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?
Work on his social anxiety. 19 year old boys shouldn't be sitting at home on the sofa every evening without a real friend in the world. Before the eating disorder, Ben had so many friends his birthday parties had to be held in two-day shifts. But the anorexia robbed him of all that. These days he has no true friends. Once in a blue moon he'll meet an old friend for a coffee, but that's all. And he says he has nothing to say to them. How on earth will he adapt to living away at university if he has another attempt?
Work on the remnants of the eating disorder. Ben is still afraid of weight gain so that needs sorting out. And he still counts calories and weighs out his food. He still has a certain amount of anxiety when eating out at restaurants or other people's houses where he doesn't know the calorie count and where no end of "nasties" could have been lobbed into the food for all he knows e.g. butter.
Work on his depression. Since Christmas it's not been as bad. But Ben still gets very depressed and, on occasions, suicidal.
So these are the three key areas as I see them.
The problem is that I can't see the assessor treating this as an urgent case.
And what if Ben doesn't connect with a therapist. He's only ever connected with one therapist and that was his psychiatrist at CAMHS. He's met umpteen others over the years, but wouldn't have given any of them the time of day let alone commit to a long series of treatment sessions.
Plus... Ben, being Ben, thinks he knows best and can sort everything out himself.
Which is what he thought at the beginning of the eating disorder.
The thing is, if he couldn't handle any of the private therapists, then I can't see a miracle happening with an NHS therapist.
Unless pigs begin to fly and they agree to refer him back to Dr S at CAMHS.