Friday 27 September 2013

"Imagine a game," I plan to say to him this weekend...

"Imagine a game where the prize is £1000 to spend on Warhammer products, however in order to win the £1K you are only allowed to make positive statements. Any negatives result in lost points. The idea is that you look back on the the week that's just gone and make statements about how it's been, what you've achieved, how you've felt, etc - but they have to be positive. OK, let's start..."

So let's say he buys into the idea of this 'game' (OK, no real financial prize, it's just hypothetical), this is the kind of thing I would say:

  • You actually went to university.
  • You took us up on the offer of a meal on Saturday night and we had the best meal we've had for ages, with lots of chatting and smiles. And you ate heartily.
  • On Sunday you didn't sit around stewing in your flat; you got out there and explored the area - and when you got lost, you asked for directions.
  • You have made contact with your flatmates.
  • You have made contact with the mentors.
  • You gave Mrs Head Mentor permission to communicate with me if required.
  • On Monday you met those girls following History registration - and you went for coffee with them.
  • On Monday evening you went along to the jazz night and stayed the course, and talked to post-grads.
  • Okay, the girls didn't turn up, but - during our talks on Tuesday - you accepted that there are probably umpteen reasons why they didn't turn up but it almost certainly wasn't because they didn't like you.
  • You interracted superbly with me on Tuesday when I came down to see you. You didn't yell at me and you were open to attempting to see the positive side of things rather than shooting me down in flames with a string of negatives. When I left you I was smiling all the way home. I even smiled at our neighbour.
  • You went to the Wargames night and met some new people who, doubtless, will become familiar friends - and you will meet all the Wargaming students that weren't at the event i.e. 2nd and 3rd years, and hangers-on from past years. The Soc now has 3 meetings a week rather than just one. In theory, in addition to studying, there is the opportunity to live, eat and breathe Warhammer all week long, far more than you could ever do in Leeds. And you can use the skills learned from making friends with the Leeds boys to make new friends with the Sheffield crowd.
  • Wednesday saw a massive blip - a real test - an unexpected sledgehammer that risked ruining everything, and this on top of all the general stresses and strains you were experiencing. But you did exactly the right things and we dealt with it successfully, both of us. And by the time I left you had chosen to move on from it and carry on 'business as usual' rather than letting it consume you and spoil everything.
  • From this episode you learned how to deal with an emergency - a difficult emergency. And how to come out the other side. And how to deal with the bank and student finance. It was a massive learning curve and a real test - but you passed with flying colours.
  • You continued with your plans, to go to the treasure hunt in the afternoon and, from what I can see on the photos, you had fun. You now have 2 more friends on Facebook through it.
  • Then you went to the quiz night and talked to people.
  • I am not surprised that by Thursday you were pretty exhausted, but you hung on in there and made the decision that you will continue to 'go for it'.
  • This week has been a baptism of fire. You have socialised more than you have done since before the anorexia struck - and all at once, like jumping in at the deep end, in a swimming pool full of man-eating sharks. You could have stayed in your room, but you didn't. You got out there and did it regardless of how terrified you were feeling, and I totally understand that you were so terrified you felt physically sick. But you did it. 
  • As you start lectures and develop a routine, it will become easier and more familiar - and you will see people you recognise and feel comfortable with. You've made changes in your life before and they haven't been easy; the #1 change being the change from being consumed by the anorexia into taking on all the challenges involved in kicking the eating disorder out of your life. That was bloody hard, but you did it. Proof of your strong will and determination.
  • Compared with many of the other students for whom this week has been relatively easy, for you this week has been like climbing Mount Everest in the worst possible weather conditions, scaling the most challenging side of the mountain. And now the week is over you can plant your flag up there, on the summit, with pride, knowing that you battled on up there, without giving up and arrived at your goal. How does this make you feel about yourself? (Remember the rules say you must only say positives.)

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