Monday 21 November 2016

Processing all the anger using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy

Over the last couple of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy sessions, we've been attempting to process all the anger relating to that period between September 2009 and January 2010 - the period that starts with our first visit to the GP followed by several more visits to the GP in an attempt to get my son's escalating eating disorder diagnosed and treated. There is a heck of a lot of anger inside me - and I can feel it welling up now as I write this blog post today.

I am angry with the GP for not diagnosing an eating disorder, failing to inform me about treatment for eating disorders and failing to refer my son urgently for eating disorder treatment. I am angry with the NHS for putting my son on a massive waiting list for eating disorder treatment. I am angry with the hospital (where my son was admitted in the January when his pulse plummeted to 29bpm) for not recognising the link between an eating disorder and a slow pulse rate (Bradycardia) and also for not understanding that it was critical that my son ate food while he was in hospital. And I am also angry with myself.

I am just ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY!!!! And it really is a HUGE anger which has taken a number of EMDR sessions to try and process.

As I say above, I am angry with myself - for not doing more during that period. For not 'chaining myself to a lamppost' and refusing to budge until my son was referred for urgent treatment for his escalating eating disorder.

So my therapist and I have been examining this (false) belief - that I should / could have done more - and have been working on changing it around to the belief that I did the best I could given what I knew about eating disorders at the time.

We've been looking at the 'me' back then. 

Firstly, the 'me' back then believed that people in authority, e.g. doctors and other medical professionals, knew best. Who was I? Just a mum, after all! So, although my gut instinct was beginning to scream out that my son was descending into something quite frightening, part of me trusted what the GP was saying. Part of me trusted that we did need to wait and see how things go. And how on earth could I know what treatment was available for my son if the GP wasn't telling me?

Secondly, I knew naff all about eating disorders. But as it became more and more apparent that Ben was developing anorexia, I began a HUGE cramming session on everything I could find about eating disorders. Obviously this took a heck of a long time - to locate, to read and to digest. And this was at the same time as trying to run a business and home, dealing with an inner ear virus that had me horizontal for much of that October and responding every five minutes to my son's increasing volatility, both at home and at school.

Thirdly, I was still under the impression that this (what I assumed was an eating disorder) might be fixable - by persuasion, arguments, proving to my son that he needed to eat and wasn't fat, and so on. That this was only a temporary blip. And, anyway, boys didn't get eating disorders, surely?

Fourthly, the 'me' now is the 'me' with the benefit of hindsight and knowledge. So I can never judge the 'me' back then by present day standards.

In other words, I did the best I could given what I knew about eating disorders at the time.

So I shouldn't feel any guilt or failure.

I'll talk about the other anger - the anger at the GP, etc - in another post.

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