be for Ben is another matter because, as we all know only too well, Ben and other fats-avoiding eating disorder sufferers know better than the science.

Monday 17 December 2012

A thumping good use for a spare £100!

As you know, Saturday's psych session cost me £100 and any subsequent sessions with her would have cost me £100. So, as Ben refuses point blank to have any more sessions with her or with anyone else (and no I don't have a spare £100 to fritter away on whatever I wish, I am not dripping in money by any stretch of the imagination)... I had a lightbulb moment earlier this morning...

Sunday 16 December 2012

Three young people failed by the NHS

Saturday morning is obviously Eating Disorder and other mental health issues morning at the private therapy clinic we went to yesterday. On duty are the two dieticians - the one we saw last week (the one on the telly) and the one we used to see at CAMHS before her funding was withdrawn. (Back then, she didn't do private work.)

£70 on "medicine" down at Tesco's

"Food is medicine", as we all know. So I've just returned from Tesco's armed with salmon in various guises, other oily fish, chocolates, custard (to make ice cream), turkey steaks and a stack of other stuff. I've been there alone so I don't have the "We don't need that... it's too expensive" voice in my ear. And, thus far, he seems totally relaxed at what I'm doing.

Where shall I start?

I'm not sure how to write this. I have enough material for 100 blog posts after yesterday and, frankly, today my emotions, energy and mind are in shreds. Lowest and highest points yesterday?

Saturday 15 December 2012

Ding dong (not) merrily on high

So there I was, writing about all the positives that are coming out of this experience at the moment when off went the alarm bells inside my head...

Friday 14 December 2012

Can I complete my book? I'm not sure if I can...

For a week or so the old instincts have been nudging me, homing in on the fact that All Is Not Well with Ben. Thankfully, we're seeing the new psych tomorrow and I have every hope that she will be exactly the right person for Ben. So, completing my book, talking about "recovery" feels, well, a bit hypocritical at the moment. It didn't a few weeks ago, but it does now, I am sorry to say.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Just how did they plan to do that?

Looking back through old blog entries I came across one where I talk about how CAMHS always promised that, once Ben was discharged from treatment for his anorexia, CAMHS would monitor him for at least 12 months to check that everything was continuing to go in the right direction. Sorry, but have I missed something?

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Why do I feel strangely naked today?

Why? Because the wonderful Becky Henry CPCC, author of "Just tell her to stop...", coach and public speaker on eating disorders has offered to give the final draft of my book the "once over" and write a review (hopefully a good one!). And, boy, do I feel strangely naked!

Monday 10 December 2012

And here's another, longer interview

Here's a link to another, longer interview about why I've written my book.

Why I have written my new book

Here's an interview with me about why I have written my new book...

Waiting for 2 proofs of my new book

Okay, so this weekend I thought, "Sod it, time to press the 'submit' button and get a proof of my new book to check over". Otherwise I will be here for MONTHS micro-proof-reading the manuscript and making minuscule changes, yet at the same time overlooking obvious errors. I think this is part of "the genes" - the bit of my brain that's very similar to Ben's and definitely similar to my Dad's.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Pillar to post...

Yes, the session with the dietician went well, but she's not sure how helpful she can be to Ben at this stage. Perhaps, she suggested, it mightn't be a bad thing for Ben to see a psychologist colleague of hers to see if there are any other underlying issues that need addressing, in a different way - say - through the use of DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy).

Friday 7 December 2012

Hmn... dietician bound tomorrow...

Tomorrow morning we're seeing the private dietician with a view to sorting out the remnants of Ben's eating disorder. I also wonder whether we need to go back and see the private psychologist for a few sessions. Ben is still avoiding social situations. Tonight he announced he's not going to Phab. "Look, just not tonight!" he barked at me a few moments ago. He still hasn't got his zest for life back and seems down in the dumps much of the time. To be honest he is blooming miserable.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Oh, phewee, red tape...

The cover of my new book "Please eat..." (about our teenage son's battle with anorexia) is finished, and I'm busy doing the final proof read before sending off for a printed "author's copy" to check that everything is OK. I also have my own ISBN number (for the bar code on the back cover). I am publishing it through my freelance copywriting business: Creative Copy, so that's all sorted too. I also have a pretty good idea of how to do Kindle and e-reader versions of my book. So now all I have to do is battle my way through some pretty time-consuming red tape...

Wednesday 5 December 2012

It could be classed as discrimination, but...

Ben is adamant that he doesn't want to return to the deli / cafe to work. He says he couldn't work for someone that is obviously so unsympathetic about his condition. Mind you, I said, she doesn't know the full story. I suggested that maybe she should know, but...

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Ben is no longer working in the deli / cafe...

Okay, so what happened? Ben was asked to work Saturdays but told the owner he couldn't because he has a medical appointment on Saturday mornings. But he didn't feel he could tell her what the appointment was for (he's seeing the private dietician for a few sessions). I don't think the owner believed him because she insisted on knowing what the appointment was for. But he didn't want to tell her. He arrived home quite upset, declaring that he never wanted to work there ever again...

Saturday 1 December 2012

Tired, but bursting with "endolphins"

One thing that made us all giggle at last weekend's FEAST conference was when we were talking about the good endorphins that people get from doing exercise. Except that one mum got her tongue twisted and came out with "endolphins" instead which made everyone laugh - because we'd been talking about the the different animal personae that carers adopt - Janet Treasure's "dolphin" being the ideal one i.e. you guide and encourage your child slowly and discreetly through the rough seas towards recovery.