Tuesday 12 July 2016

How proud am I of my son?

Remember that 18-year old young man who only lasted a few days at university in September 2012? Who found it impossible to cope with the culture shock of embarking on such a hugely different stage of his life when he was still in the later throes of his eating disorder?

Remember that 19-year old young man who worked his ears off to kick the remnants of his anorexia out of his life so he was ready to make a second attempt at university one year later?

Remember that young man who, at the second attempt in September 2013, struggled through the first year with frequent blips into severe depression and suicide threats? Who came home every weekend to help him cope with uni? Yet who at the same time built a new circle of friends in his home city? While gradually finding his niche at university amongst students who had the same interests? Always brushing himself down and picking himself up again after a difficulty and never letting the legacy of the eating disorder win  no matter how rubbish he was feeling? And meanwhile focusing strongly on his studies and attaining outstanding marks? And enjoying being with his new friends back home?

Remember that young man who faced his second year at university much more positively and took the less-than-perfect aspects of his student accommodation in his stride? And who continued to make new friends and become a familiar face in one of the university's biggest student societies, packed with 'nerds' just like him? The young man who continued to excel at his studies, getting 'firsts' or '2:1s' for his coursework and exams?

Remember that young man who'd made such good friends in Year 2 that they all decided to share a house together for his final year? The young man who began to prefer being in Sheffield than coming back to his home city? And who was elected Inclusions Officer for that university society? Plus, who continued to get excellent academic results and who faced his dissertation and final exams with astonishing ease and relaxation? Who decided to stay on for a further year to study for a Masters degree and sign up for another shared house with his housemates? And who was elected as Inclusions Officer for the second year running in the university society?

Well last week that young man got his degree results: First Class Honours.

Next week is his graduation ceremony and tomorrow he moves into the new student house.

Who would have thought it?

Proof that there is life after a serious eating disorder and that these supremely strong and courageous young people can fight to get their lives back, refusing to give in to the eating disorder and its goal of destroying lives.

No-one deserves this as much as he does.

I am so proud I could burst.

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