I've just unearthed a letter I was asked to write "to the anorexia" at the start of Ben's CAMHS treatment but which was never followed up at a subsequent CAMHS session, so it ended up in the cobwebby archives of my PC. Here it is, and it's going into my book:
I can’t address you as “Dear” because I loathe and hate you more than anything I’ve ever hated before in my life.
You are an evil little sneak that crept into our family, uninvited, even earlier than we thought you had. You saw our happy family. You saw my good looking, bright, sporty, friendly and confident son, in fact you probably homed in on him around the time I was feeling so mega proud that this young man… this handsome individual who girls would pass in the street, admire and turn round to take a second glance… this wonderful, amazing young man was MY gorgeous son. I made him! Incredible!
So you decided to ruin all this. You sneaked in and took over his mind, only you disguised it as normal behaviour for many months so we didn’t realise you were there. Being with Ben every day we didn’t notice the subtle changes, many of which were disguised as “normal” behaviour. It was only when Ben’s grandma visited in September and commented on his appearance that we realised he had changed so much.
Actually, you know, I could write pages and pages about why I hate you so much. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to tell you how we plan to send you packing, to expel you from inside Ben until not one ounce of your evil remains - and I will get my wonderful “little boy” back - before you eat up the rest of his remaining “childhood”.
One thing you hadn’t banked on was how strong Paul and I are. We’re not the kind of parents who give up on things; we’re fighters. And we will fight tooth and nail where our beloved son is concerned, the most precious possession we have in the world and our reason for living.
For me, this started when I gave birth. It was a horrible birth - but the bonding I made with Ben took me by surprise. I knew that, given poorer medical care, one or both of us could have died during the birth.
What I felt as we both lay there… me battered, bruised and cut… was a primeval instinct. It was almost animal in its intensity - a case of me and Ben against the world. I knew at that moment that I would love and protect Ben forever and give my life for him if needs be.
And I know Paul thinks the same.
If I were you, evil Anorexia, I’d slink off back to your nasty, dark, damp evil little hole. You don’t stand a chance with us. Okay, it might involve some “tough love” on our part - but you know it’s not Ben we’d be talking to, it’s you. We’ve known Ben long enough to know who the “real Ben” is. A lot of what we are seeing now isn’t him at all; it’s you. The thing is, we know when it’s you that’s talking or lying – you can’t get away from us now that we recognise you!
Okay, so there are little things you do because you think that if you’ve failed with one thing you’ll get away with another. Your aim is to stop Ben from eating by hook or by crook - and also make him so depressed he runs to you for comfort. Well, your days are numbered, mark my words. We know who you are and we know what you sound like.
We don’t want you in our house any longer. We don’t want you in our lives. We don’t want you in our son. So sod off, you little sh*t, back to where you came from and leave us - and our son - alone and never come back.
And don’t think you can return at any point like when Ben’s at university or whatever.
I’m not going to waste any more time writing to you.