Wednesday 3 July 2013

Reporting on our first holiday abroad since the Summer From Hell in 2010

If you've read my book Please eat..., you'll know that the summer of 2010 was an absolute nightmare - and it began with a fortnight's holiday in France. CAMHS had told me to back off and not talk about food for the duration. We were told to "go away and have a normal, happy family holiday". Ha ha ha ha, I hear you all say, as if you can take a "holiday" from your child's eating disorder!

Not surprisingly the holiday was a nightmare with Ben threatening suicide and a very dangerous episode at the seaside, described in my book. And lots more hellish things besides. It was truly horrible, and the rest of that summer just got worse as Ben's weight, mood and behaviour headed south.

As a result, we haven't dared book a "proper" family holiday abroad since then.

In 2011 I gingerly booked 2 separate last-minute weeks at holiday cottages not too far from home followed by a few days in Somerset with Ben. Things went OK. There were a few ED-related incidents but on the whole I was pleased.

In 2012 we booked a fortnight in the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean. It was a success.

So, for this summer, we took a deep breath and booked a fortnight in Tuscany.

The contrast between this holiday and the French holiday of 2010 couldn't have been more stark.

Ben ate normally. He even took over all the catering and we ate some amazing food - better, I suspect, than many restaurants. His mood was fine, except for the usual teenage boredom that tends to slip in when teenagers are on holiday with their boring parents who want to do boring things like read around the pool.

But it was normal.

And, unlike the 2010 holiday, he didn't swim 100 lengths of the pool every day followed by a run in the heat. He did a bit of swimming. But, again, it was normal.

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