As my son's recovery from the eating disorder gathered strength and pace, there is one incident that stands out - an incident that, at any time during his eating disorder, would have freaked him out Big Style: the day he caught a train by the skin of his teeth, lost his ticket and successfully dealt with an irate ticket collector. This blog post from March 2015 can be found here.
When Ben had anorexia, everything had to be 'just so'. Meals had to be eaten at a specific time (e.g. lunch at 12 noon) and in a specific place (e.g. at the dining room table) or he'd freak out. Any sudden change to his daily timetable catapulted him into anxiety hell. The same went for any upsets over and above normal daily life. (That is if daily life for girls and boys with eating disorders can be normal..!!).
One of the key indicators that my son was recovering from his eating disorder was when he was able to eat at different times and in different places (e.g. in the car). And on top of this when he was able to successfully handle a tricky situation, just like any other quick-thinking young man.
In March 2015, when Ben caught the train home from university by the skin of his teeth and was ticked off by the ticket collector when he very nearly got trapped in the closing train door AND THEN lost his ticket AND THEN had no cash to pay for a replacement (causing the ticket collector to get irate), he thought on his feet and solved the problem admirably, without getting into a tizz.
The first I heard of it was when I picked him up from the railway station and he sat there in the passenger seat, eating a large lunch he'd bought from M&S, explaining why he was eating so late.
"Boy, have I got a story to tell you!" he said, and proceeded to describe what had happened on the train while stuffing food into his mouth.
Without doubt, this is the kind of experience that would seriously have freaked him out when he was under the influence of the eating disorder. But on that day he just took it in his stride - and with humour.
CLICK HERE to read 'The 12 days of (ED) Christmas' - a series of posts from Christmas 2011 which talk about the nightmare of living with a young person with an eating disorder (PDF)