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.
We had our "chat" this lunchtime about exercising. The upshot is that he always exercises like this, every day, within the agreed exercise contract parameters. Sometimes he will do it at 7am and at other times he'll do it earlier - or later - depending on when he wakes up.
"No, I don't like doing it; I hate it," he said. "But if I don't do it I will get fat, purely and simply because I like eating. You'd be amazed at how little other people eat, which is why they don't get fat. But those that like food in the way I do get fat or obese. This is why I have to do it and I've been doing it for the past four years. Good God, I've just put on a kilo - and that's by eating low fat stuff and exercising! Imagine if I'd eaten fatty foods and sat around all day!!"
Hmn, I thought, we're onto a loser here...
And I was right.
So I moved on to preparations for University, if - indeed - he feels ready to go this September. Would he feel better taking another year out? No, he wouldn't, he couldn't bear another year treading water and doing nothing.
Okay, so would a transfer to our local university be easier, I wondered? "No," he said, "Because it's a worse course - and I don't want to go there. But on the other hand I can't live away from home. Just being on my own, without you two [mum and dad] for a few hours sends my mood plummeting. When you lot went out to Haworth last Sunday and I stayed home alone, I found it really difficult to deal with. The thought of living in a university room, on my own, is like my worst nightmare." And that's even if he comes home for half of each week.
He also said that, if he went to our local university, "I risk never leaving home and getting 'out there'. I will still be here, sitting with you two in front of the telly with no friends or social life, when I'm 50".
I asked him about the idea of commuting for the first term, but he said he knew that would be "a pain in the ar*e" and he would hate that, too.
So what about lodging with someone, for instance my sister's Sheffield friends, for the days he needed to be at University for lectures. No, he said, he'd hate that too.
So does he actually want to go to University? Yes, he does, because he loves to study and he knows he needs qualifications to do what he wants in life.
"So what do you suggest?" I asked, at the end of my tether but desperately trying to appear calm, laid-back and "dolphinesque", and trying to draw on those questioning techniques I'm supposed to be fine-tuning.
"I have no idea," he said. "Because all the options are sh*t. And thanks for making me feel sh*t, mum."
I told him my aim wasn't to make him feel sh*t but to explore where he is at the moment. Planning for university - or not - is something we need to be thinking about in the coming months, sooner rather than later, unfortunately. Also, I told him I've been aware that his mood hasn't been so brilliant over the past month or so.
"And I hate going to Phab," he added. "Going there makes me feel cr*p."
"But what about those nice girls you met there? The girls that invited you out on bonfire night (which you went to) and ice skating and bowling (which you didn't)?"
"They're not real friends. You talk to them and you just get one word answers. I must have some kind of aura about me that screams out to people, 'Back off!!'"
Oh b*gger, I thought to myself, and then thought to myself again.
Why is he so freaking negative about everything? Especially when I try so freaking hard?