Wednesday, 19 April 2017

9th March 2010: my first post on the Around The Dinner Table forum

If you're going through the hell of being a parent of a young person with an eating disorder, and especially a boy with anorexia, you might be able to identify with my posts  on the Around The Dinner Table forum. This is my first post from 9th March 2010:


My wonderful teenage son was handsome, confident and popular (especially with the girls!). He was also very sporty, a star player in the school rugby team and the fastest runner in the year. He was also admired throughout the school for his fabulous singing voice.

His eating disorder became noticeable over the summer (2009) with rapid weight loss (quarter of his body weight), obsessive exercise and strange eating obsessions developing (e.g chopping fruit into little bits which would take ages). I took him to the GP in September but it was late October by the doc took my concerns seriously - and even then I had to practically force him to refer him for treatment.

We live in the UK and the treatment offered by our National Health Service is called CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). The waiting list is HUGE, so we only began (out patient) treatment mid Feb 2010.

My son's extreme behaviour started around November - the manic outbursts, head banging, distorted arguments, free fall into some kind of mental breakdown kind of state, totally isolating himself from his friends, problems at school, obsessive exercise, refusing the eat, the works... There's no point in listing everything here as I'm sure you'll know exactly what I mean...

It is now March and we have lived with this escalating nightmare for months now. Goodness only knows how long this road will be...

The stress and strain on us, as parents, is massive. Yesterday, for example, (the day we ended up with super emotional meltdown as son texted me 20 times from school, mega distressed, with an ultra distressing evening to follow) I reached the end of my coping and found myself picking up a dinner plate then throwing it across the kitchen until it smashed into pieces (fortunately I was alone in the house at the time...) Today I am exhausted and have made the decision to take son out of school for the time being (he just goes to pieces when he's there and spends very little time in lessons, mainly hiding in some corner somewhere). He has important exams in a couple of months (GCSEs), was an A star pupil expected to excel, but, hey, what can you do, recovery comes first...

What frustrates us is that his psychiatrist doesn't think his problem is too severe. His BMI isn't bad and when he's with her, his behaviour is quite normal. As a result she's started spacing our appointments further apart; we have a 4 week break between our next two appointments. Despite trying to argue the case with her, she's adamant he isn't too bad. As parents we feel as if she's pushed us off a cliff and into free fall... We wonder whether we might have to go private, or if we should stick with the free NHS treatment... We explored private treatment a bit while on the waiting list and weren't impressed with that either. Difficult really... Very difficult, actually...

I am sure that every one of you reading this will know what I mean when you feel heartbroken seeing your once beautiful, confident, intelligent, friendly, popular child descend into this wreck of a human being who spots the calorie content on some ciabatta he's supposed to have for tea, becomes a quivering wreck of sobbing, banging head against the wall as if he's about to break his skull...

But reading through the ATDT posts it's so reassuring to see that recovery DOES come.

Anyway, enough for now. Just thought I'd introduce myself and our problems!!!

PS So glad I found this forum...

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