It's over a year since I last agreed to be interviewed about our experience with our teenage son, Ben, as he developed and recovered from anorexia. As it's Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I agreed to be interviewed for our local radio station last night - an 11th hour arrangement which left me zero time to prepare. But it wasn't just that I had no time to prepare; when I opened my mouth to speak to the interviewer... nothing came out!
A similar thing happened the other month when I met up with an old friend. It was the first he'd heard of our battle with anorexia and, again, when I opened my mouth nothing came out.
This is just one of the many weird ways my brain has been behaving over the past 12 months as a delayed response to the trauma we went through virtually 24/7 for some four years.
Until this horrible C-PTSD developed (they call it Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because it's a reaction to an ongoing trauma rather than a one-off trauma like, for instance, a car crash) I felt that the whole eating disorder experience had made me a better person in that I used our experiences to help other families through my books, talks, media interviews, the Around The Dinner Table Forum where I am a Mentor and this blog.
But now, I'd say that it's messed around with my own brain wiring in a way I could never have envisaged. A way that's seen me avoiding anything to do with eating disorders and distancing myself (more by necessity than choice) from the wonderful group of friends I made through the above activities. And from most other people, too.
As I drive off to another therapy session, I actually feel worse than I did a few weeks ago, not better.
Take Friday night, for example.
My husband and I met up with a couple of his friends for a meal - a couple I hadn't met before. They were really nice, relaxed and easy-going. And, on the surface, I probably appeared the same.
Yet underneath my mind and body were like a hurricane. My heart was lurching, my chest was tight and my mind was coiled up like a tight spring. I couldn't eat. I felt as if the slightest mouthful would make me vomit. Even the smell of the food made me feel sick. And my digestive system was in pieces, as was I.
Then I remained in bed for much of the weekend.
Is it just me - or have experiences like this happened to other parents who have battled with anorexia or any other eating disorder in the family?
What I do know is that it's really, really unpleasant.
(By the way, I did manage to cobble together some kind of interview for the local radio.)