Monday, 30 December 2013

And so the third year of my blog draws to a close...

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.

Friday, 27 December 2013

The 2nd letter I would never send to Ben's friends

Back in March, I wrote a letter which I would love to have sent to Ben's friends, but of course never did. Instead I wrote it down here, in this blog. Now I feel that it's time for a second letter which I also will never send, and here it is...

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Here's to hope for your Christmasses yet to come

If the 'me' of Christmas 2009 could have looked into a crystal ball and seen our family Christmas of 2013, I would have positively exploded with hope. Christmas 2009 was the first Christmas that ED, the eating disorder demon, sat alongside us, uninvited, at Christmas Dinner (and all the other Christmas meals and festivities). Yesterday, on Christmas Day 2013, I can proudly say that the eating disorder was nowhere to be seen. And I hope that our experience of emerging from an eating disorder, will offer other families hope for the future.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The wrong kind of library is demanding my books!

This has happened with all my books. First I get a request from Edinburgh to mail five copies of the book to the legal depositories of the five UK and Ireland non-lending libraries. Then I have to do the same for the non-lending British Library. This exercise costs me around £50 every time I have to do it, for each book. Yet all they do with these books is to store them in some deep, dark vault for ever and ever. They are of no use to anyone whatsoever. So, in effect, the royalities of the first 25 copies of every book I publish go to fund this pointless exercise. In a digital day-and-age this practice is ludicrous. But it is British law, so I have to go along with it.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

To all those of you who are finding this Christmas difficult...

Christmas 2009 was a nightmare for our family. I spent Christmas Eve in floods of tears, listening to Carols from Kings on the radio, something I used to do on Christmas Eve with great joy. Christmas 2010 was a nightmare, too. I remember cooking Christmas dinner in tears - the result of a screaming match between Ben, his dad and me over some food issue. Christmas 2011 was better. It was also my friend Sue's last Christmas and, unable to raise the energy to cook a meal for herself, she spent the day with us. Thankfully last Christmas, at my sister's house, Ben tucked into a big Christmas dinner. The cat came along, too, for the day and we had a fantastic time. As for this Christmas?

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Talking about PTSD triggers... Just when you think you've got your head round what's going on inside your head, you get triggered by something. Yesterday's trigger was a link someone had put to a report on Sky News about a university rugby team and their latest star player. Guess who this player turned out to be? If you've read my book, Please eat..., you will know him as Ben's friendly rival, Kieran. Ben's friend and rival on the rugby and sports fields, and in the classroom. Whoosh! A kind of unpleasant explosion went off inside my head.

A curiously liberating week, all in all

Firstly, this week seems to have gone better than expected for Ben at university. He's been socialising and he's been working hard at re-gaining those few lost kilos. His team even won the uni Christmas Quiz at the student union on Thursday night. The week ended with Ben inviting me to take him out for lunch at Nando's where he ate a large plate of chicken salad with pitta bread and olives on the side, followed by two large helpings of chocolate frozen yoghurt, followed by snacking on a large tub of popcorn all the way home. Ben's mood was up and his Monday session with a new counsellor (to work on depression / social anxiety) seemed to go well. The only downside is that his weight has only gone up very slightly. So this week, he is intent on eating even more in a bid to get up to the weight he needs to be at 20-years old. His birthday is a week tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

"Post" Traumatic Stress Disorder implies that it's "in the past"...

Not in any way belittling the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PRSD) struggles of people who've been through a severe trauma that happened in the past i.e. it has been and gone, and is no more... I'd say that there is another branch of PTSD which is a combination of past and present, which is particularly tricky to deal with or go through. This is when the primary trauma has taken place, but that isn't the end of it. There is still an element, or elements, that are present. So not only are you re-living past events, you are living present day events, too. In other words, it's a double-whammy of horribleness.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

So how's the support package going at university?

Not very well, to be honest, after all those positive vibes. And it's not just their fault; Ben isn't contacting people when he could be. He is sometimes, but not as much as he could. And, sadly, he says that the counsellor guy is "rubbish". Plus, we haven't heard any more from Emily as regards the Wargames group.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Let's talk about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

For over a year now I've been experiencing disturbing thoughts / behaviours which, when I look at MIND's page on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS), appear to sum up exactly what is happening to me. I've known this for quite a while, but haven't wanted to admit it. Why not? Because, curiously, I feel as if what I've been through doesn't "deserve" the label of PTSD. After all, I haven't been involved in a war or an horrific event like the London bombings. And no-one has died. (Except my Dad and my friend, Sue.)

Monday, 9 December 2013

2013 was Meeting New Friends year!

I was just thinking about how many friends and contacts from my enormous eating disorders network I've actually met in person this year, most for the first time! Wow, it has been amazing.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Ultimatum agreed by all

The bad news is that, probably due to the gastric flu-ish bug Ben had the other week, he'd lost weight when we came to weigh him this weekend. As a result his weight is hovering around a too low level. Any lower and things could get tricky. The good news is that he is actively working on re-gaining the weight plus the extra kilos he needs to gain as he approaches the age of 20 in a couple of weeks' time. Because we are all well aware that a further drop could prove tricky, all of us (Ben, Paul and me) have agreed an ultimatum.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Be careful what you wish for...

One of the best things I did this year was to publish my books, primarily Please eat and When anorexia came to visit. Once I got into the swing of things, I was on a roll. I immersed myself in it and loved doing it. And, for the past few weeks, I've been umming and ahhing about what to write next, toying with a number of different routes.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The starfish are being thrown across the sea as I speak!

I am thrilled to see that Laura Collins and Charlotte Bevan have just launched the paperback version of their super new book: Throwing Starfish Across the Sea: A pocket-sized care package for the parents of someone with an eating disorder, now available from Amazon. Read the review I wrote on