Thursday 14 March 2013

But *would* you ever need the ED nurse, Ben?

Our local university has said that they are willing to transfer Ben onto their degree course if he decides that he isn't ready to live away from home. It's exactly the same as the other university course, at a similar "ivy league" university ("Russell Group" as they call it in the UK). But it would mean that Ben could study for his degree while living at home. He has until the end of April to make a decision.

"I must go to Sheffield," he said yesterday morning.

"Why 'must' you go?"

"Because I need to prove I can live away from home. It's something I need to do; something I need to do for myself. The only thing that's putting me off about Sheffield is the ED nurse. If, God forbid, I ever had a relapse at university I couldn't bear finding myself in her clinic only to be told that my eating disorder was anxiety based!"

"But would you ever need to see the ED nurse? After all, for the past year or so I've been your clinician as well as your carer. You've been your own clinician, too. And, together, we've been pretty damn successful. Also, you're planning to spend half the week at home and half in Sheffield to begin with, and definitely if you ever slipped back into the ED." I also explained that we'll be running our University Contract, just as we planned to do last year. So, if ED ever reared its ugly head again, Ben will need to stick to certain conditions.

So he would never really need to see the university ED nurse. And there are always the university doctors and the other nurse. Mind you, we don't know what their perceptions of eating disorders are like!!

And who's to say the local university eating disorders team is up to speed with the evidence-based latest research on anorexia, hey...

So at the moment, therefore, my money would be on Ben sticking with Sheffield.


  1. I watched the Sheffield uni video on eating disorders and didn't like it much. Very body image based - in the context of society and media. I personally do view EDs as anxiety based - as does a lot of good research evidence.

    Out of interest, if Ben doesn't see his ED as being anxiety based, what does he see as the basis?

    1. Hi Cathy, Ben insists that the ED came first and then the anxiety followed as a result. I expect it may be different for other people, but this is how he sees it. xxx

    2. Regardless of which came first, the anxiety needs treatment too. Social phobias and anxiety disorders are often comorbid with EDs ( Social phobias and anxiety are an impediment to full recovery.

      I hope you can talk your son into seeing a therapist who can help him look into the anxiety aspect. It would help him through the process of reintegrating socially, which I have read is a big concern for you both. It can feel like dredging up stuff for no reason, but people have to learn how to have uncomfortable thoughts and self-sooth in appropriate ways (instead of turning to self-harm or addiction). It's a big step in the recovery process.

    3. Thank you. I know he'd refuse to see anyone... I've already tried... He has a mind of his own! Mind you, he has some excellent CBT techniques he uses for himself.

    4. I'm glad you're doing your best to bring him round on that one. From what I've read, you're doing a fantastic job of being supportive and firm in equal measures. Best wishes on the road ahead!

  2. Could it not be that the ED is indeed anxiety based but the ED perpetuated and magnified the anxiety? Just a thought? x