As anyone who has visited my recent post on the Around The Dinner Table Forum may know, I've been having a spot of bother over the last two years. The trouble is, my son is pretty much recovered from his eating disorder. But as he continued to move in the right direction and establish a new life for himself, it became clear that I was suffering from the aftermath of everything we had been through during the traumatic years during which I'd battled to help him recover from anorexia.
It began as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with flashbacks and nightmares. But more lately it's been a vicious circle of Anger, Mourning / Grief, Guilt, Helplessness, Mental / Physical Exhaustion / Burnout and Depression.
Round and round it goes.
And it hasn't been helped by the fact that I've been practically laid up for the last three months due to the bike accident in early August (first broken elbow followed by herniated disc in my lumbar spine).
Depression (and the cornucopia of stuff that goes with it) was a very lonely place to be.
That is until I posted a Cry For Help on the Around The Dinner Table Forum and loads of my old, trusted friends rushed into offer help and support, via replies to my post and by email.
One, who was visiting family in the area, met me for coffee, armed with flowers and wine (the wine proved especially therapeutic ;)
I was really, really touched by the response I've had, to the point of getting very tearful.
There are some wonderful people out there, with very kind hearts who really 'get' exactly what it's like. Sadly, for many parents, it appears that - once their child is recovered and getting on with their life - they are left with the fallout. Brains have undergone so much trauma that it simply isn't a case that we, too, pick up where we left off and move on.
If only it were that simple.
As I said on the Forum: Anger... helplessness... depression
And burnout. Seriously burned out. 'Lay' people couldn't possibly ever understand and so no-one knows. I can't focus on who I
am any more or where I go from here. No energy, just exhausted and dazed. As if I've been beaten up and left for dead, and am
just about coming round. Picture those cartoons with stars going round someone's head as they sit there, dazed, with + eyes...
All of it took so much energy from me, sapped me to the core, like a vampire sucking out blood until there is none left. Empty shell,
dazed, burned out. Unable to function properly. Day after day after day.
But the core of the problem is the stuff I've already mentioned: #1 is Anger, #2 is mourning / grief, #3 is guilt and #4 is mental (and
physical) exhaustion and burnout.