Over this last week, my son and I have gone through a heck of a lot. Not to do with his (now thankfully gone) eating disorder, but to do with a GIRL. Let me explain...
Recently he's met this girl and he really likes her. A lot. But last weekend she was behaving a little off-hand and he was convinced that she was trying to dump him. So we went through all of that... all the usual heartbreak plus the added worry (in my mind) that something like this could ping him into relapse – or worse. And of course no one likes to see their child upset, eating disorder or no eating disorder.
But the story so far is that she's been poorly, which is why she hasn't contacted him. Apparently. Hopefully. Or not hopefully, actually, because it's his final year on his university degree and so (in my mind) he'd be better off without the hassle and distraction of romance…
Anyway, the good news is that, despite the upset, he's been behaving just like any normal young man. In fact he has been eating more, not less. He's also been planning his future – doing a master's degree next year, a PhD the following year and a career as, hopefully, a university lecturer or a professor. Or even a TV historian.
Meanwhile his social group is expanding: he has friends at home, friends at uni and new friends he's made through this girlfriend. Remember the days when the eating disorder isolated him from EVERYONE but his family? And how tough it was for him to forge a new life with new friends?
He came home at the weekend and what I saw was a completely normal young man without any hint of our old enemy, the eating disorder. And that was before he discovered that this girl had been unwell and not ignoring him.
I've no idea whether or not the romance is present or past tense by today, but whatever it is I have every confidence that he will just continue to get on with his life and that my natural worries that any upset might set off a relapse into the eating disorder are unfounded.
So that, in itself, is good news.
And as I said to him at the weekend: "Life is so much better without the eating disorder, isn't it?"