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).
Much of what she said at our session made sense, especially as regards the way Ben finds socialising so challenging. And also why he finds it hard to move away from the "safe" environment of his eating routine - and why food is the most important thing in his life. I got the feeling, from yesterday's session, that Ben would sacrifice social, academic life and a career if they got in the way of his routines.
Ben's moods still aren't brilliant. But, then, Ben always had mood issues, right from the day he was born. He was a screaming baby. He didn't like playing with other toddlers and would give them "daggers" looks. In other words, keep away from me!!
He had one good friend at primary school - a boy just like him. Quiet, imaginative and very different from the other boys who would kick footballs around the yard. It's a real shame that this boy moved away, because he would probably have been a friend for life.
Ben's mood tends to be generally low. But sometimes it swings so it's very high. It's either one or the other, never in between. All or nothing.
And, of course, he finds it very hard to socialise or hold down relationships (e.g. with girls). He misses the usual social cues which others give off and tends to "lecture" or "talk at" people, rather than hold a rolling conversation. But this could just be because the eating disorder isolated him so much during those crucial developmental years.
He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of a range of subjects (history, philosophy, religion, etc) but also tends to have very strong opinions, which aren't always right. Sometimes I feel as if I'm the errant child and he's the strict adult! Again, this could simply be because he never learned "how to be an adult", alongside his peers like most other young people do.
He was part of a very strong social group during the first four years of secondary school. He was "top dog" and very popular indeed. As he always said: "I would get concerned if I'd never been through this popular phase. But I have been popular, and for four whole years. So I must have been doing something right!"
So it's all a bit confusing.
But a chat with the psych wouldn't be a bad thing.
oh how I recognise those characteristics. We have booked a chat with an Asperger's psych (in about a year's time probably, nothing runs fast in NHS psychiatry) in the hope that even a diagnosis of "no, not Autism" will give us some chance to discuss pre-ED problems and co-morbid conditions. Yes, absolutely, teenage years blighted by AN won't help anyone either biologically or socially to grow up as the Minnesota Starvation Study told us 40 years ago, but non-nutrition based perpetuating factors may be in existence and need to be evaluated and addressed too.ReplyDelete
True, and the more I think about it all, the more sense it makes...Delete
When I found your blog and read it, it has inspired me look more into finding ways to help cousin who is trying to fight this awful disease. He was about 15 years old when he was first diagnosed, and he got better within 2 years. Last week I just found out that he is starting to fall back into his bad eatting habits. Reading your blog has been extremely inspirational to help him every way that I can. Thank you for making this blog!ReplyDelete
Relapse is common, unfortunately. But - as an expert said at the conference I went to a couple of weeks ago - every time you go round in a circle you pick up useful tools, information, etc along the way which you can use next time round to hopefully get things back onto an even keel quickly. xxDelete
Just wondering whether Ben has ever been tested for Aspergers?ReplyDelete
On a separate note, DBT is fantastic and there is lots of current research to indicate how effective it can be for people with EDs. A new module has been developed called Radical Openness (in addition to the 4 core modules) which aims to help people learn to challenge rigid thinking/behaviour patterns and open themselves up to new experiences. Can't recommend it highly enough. They're doing some great work in Devon at the moment. Hope Ben is up for the DBT!
Thank you, this is soooooo useful to know! Fingers crossed it's just what Ben needs. xDelete