Wednesday 8 April 2015

Going back to my roots - why I began blogging in Jan 2011

Gosh, it's 52 months since I first began this blog about my experience of helping my teenage son to overcome anorexia! Back then I was a bit anxious about starting a blog so I sent a few blogging samples to various friends in the world of eating disorders like the Fairy Blogmother herself, Laura Collins, the founder of F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders), the oracle of help for parents of young people with eating disorders, and its sister site, the Around The Dinner Table Forum.

I also sent samples to Charlotte Bevan, the UK-based mum who worked tirelessly as an advocate for better eating disorders treatment in the UK and set up Charlotte's Helix which researches the genetic aspect of eating disorders as well as blogging about eating disorders and personally supporting dozens of other parents going through this arduous journey. (Tragically Charlotte lost her battle against breast cancer last year.)

Thankfully, everyone was incredibly supportive about my blog. And so here I am. And now you can read my past posts from 2011, 12 and 13 by clicking here (PDFs).

The primary purpose of my blog has always been to raise awareness that eating disorders aren't just a 'girl thing'. Boys get eating disorders, too. Just like my son who battled with anorexia from 2009 until his full recovery around 2013.

My blog is also about helping to prevent other families from having to go through a massive learning curve at the same time as realising that their son or daughter is descending into eating disorder hell. Like most people, and especially parents of boys, I knew nothing about eating disorders. During the autumn and winter of 2009 and beyond I found myself cramming up on everything about anorexia and its treatment. It was a nightmare - like studying for an intensive degree course in a subject you know nothing about while watching your child fall off a cliff.

Another purpose of this blog is to tell parents about the Around The Dinner Table forum. The purpose of the ATDT forum is best described by its founder, Laura Collins, in the Introduction to my book: When Anorexia Came To Visit.  

"Around The Dinner Table - [is] an online forum run by parents for parents. I founded ATDT (as it is often known) because I envisioned a community of parents helping other parents to survive this devastating experience. When a parent is desperately searching for information and inspiration, the forum is like a lighthouse in a stormy sea, showing the way to safety. What started out in 2004 with me asking my relatives and friends to “please post something” is now a longstanding institution with thousands of families that have come to us for support.

"The generosity of the global ATDT community continues to amaze me. There are caring folks online at all hours to offer leads to information, provide inspiration or simply a friendly shoulder to cry on during stressful moments. The moderator team know our vast archives inside out and can refer a parent to relevant threads, whether current or past. British, Canadian, American, New Zealand or Australian families find one another, families facing similar symptoms find one another, and those living close enough to meet up form invaluable local support networks across the globe. By using the power of the internet, even with its drawbacks, ATDT offers support that is found nowhere else. Many practicing clinicians tell us they learned of a new technique, book or other information source from the forum. I regularly hear from parents that ATDT was an essential tool in their family’s success. Indeed many of the families in
When Anorexia Came To Visit describe ATDT as a lifesaver during the darkest days."

Laura also talks about why she founded F.E.A.S.T. here.

So this is why I began this blog, way back in January 2011. And now, as my son continues with his life without anorexia, I hope it will continue to be of use to parents dealing with this insidious mental illness.

Meanwhile, if you are new to this blog, please do check out my free PDFs - they are much easier to read than clicking to and fro in the blog archives!

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