Monday, 23 January 2017

"Eating difficulties"... You mean like fussy kids who won't eat their vegetables?

On Friday I got a letter from my PTSD therapist saying that she was sorry I'd "felt unable to continue with the session [on Wednesday]". It also refers to the "trauma and stress associated with Ben's experience of eating difficulties"... Eating difficulties? It makes it sound oh so simplistic. Like fussy kids who won't eat their vegetables.

I will say it again and say it loud: My son had full-blown anorexia nervosa, not "eating difficulties" - although if you read his therapy notes you might think his illness wasn't too bad because he was never officially diagnosed as having anorexia.

This is because his BMI never dipped low enough to meet the official diagnosis criteria.

Despite the fact that he'd lost around one quarter of his pre-eating disorder body weight by the start of treatment.

After 11 months of eating disorder treatment he'd lost even more.

"Eating difficulties" conjures up pictures of how it was when Ben was a toddler. Sitting there trying to get him to eat vegetables while he sat there with his mouth firmly closed.

So I blended the greens, added them to mashed potato and called it 'spooky mash'.

He loved it!

I blended other vegetables and made them into burgers or sausages, adding cheese and / or nuts to make them even scrummier.

Nom nom nom, he loved them!!

Problem sorted - and my son was on the road to liking every single vegetable on the planet. Just before his eating disorder struck, he was 'eating for England'. He loved his food!

But to be honest, unless you've been through it yourself, I don't think anyone - clinicians or lay people - understand how terrible an eating disorder really is. And how living with it on a day-to-day basis with no let-up is like hell on earth.

I sooo object to phrases like "eating difficulties". Even "eating disorder" isn't strong enough a label for this deadly illness.

Which would I rather have? Ben's "eating difficulties" with vegetables solved instantly by creative use of mash, burgers and sausages? Or Ben's full-blown anorexia nervosa that threatened to kill him?


1 comment:

  1. I hate the terms mental wellbeing, emotional difficulties etc etc. Doesn't bear any relation to the experience of mental illness. I worry that professionals have bought into their own words, which might explain lack of treatment