Friday 29 November 2013

Because I am passionate about getting the message out there...

... I am doing a SPECIAL OFFER Sunday 1st December. For 24 hours only, ALL Kindle versions of my eating disorder books will be just 99p / 99c each. (A great way to get hold of my 2011 and 2012 blog posts on Kindle!) You can also borrow all books for FREE if you're a member of Amazon Prime. Visit my Amazon page to see a list of my books.

Thursday 28 November 2013

What every parent dreads... but what a mother!

Losing your beautiful child to an eating disorder is every parent's worst nightmare when battling with this horrible illness. It is something that is constantly at the back of our mind as we watch our child disappear and transform in front of our eyes, physically, mentally and emotionally. And, unlike virtually any other potentially fatal illness, eating disorders - and especially anorexia as it advances and begins to consume the young person from within and take hold of their minds - has the patient fighting against treatment and support. It's not that they don't want to get better, it's just that they can't without a heck of a lot of highly skilled professional help. This is made exponentially worse once a young person reaches the age of 18 and is legally permitted to choose whether or not they receive and / or engage with treatment. If, indeed, that treatment is any good.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Update, plus the book I'm about to read

Not much has happened on the university front this week. This is because Ben has been off sick with some kind of fluey bug. Thankfully he has kept eating, and has also put on weight which is excellent news. So, with any luck, it's back to uni next week and, also with any luck, back to the attempt to build up a new network of friends. Meanwhile, he is well enough to cook dinner for tonight and is doing a stew with dumplings, the kind of meal I could never imagine him eating in the Bad Old Days of his eating disorder.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Driven by love, not red-tape

I have spent the last couple of days mixing with some of the most amazing, loving, caring, passionate and selfless people I have ever met. Of course I've met some of them before (for example at the 2-day Nottingham FEAST conference in November last year), and I already 'knew' many of them from the online community of people that are passionate about making a difference in the world of eating disorders: parents, former sufferers and professionals. And, although eating disorders is such a massive topic that a one-day conference, like the National Carers Conference in Eating Disorders I attended yesterday at the Institute of Psychiatry, run by Professor Janet Treasure, Gill Todd and the Maudsley & Kings College London, can't ever hope to do more than chip away at a huge iceberg, it did a bloody good job! But what stood out for me most, on reflection, is this...

Sunday 17 November 2013

On the whole the Daily Mirror article was accurate...

So how much of my published interview with the Daily Mirror this week were my words and how much were the Editor's words, after the (very nice) journalist agreed the final version with me, but did warn me that the Editor would give the final go-ahead before publication and, sorry but no I couldn't see the post-edited version... (Note, our bit features further down the article.)

Friday 15 November 2013

Walking unaided... hopefully...

As a result of my 'tough talking' the other night, Ben made an appointment to see Rob which is schedule for this morning. He is also seeing the university GP, hopefully for some meds and other solutions to help with the depression. Also, he went back to Sheffield yesterday, seemingly OK, and stayed there overnight. So watch this space for news...

Thursday 14 November 2013

Why it was so hard to fight for Ben in 2010...

There are several reasons - these are just a few of them...

The benefit of hindsight... how I wish I could help the 'me' of 2010...

Continuing to take a look back at my ATDT forum posts from when I first joined the community... Throughout March 2010 I am still having problems with getting CAMHS to realise that Ben's eating disorder is as serious as it is. The CAMHS team comprises a psychiatrist, a nursing specialist and a dietician who we see every so often but never at the same time as the psych and nurse. I am having real problems convincing them that Ben is seriously sick. He has lost around one quarter of his pre-anorexia weight; he used to be a big, burly rugby player - a 'forward' - before the eating disorder struck and, by March 2010, he's a shadow of his former self. And, at the end of January 2010, his pulse plummeted to 29, which I understand is a pretty dangerous level. Yet CAMHS appear to be happy with Ben's 'progress'...

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Looking back at my first ATDT forum posts in 2010

On the 9th March 2010 I discovered the Around The Dinner Table forum which supports parents and carers of young people with eating disorders. And I posted my very first post. I was worried sick because, after just a month of treatment, CAMHS didn't seem to think that Ben's case was too serious. Already they were suggesting spacing out our appointments to fortnightly and the psychiatrist had gone on leave for three weeks.

What frustrates us is that his psychiatrist doesn't think his problem is too severe. His BMI isn't bad and when he's with her, his behavior is quite normal. As a result she's started spacing our appointments further apart; we have a 4 week break between our next two appointments. Despite trying to argue the case with her, she's adamant he isn't too bad. As parents we feel as if we've been pushed off a cliff and into free-fall... 


The CAMHS team really don't think he's seriously bad and it makes me mad because I know differently and he's pulling the wool over their eyes... now psych has gone off on her hols for 3 weeks too so we're all at sea... Last time we saw her she was all smiles and congratulations as B reached a 'healthy weight' for the first time. B took that to mean he can maintain his weight now at what, to me, still looks very thin and not at all like the strapping sportsman he once was...

This was the beginning of the fight for me to get Ben fully weight-restored as opposed to settling for just within the healthy range according to the official charts, which wasn't anything like the pre-eating-disordered Ben.

And, as you will know if you've read my book Please eat..., shortly after this Ben admitted that he was deceiving CAMHS - or, rather, the eating disorder was deceiving CAMHS. He, or 'it', was "play-acting" at the CAMHS sessions, pretending to be perfectly OK.

Yet the moment we'd leave the CAMHS unit - woosh! - all hell would break loose as he'd undergo a Jekyll-and-Hyde-style transformation into 'the demon'...

Some home truths and a lot of 'effs'

When Ben pinged back yesterday evening... again... I played the strong, silent type. Indeed the only words I uttered between the station and home were "Could do," in response to his question "Do you want me to put your chicken dinner in the oven?"

Tuesday 12 November 2013

A spot of deja vu...

So I dropped off a silent and uncommunicative Ben at the train station yesterday, university-bound. Then I went swimming, came home, had lunch and answered the doorbell... to Ben who wasn't saying anything about why he'd appeared on the doorstep, but "the soup and baguette I had in Pret were awesome!" A throw-back to the time he went AWOL on a school trip to Manchester.

Friday 8 November 2013

Proud of him

Well, his week wasn't as I predicted. I predicted a doom and gloom week as Ben is given a 2-week extension on his decision on whether to stay or go. But, so far since he arrived home yesterday evening for a long weekend, he's been relatively upbeat, which is a major improvement on this time last week!

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Rewind to 27th June 1996, Ben goes to nursery school...

Thursday 27th June 1996: Ben's first day at "Ding Dong  Bell School" (as he calls it). (This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you...) Here I am visualising him heartbroken, thinking I've deserted him... I primed him well and asked him where he was going today, then where I was going (shops!) (the easiest thing to say!). Then the fact I was coming to get him after lunch. Thus far, no-one's phoned to beg me to come and pick up an uncontrollable toddler who's trashing the place and bashing other kids...

Tuesday 5 November 2013

"Beverley is such a worrier..."

"Detach... detach... detach..." I have been saying to myself, over and over again, for the last 24+ hours. And it is so very difficult, especially since I've had no news from Sheffield during this time. They say that "no news is good news", but unfortunately that's not the case with Ben and uni. Well, not at the moment at any rate. And I am a natural worrier. I always was. Like the time my little sister got locked into our Granny's bathroom when we were small.

Monday 4 November 2013

Over to Ben...

So we saw Rob today, the former psychiatric nurse who now works for the student counseling service. As planned, I kept quiet unless Rob asked me something. Ben conveyed everything to Rob really well. So where does he go from here?

Sunday 3 November 2013

The time has come to practice emotional detachment

Emotional detachment or detachment with love is something that's practiced within the sphere of addiction i.e. carers or loved ones of individuals who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, whatever. It is the point where you detach yourself from attempting to protect them, to change their behaviour or do things for them. (Termed 'enabling'.) It is the point where you make the conscious decision to ignore that phone call for you to pick them up from the pub or where you refuse to pay the fine for your addict child with the result that your child is forced to spend some time in jail.

Saturday 2 November 2013

The cruel legacy of the eating disorder

One of the key things with an eating disorder is that it tends to isolate its victim. Before Ben developed anorexia over the first few months of 2009 when he was 15, he was top-dog within his social group. He had a lovely set of friends. He was hugely popular. But over the summer of 2009 he began to cut himself off from his friends. Very quickly, throughout the rest of 2009, Ben isolated himself. By early 2010 he couldn't even bear to be in the same room as his peers. Within a month or so we'd removed him from school altogether.

Friday 1 November 2013

36 hours later and I am EXHAUSTED!

It went from Ben in pieces, rock-bottom depressed, about to quit Uni and hide himself away for the rest of his days... 36 hours ago... to a hopefully successful fix and a relatively relaxed and happier Ben. Thankfully no eating disorder was evident at any part of the proceedings; indeed he scoffed back 700 calories over lunch in Starbucks without batting an eyelid.