Wednesday 11 February 2015

Just found the original of 'that' letter from November 2009

Yesterday I had a bit of a clear out and came across a box full of blank notebooks, so I took out one of them to use for notes, only to discover it wasn't completely blank. Inside was the original of the letter which features in Chapter 7 - Consumed - of my book Please eat... A mother’s struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia. I remember it so clearly... Sitting in my car, waiting for Ben to come out of school, frantically writing a letter to him because, by this stage, he wasn't speaking to us. Or at least he wasn't speaking about anything to do with his rapidly developing anorexia. The only way I could get through to him, I felt, was through a letter. I was in despair. So this, in its entirety, is what I wrote (edited considerably for my book)... The love that went into this letter... phew!!

Dear Ben

Please read this letter. Hopefully I can get it all across better without me or you getting upset.

Firstly, if you have anorexia, it is is dangerous and must be stopped immediately. the good news is that any damage it is doing to your body CAN be reversed at this stage very quickly. This is why it must stop RIGHT NOW before it gets worse.

Getting back to a normal eating pattern and attitude to food may be a gradual process - just making positive changes every day. We will be right behind you, but you must do what we say.

Once we have all made this decision that, yes, this is going NO FURTHER and will stop, then we will sort out the issues that have caused it. We will sort out the self-confidence and self-esteem issues via a counsellor who is very experienced in this kind of thing. Even if we have to pay.

We will establish rewards for progress, culminating in the double bed you want. Leading up to this you can suggest other milestone rewards you'd like e.g. a games evening, theatre, movies, etc.

The good news is that all of this IS solvable if it's stopped and put into reverse now.

Everything can get back to a normality that we are happy with - and, most importantly, that you are happy with.

Your happiness and health are our Number One priority. I want you to know that we will always be there for you, no matter how sad you feel - and we will get the very best and nicest help for you.

But it needs to stop now at what is still a solvable stage.

You know the value of healthy eating and all the reasons why you need to eat the right stuff and enough of the right stuff for a growing boy - which means you are much more likely to understand the long list of damage that this could do to your body if it gets worse.

We love you too much to watch this happen which is why, as your loving parents, we need to step in and say “STOP! Enough is enough!”

We will make serious promises to you, as our dearest son, if you make serious promises to us - and keep them.

You are more important to us than you could possibly ever imagine or even know and we want to stop this nasty thing NOW and help work on the root cause.

Please don’t think there is no solution because THERE IS. Very much so - and in a few months you will be so glad we all made this decision (especially when you get your new bed!)

But meanwhile, ANY time you feel sad or you feel it’s too hard, PLEASE talk to us - about ANYTHING. Don’t bottle it up - and let us all start thinking positively now, even if that may at first, or even second, seem hard.

It’s not just you that’s doing this alone - it’s all three of us… our strong family unit.

We will need help, though, through this cognitive thing that Dad said he had [Ben's Dad recommended CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy because it had been useful to him during a stressful period] to change the way you see your body and your self image, to build your confidence back and find a real, proper, true, proven way to help you achieve the popularity and love you want - rather than the wrong way, a way that won't just NOT WORK but could do quite the reverse.

Will you let us 'muscle in' and start the ball rolling towards your wonderful future now?

Again, I can’t emphasise how much we love you and will be with you over this.

Is it a deal?

Big hugs x 10 million and even more,

Mum and dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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