Anyone who's been in my situation, as the parent of a young person recovering / recovered from an eating disorder, will know: reporting something like this feels a little like 'tempting fate'. However here we go... Since the early summer or even earlier, I've noticed a definite shift in my son. A shift for the better. A shift that's pushed him over that '99.9-per-cent recovered' mark that I've found myself referring to over the last couple of years. A shift that has pushed his eating habits into the ranks of the 'normal' and his appearance from 'still on the thin side' to absolutely fine. A shift that has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders as I worried about relapse and / or that tiny remnants of his eating disorder may still remain.
He looks better. He appears to feel better. Despite the punishing workload of his Masters Degree, he seems to be happy and successfully finding his place in the world. He has a good circle of friends, both at home and at university.
When he's at home (which he is at the moment because it's the university's November Reading Week) he cooks the evening meal. Wonderful concoctions. Normal concoctions. And huge quantities, far too huge for little me to eat. Plus he often serves up his portion with 'extras' like bread followed by snacking throughout the evening.
And he's been finishing my meals for me when I can't eat the large quantities.
The other week we had lunch in a pub and he squeezed a large dollop of full-fat mayonnaise onto his meal, something he would have avoided until relatively recently.
And he did it without batting an eyelid. Without hesitation or anxiety.
Parents sometimes contact me to say that their son is well on the way to recovery from their eating disorder, but they're worried at how many small but important remnants remain. Such as isolation and lack of social skills. And being 'too thin' or still restricting certain foods or quantities.
It's curious how it's the same old things that tend to take the longest to fix, primarily the social isolation that the eating disorder can bring with devastating results to the sufferer. And getting their weight up to a normal level so they no longer look like an adolescent waif.
Hopefully our experiences will show that there is hope, that these remnants of an eating disorder can be fixed. Yes, they do take time, but they can be fixed. And, over the past 3 or 4 years it's been my son who's fixed his own issues while I've taken a back seat, occasionally quietly voicing any concerns, but generally letting him do the work for himself.
He is one strong young man!