Thursday 21 March 2013

I continue to be in awe at these brave, generous families!

I am getting a really, really good feeling about my next book - the one where I talk to families about their own eating disorder stories. It's morphed from being more about the early days (up to referral) to being more about the whole story. It's just the way it seems to be developing And these families are truly amazing!

Not only have they been through hell and, in most cases, come out the other side, but they are willing to share their stories with me for my book. Of course all names have been changed to protect their privacy and identity, just like I changed Ben's name for my book Please eat... And the way I wrote the book under my maiden name, not my usual married name.

This exercise also means that families are having to rewind back to memories that are incredibly painful and difficult to deal with. Not just once, when they talk to me initially, but when I send back my draft for them to check over.

It is not easy. Yet they are all doing this so very enthusiastically.

Why are they so keen to do this?

Because they're all eager to do their bit to help raise awareness of eating disorders and the treatment available. Together we are all highlighting the patchy "postcode lottery" nature of eating disorder treatment in the UK.

Yet we're not being critical. It's more a case of just telling it how it was or is. Like I did in Please eat... If it happened like it did, then it did. And hopefully together we can become one of the many voices that are advocating change. On the other hand, some of the treatment families have received has been truly outstanding and it's important that we highlight this, too, as a benchmark for what can be achieved.

It's also very important for us all to demonstrate that we are all normal families. Parents are not to blame for their child's eating disorder. We are just like any other families. Or at least we were before the eating disorder took over our lives.

We are also keen to bring out into the open what it's really like to be parents of a child struggling with an eating disorder - to watch them change in front of your eyes, to gradually realise what you are dealing with and then to get the best possible treatment for your precious child whilst also having to go through the gruelling process of caring for your child at home.

Finally, this new book is a tribute to the young people themselves - those brave, strong, tough girls and boys that refused to give into the eating disorder.

If I could hug every one of "my" wonderful, brave, generous families, then I would.

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