584 posts on, I am just about to come to the end of the third year of my AnorexiaBoyRecovery blog! Around this time, three years ago, I knew I wanted to start writing about my experiences of helping my teenage son overcome anorexia, but I was really nervous about setting up a blog and making our struggle public.
I remember sending off sample posts to various people from my eating disorder network who I knew I could trust to come back with an honest opinion. I took on board their helpful feedback, primarily that the focus should be on attempting to help other families who are struggling with this devastating illness, not by providing medical, therapeutic or treatment 'advice', because - of course - I am 'just a mum', but simply by describing our own personal journey into and out of the eating disorder, and writing about what we, in our own personal circumstances, found helpful.
More than anything, I wanted to show other families that there is hope. Back in 2011, my son was still emerging from his eating disorder. We were still overcoming countless hurdles. But the general trend was onwards and upwards. And, despite a number of set-backs (which is only to be expected), the trend continued in a positive direction.
The other purpose of my blog was - and is - to point families towards help. I, like many parents of young people with eating disorders, found invaluable support through the F.E.A.S.T. website and its bottomless treasure-chest of resources, most important of all, its wonderful and supportive forum: Around The Dinner Table.
Of course as I said above, I am neither a clinician nor an expert; I am just an ordinary mum writing about the day-to-day experiences of living with a teenage boy with anorexia. But when you suddenly find yourself on this devastating journey, it can be so reassuring to know that others have been along this road too. To know what they went through, to know what signs to watch out for and to know what worked. And, importantly, during those many false summits and disappointments, to know how they found the strength to continue fighting as they helped to guide their child towards recovery. This is why I write my blog.
But the trouble with my blog is that it’s very long. I now have 36 months of posts - 584 in total - which are a real pain to click through because blogs aren’t like books. You can’t just scroll through them from start to finish and you can’t easily refer back to something you found particularly helpful or relevant. Worse, much of the earlier information - for example from 2011 and 2012 - risks getting overlooked altogether. And I believe there is some important stuff in there!
This is why I made the decision to publish (an edited version of) my blog in paperback in two volumes, both of which are available on Amazon (search author name 'Bev Mattocks') and quite cheaply as Kindle downloads.
And, when I get time, I may publish a third volume containing the 2013 posts.
I was also able to draw on my blog (and other stored information) for my book: Please Eat, which describes our family's journey through anorexia.
Even if Ben (now aged 20) and I help just one family fast-track its way through the huge anorexia learning curve and get help, then we have succeeded with these books. And every time a parent contacts me to say how much my blog has helped them, I know it is serving its purpose.
So, thank you everyone for following and reading my blog - and for commenting on it. I have no idea what 2014 will bring, but I hope it will continue to offer hope to other families... hope that this evil illness can be overcome and that your child will recover.
Here's to a Good New Year!