Thursday 31 January 2013

Sermon #3: the anxiety-busting course that left us in stitches

Carrie Arnold's 3rd point on her excellent and informative list is: 3. Anorexia often brings "friends" in the form of co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety. Although it makes recovery more complicated, it doesn't make recovery impossible. Staying healthy means managing both anorexia and any other mental illness you might have. So the topic for my #3 sermon is: anxiety and how an anxiety-busting course helped Ben, but not in the way it was supposed to..!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Sermon #2: Food is medicine, but how do you get it into your child?

Carrie Arnold's 2nd point on her excellent and informative list is: 2. Food is medicine. You have to eat in order to get well. You don't have to like this, and eating may make you feel worse at first. That's okay. Keep eating. So the topic for my #2 sermon is inspired by my Text for the Day which comes from my new book:

Tuesday 29 January 2013

10 sermons inspired by Carrie Arnold's excellent list

My dear friend M posted this link on Facebook to Carrie Arnold's very excellent list on the FEAST website: Ten Things I Want Sufferers to Know About Anorexia. I was going to write about just one point that hit a nerve with me when I thought, heck, why not do what I did the other Christmas (with the 12 Days of ED Christmas) and write a post a day based on it. So here goes... #1...

Saturday 26 January 2013

And Batty is still tweaking away...

One day, very soon I promise, I will have a manuscript that I am one hundred per cent happy with. I know the text of Please eat... so well by now that I could recite it aloud, off by heart. But that's the problem... I am getting "too close" to it. Thankfully one of my reviewers has picked up on one or two things in the 6 chapters I've posted up on the web as a "taster". She has also kindly offered to have a read through the whole manuscript. When I eventually finish tweaking, that is...

Friday 25 January 2013

Ouch, I thought, reading this supplement in the Radio Times, this isn't good...

We get the Radio Times, the 'thinking person's' guide to what's on British TV and radio every week. It was Ben who pointed out the 8 page supplement stapled into the centre of next week's issue: The Fast Diet by a doctor that's been on TV quite a lot. Ouch, I thought to myself, this isn't good...

Thursday 24 January 2013

I need your help, dear blog followers and friends!

I need your assistance! When my new book "Please eat..." goes live on Amazon in early February I need (a minimum of) 20 good reviews! And I'd be so, so, so grateful if you would do a quick Amazon review for me when the time comes. As I said on a thread about books on the ATDT forum: I'm keen to get this book out there, as its message that boys get eating disorders, not just girls, is so, so, so important. And, no, I don't plan to make any money from this, it is purely a labour of love!!! But to get it out there, I need some great reviews, on Amazon!

"How do you feel about using your real name, Ben?"

This is what I asked him yesterday. For the past... ages... he's been involved in a project run by Oxford University - an online project aimed at helping young people deal with and understand more about a wide range of teenage illnesses and conditions, one of which is teenage eating disorders, in boys as well as girls. I can't remember when Ben first met their researcher for an interview, but it was ages ago. Now, to coincide with Eating Disorders Awareness Week (11 - 17 Feb), the website is finally going live.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Phew! Busy sorting out a new website

I decided that my main anorexia boy website is a bit overloaded with information so, taking professional advice from another writer, I decided to launch a separate website focusing exclusively on my books, and primarily my new book "Please eat..." which will be published very soon. This new website includes links to excerpts from my books, for example you down download / view the first few chapters as PDFs, which is a great way to get a taste for my books without committing yourself. You can view the first 6 chapters of "Please eat..." here (please note this is a PDF of my second proof and not my final proof which is still being proof-read, so apologies if there are any errors).

Sunday 20 January 2013

Got it out of my system

If  you hadn't gathered, Batty was having an Angry Day yesterday. Angry at the eating disorder for stealing my son's life. Angry at the snail-like pace of recovery, even though I know there is no other option; anorexia can never be like a bacterial illness where you pop an antibiotic and, hey presto, a short while later you're on the road to recovery.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Eye of newt and toe of frog...

Apply tree resin, roots of white lilies and dried human waste to the buboes, then cut open the veins leading to the heart before applying clay and crushed violets. This, esteemed clinicians believed, was an effective method of treating the Black Death in the Middle Ages.

Like pushing you-know-what uphill...

Ben's major worry, ever since he began treatment for his eating disorder, three (yes, three!) years ago has been that his weight risked spiralling out of control. When the scales showed a slight gain (because it was never more than a slight gain), that heralded the start of the "spiralling". He risked going up, up, up and away into the upper stratospheres of obesity.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

What would have happened if...?

At least Ben is almost recovered so it's not a complete disaster that he is refusing further treatment. But imagine if I'd been the parent of a 19 year old who desperately needed help, but refused? I wonder what would have happened?

"If you don't want treatment then I can't insist you have it," she said...

...Which is true, I suppose. And, yet again, there we were... Ben and me... sitting in front of a clinician with me looking like the over-protective, "pushy" mother and in reality wasting my time and energy, first taking Ben to see the GP and then to get this assessment. Not to mention all the trips to the private dietician and psychologists.

What's the latest situation with my book "Please eat..."?

As you know, I've just published all 300+ pages of my first blog book: Anorexia Boy Recovery, Part I, 2011 and the postman's just delivered the proof for Part II (Anorexia Boy Recovery posts from 2012), which I will proof read over the next few days. But what's the situation with my main book which I've been talking about for well over a year?

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Assessment bound...

So tomorrow morning Ben goes for his assessment to see what, if any, further treatment they feel he needs. Call me a pessimist but I'm not holding out much hope... And, if he does get referred for some sort of decent treatment, I expect the waiting list will be hellishly long. So, in an ideal world, what would I want Ben to get out of further treatment?

Monday 14 January 2013

"I miss her so much!" said Ben the other day...

Back on the 15th December, if you remember, I was worried sick that Ben was heading for a relapse - or worse. He admitted that he was considering suicide and then there was that effing and blinding with the private psychologist when he refused to cooperate with treatment. Later that afternoon I curled up in my bed, in the dark, and sobbed my eyes out, worried sick that we were heading for a relapse - and if we did, that there would be no-one to help us, because Ben is over 18 and legally allowed to make his own decisions.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Why the H shouldn't an 18 year old stay with CAMHS if they want to?

I've been scouting around the Internet looking for various statistics, including average waiting times in the UK for CAMHS treatment, and ended up on the B-EAT website, reading through a forum. The particular thread I found was started by an 18 year old who was terrified at the prospect of being discharged from CAMHS (who she had been with for 3 years). The only reason she was being discharged was because she had reached 18.

Hmn... biographies about eating disorders only at, not .com!

Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say (I think). But it appears the "Books->Biography->Social & health issues->eating disorders" section I want to be listed only appears in, over here in Britain - or, at least, that's what my research is showing. Here's their reply from yesterday:

Saturday 12 January 2013

Amazon, "eating disorders" category DOES exist!

Please, please, please dear Amazon... all I want to do is get my book listed under "eating disorders" within the "social & health issues" within "biography"... yet you have insisted - twice - that there is no such category. But here I am, on Amazon, clicking "biography", "S&H issues" and - bingo! - "eating disorders" appears as a category. It's where all the other eating disorder biographies / autobiographies I've read reside. Yet you insist there is no such category! Aaaarrrrggghhh!

Friday 11 January 2013

A summary of our story in the lead up to treatment

In case you're new to this blog and are unfamiliar with our story, I've pasted in the introduction from Volume II of my new book below (2012 posts - see below right for details). This should give you a rough idea of how my teenage son, Ben, found himself on the road to anorexia (and eventually, thankfully, on the road to recovery).

Thursday 10 January 2013

Brain still pretty mushy, but this is what I've written

Yes I've written that sales letter I'd been putting off - and had a bash at a guest blog for Men Get Eating Disorders Too. Despite my brain still feeling like a lump of cold mashed potato (and probably the colour of the [tasty but disgusting looking] mash-with-chestnut-puree that Ben rustled up the other evening), this is a sneak preview of my draft:

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Severe writer's block... durrr... brain like mashed potato...

Sam Thomas of Men Get Eating Disorders Too has asked me to "guest blog" about my newly published book (see right). But my mind has gone completely blank. It's as if I've never put pen to paper (or rather fingertips to keyboard) in my life. The same thing happened when I tried to blog here about a really fruitful "walk and talk" I did with Ben this afternoon. Durrr.... my brain is like mashed potato... I think Batty's brain is on sabbatical.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Published on Amazon today, my 2011 blog posts!

Browsing through a blog can be a real pain, especially a blog that's been going for a few years. All that clicking and searching... phew! And the thing about my blog is that, with each post, I've tried to make it helpful to other families going through the same anorexia nightmare that we went through. So, because I want other families to be able to easily access my story, I've now published all of my 2011 blog posts in paperback, and my book (314 pages) is now on and (See right)

Sunday 6 January 2013

So freaking negative...

I am fed up. Fed up with working like a Trojan to help my son reach recovery from his eating disorder while being faced with someone who is so incredibly negative about the outcome - and life in general - that, frankly, I wonder why the hell I bother. It's not in my nature to give up. After all, this has been my life for the past three-and-a-half years. But, by heck, sometimes I feel like doing so.

Take a deep breath and patiently wait to ask him...

One of the many, many things I've learned in my three-and-a-half year battle to get my son recovered from anorexia is that patience is most definitely a virtue. I am usually impulsive. I react, guns blazing, and think afterwards. Over the years it's got me into one or two scrapes and I know that, as far as eating disorders are concerned, and especially approaching your child about something that's worrying you about eating disorder behaviours or compulsions, needs to be approached with patience, diplomacy and caution - to get them on your side, avoid yelling at each other and getting nowhere.

Saturday 5 January 2013

And here is the description that will appear on Amazon

My final proof is "almost" ready, just a couple of minor tweaks. In the meantime, here's the description that will appear on Amazon:

2011 blog posts available in paperback very soon

I've put our story "Please eat..." on a bit of a back burner while I re-work the last few chapters. In the meantime I've been busy over Christmas getting my 2011 blog posts into paperback to make it easier for other families to read through our experiences. I am just checking the final proof and it will hopefully be on and very soon (all 300+ pages of it!). Watch this space! In the meantime, here is what I say in the introduction:

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Another Good Day, with Good Things happening

Ben is embracing our 2013 Plan enthusiastically. We've been counting fats - and they seem to be on target, so that's brilliant. We are still in agreement as regards the updated Contract and I have introduced new weight / BMI tramlines which he must keep inside - slightly higher than last year, and they may rise still further, but - hey - let's do this in small bite-sized stages. This way it's easier to get him used to change.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

We have just had such a GOOD CHAT - what a great start to 2013

I've just been through my proposed revised Recovery Contract with Ben and he is happy with it. We also had a long and very fruitful chat, using my newly acquired (but still fledgling) "motivational interviewing" techniques learned from the New Maudsley Approach website. Really and truly this is THE MOST AWESOME way to discuss eating disorder / recovery related things with your child.

Starting as I mean to go on - revised Contract

Batty's first job of the New Year has been to revise the Recovery Contract in line with everything that needs working on at the moment. The aim is to kick-start the recovery process again after being in a bit of Limboland / Doldrums over the past month or so.