This was the month that my son attempted to climb onto the house roof and began to feel suicidal. By the end of June the triangulation between me, my son and CAMHS had gone into overdrive. On the one hand, we had what my son claimed that the psychiatrist was saying during their individual sessions. On the other, we had the discord between the three of us during 'family sessions' or the 10 minutes at the end of individual sessions when I was sometimes invited into the room for a summary. We also had those occasions where I'd try to grab the pscyhiatrist to express my concerns, away from my son. And then we had my husband which created triangulation and discord at home.
We were about as far away from being on the 'same page' as it is possible to be; it was like polar extremes. And, as we know, eating disorders love triangulation. Such situations enable the eating disorder to thrive and 'take sides' with the person or people who are most likely to make life easy for them.
In late June 2009 I was posting on the ATDT forum:
I am in an impossible situation. Today I'll try again to get hold of the psych but this time to insist that I believe my son is at risk and insist she writes me a prescription for anti-depressants. Then I need to persuade my son to take them (which will be impossible). Meanwhile what do I do? This could be threatening our marriage as my H blames me for Ben's outbursts and accuses me of "going against all the professional advice" because the CAMHS team "obviously know what they're doing and look what happens whey you try to do it your way". This was after having agreed with Ben that we'd go back to the eating plan if he loses weight again this week. At the end of the evening Ben denied agreeing to it - and refused to do so saying he'd laugh in my face if he actually put on weight this week. And meanwhile he's seeing the triangulation between me and the psych, and last night between me and his dad. Game, set and match to the eating disorder, definitely. And I've no idea what to do now. No idea. Feel totally and utterly defeated with everyone against me.
Yesterday the psych wasn't "unduly concerned" about weight loss at our session as, despite his consistent weight loss recently, he is "nowhere near what he was when the treatment started" which, I take it, is a "good sign because he's done so well". (Note, I write all this with gritted teeth...)
I'm being told that we need to take the focus off the eating and concentrate on the psychological side of recovery because "I think it's time to focus less on the eating side of things and more on working together as a family to see what is helpful to son and what isn't".
And, it seems from what my son is telling me, that I am probably the reason why he got anorexia in the first place - by being an overprotective mother and by passing my own anxieties to my son. (My teeth are grinding themselves down now, they're so gritted...)
Worse, according to my son this morning, the psych said that, for him and his build, a weight gain of 0.5kg a week is totally unreasonable and we shouldn't expect that. (Despite the fact that, when I was in control of the eating plan, he gained weight consistently at that pace, often more. And despite the fact that she doesn't know what his build is - she never saw him playing No 3 in the school rugby team!)
My teeth are now ground down to the gums... Oh, and because it's the summer, we should take things a bit easier all round...
Not surprisingly, I was having difficulties sleeping.
Been up since the crack of dawn this Sunday morning... couldn't sleep, I was so wound up about it all, especially following our evening meal yesterday which catapulted us back at least 8 weeks - and when we saw the photos of our son at the school prom, looking so thin and pale, even my H realised that we're getting nowhere.
However my H wondered if CAMHS have some kind of "hidden agenda" as he calls it whereby they concentrate on working on the reasons behind the eating disorder before working on the re-feeding which, hopefully, should come naturally as a result of the reasons behind the eating disorder being sorted out.
Meanwhile my son is refusing to speak to me about food AT ALL because of the psych criticising me for "going on" about food and feeling we "should focus less on food and more on what is helpful to son as regards how you and your husband approach this and talk to him".
And all his old little eating disorder tricks and behaviours are coming back... up to now they were gradually slipping back into his routine, but over the past week it's as if the floodgates have been opened and - woosh!!!! - in they all come.
And meanwhile he lost weight again on Friday so since he took back control of his own eating at the insistence of CAMHS 6 weeks ago he has only put on weight during ONE of those weeks; the rest he's lost it. My alarm bells are ringing so loud I feel as if I'm going to explode.
I feel so very, very sad for the mum I was back then. All I wanted was to get my son well and I couldn't understand what CAMHS were trying to achieve through the eating disorder treatment. All it seemed to do was to make my son lose weight and make us all fight because of the triangulation. Plus, there was a lot of implied blame - that the eating disorder was my fault as a mum because I was 'over anxious'. (Well I'd challenge any parent in an eating disorder situation not to be anxious...)
I couldn't 'back off' because my gut instinct screamed out that the eating disorder was getting worse, not better. It was my duty as a loving, caring parent to ensure that my son was getting the kind of treatment that would make him well, but things were getting worse at home (which CAMHS never saw of course) - moods, behaviour, yelling, banging and crashing, refusual to eat, suicide threats, eating and weight - and I couldn't for the life of me see how the eating disorder treatment was working.
So, although I was helping to triangulate by disagreeing with CAMHS and pushing for things they wanted to put on the back burner (eg weight gain and a balanced diet), I couldn't help it.
I needed to trust my gut instinct as a mother and that's what I did.