|The wonderful Charlotte Bevan|
Charlotte already knows about this (bless her, she's amazing, we've been on the phone and email today), but I wondered what everyone else's experience is of Mum Hatred when your son or daughter refuses to speak to you and hates you with a vengeance making it impossible for you to support them through this. It's something that's materialised in the last few weeks.
Also, Ben has gone AWOL on several occasions, today climbing out of the window because I wouldn't produce the house keys. Luckily he returned, but he refuses point blank to speak to me and I can't see this improving. It's impossible to do meals or anything as he's also refusing to eat (or just eating what and when it pleases him). Last night he packed his bags (for the second time) screaming he was leaving home, but stayed after long discussions with his Dad. Today he said the only reason he'd stayed was because his Dad had told him of the consequences of running away (i.e. police, etc).
Charlotte has given me some wonderful advice which is invaluable and a huge thanks to her. Just wondered what other parents' experience of this is.
This is a horrible situation.
Yes, thank you XXX. And Charlotte, of course... so much good advice there I thought it was a good idea to start a new thread for me and for current eating disorder carers.
I long for the day when I'll get a hug "just because I love you" like someone said on XXX's old thread which brought tears to my eyes.
Thanks, everyone. He is calmer today. But we are living on a knife-edge.
Ben has banned us from talking about food or participating in any way with his eating. If we do, he explodes. So we can't carry on feeding him as normal because he won't let us.
All we can do is to hope we get some sense out of CAMHS when we see them on Friday after a 4 week absence but I imagine it'll just be more of the "try and eat more" / "He just needs some space and that's why he's threatening these actions" sort of stuff plus the finger pointing at me, the neurotic mother.
He is in a much better mood, thank God, and has unpacked his bags... and has actually hugged me back, but I am having to be oh so so so careful what I say and do in case it all kicks off again. I wish we had the money to go private but it's so much a case of "how long is a piece of string" that we'd probably run out of dosh pretty quickly. Also, as I have said before, how do I know the grass will be any greener, hey...
CAMHS [the Duty Psychiatrist I spoke to when I was terrified my son would take his own life] say they are not an emergency service and we can't just drop in when we feel like it. And of course I'm tarred as neurotic and guilty of not giving son "space".
Friday was so bland I can't really describe it here, I can scarcely remember what was said except CAMHS didn't seem unduly concerned about the continuing weight loss, preferring to focus on Ben's depression over the next few weeks. But I guess they have to focus on that too. I did keep repeating over and over again that I want them to focus on BOTH issues - weight and depression. My husband is delighted with what they as "the professionals" say. Somehow they always wins him over and I am Big Bad Batty once again, ploughing a lonely furrow, and "going against all the professional advice" (to quote my husband).
How can I complain when the only ammo I have is Ben's weight loss. Already with regards to the loss of the dietitian I have seen all of them close ranks - amazing!!!
But meanwhile Ben is trying hard to eat well and is managing to eat XXXX-XXXX cals per day which is better than nothing...
Thanks for all your responses, by the way. I am really touched...
Just got a double prescription for medication so I can "Keep calm and carry on" (to coin a wartime phrase I saw on a cushion which I nearly bought yesterday). I voiced all my concerns to the GP (one of the oldest and most experienced in our practise) yet all he did was nod his head and say very little. The phrase "closing ranks" came to mind....
Even he said that eating disorder treatment is all about addressing mood / mind issues first and with the improvement of these comes weight gain, while all the books I'm reading say it should be the other way round... Meanwhile Ben's mood is rock bottom today and I dread another showdown... He has lost all his joy and zest for life and I can't remember the last time he smiled or laughed genuinely; he just skulks around the house looking like the world's about to end.
I can't get in touch with the psychiatrist on the phone (I've left loads of messages) so here's the email I'm sending her (which I have to do via the receptionist - no direct contact with her permitted):
Ben is “low” all the time; he only used to get ultra depressed and in complete despair every so often. Now it’s virtually every day, all day. It has nothing to do with me “going on at him” because I’ve kept completely quiet, rarely mentioning food, anorexia, etc.
I believe he’s reached a new dark and dangerous mood cycle and could do something silly very easily. This puts me on a knife edge every minute of the day and I am seriously worried.
He is not just back-sliding, he’s going backwards rapidly. We’ve seen some very abnormal anorexia behaviours and the “animal cries” / crashing around / uncontrollable weeping at mealtimes are back.
I would like to see Ben on medication and I would like you to promote the idea of this to him - if for no other reason than to make it easier for me to take care of him when his mood deteriorates dangerously. He can’t do this on his own; he needs help. And he is, without doubt, getting much, much worse.
Ben’s weight loss
I am still not clear what CAMHS plan to do about this. At first it appeared that CAMHS would step in if Ben lost weight consistently. But this hasn’t happened. At this stage, I would like to be clear about what action you plan to take next.
Ben's weight has gone down consistently since 28th May. He may not be at a dangerous level now but he could be before too long.
He refuses to let us take control or even talk about food / eating / anorexia so we can't encourage him to increase his food intake.
As a weight gain regime this obviously isn't working and it could get serious if left unchecked.
If the plan is to change his mood first and with it will come the weight gain, then this could take months. Surely his weight could be at dangerous levels by then?
And with the weight loss comes mood deterioration and the return of old anorexic habits and behaviours
As a parent I am seriously worried and need to know what your plans are to turn this around.
PS: in the end I spoke to her on the phone and all of what she said sounded OK (except she said it's all a case of what Ben wants, not what we want because he's not a little boy any more.
We seem to have entered a new and very dark phase whereby it's unusual for Ben to be "normal" in his behaviour and most likely he's crashing around the house, screaming, swearing, crying out like an animal... the works. The slightest thing can bring this on and I am finding it a mega strain (to say the least) while my husband is working away and there's just me. If I bring any other adult into the equation, he just walks out. I have explained this to the psychiatrist and re-explained it to her, with the usual response. Before, it used to be a case of he was like this now and again. For the past couple of weeks it's been the other way round and I really can't cope. I am taking 5 days off next week as my husband takes Ben to the inlaws again and I escape to my little "bolt hole" by the sea like I did in June. I seriously worry that I won't want to come back. Really and truly I feel like running away myself...
In an ideal world, I'd go for longer, but with my husband working away, there's only me.
My husband took Ben to the inlaws back in June and there were some major problems around food / mood, so they've seen it all before so hopefully they will be prepared. I just feel the need to delegate everything, lock, stock and barrel. Last time I did this Ben texted me with a "I can't stand this any longer" but thankfully it was resolved though it made my "time out" pretty stressful.
Telling my GP anything seems to be pretty useless as they are really not in the slightest bit interested as was demonstrated when I visited my GP and voiced my concerns earlier this week. Just sympathetic head nodding and no action, regardless of what I said. But he did give me a prescription for Fluoxetine (Prozac).
We have 2 more psychiatrist sessions before we go away, the first being tomorrow. Yet again psychiatrist has said that if Ben continues to lose weight she will step in and insist that I take back control of certain eating elements. So I asked when that would be, but she said there isn't "a specific cut off point"... We shall see what happens tomorrow. Had a nightmarish morning with Ben in a heck of a nasty, evil mood. So that's one good day this week and the rest all pretty hellish.
The trouble is Ben is getting to the stage where he is now refusing point blank to have treatment or anything to do with anything medical. We had to virtually carry him to CAMHS this morning and that was only because my husband arrived home just as I'd given up. Despite now being diagnosed with clinical depression (finally, at long last) he refuses to take medication. He refuses to go to the GP. He refuses anything.
My husband "read the riot act" to CAMHS on Friday and overstayed his welcome by an hour! For the very first time, they seemed worried about Ben and went into detail about the damage he could be doing to his body, said he MUST gain weight this week or I take back control of the eating. I think the penny has dropped with that, yes, this is serious and, yes, they must take what we parents say seriously. I felt quite confident when my husband came home and told me all this in depth. Also, Ben stayed in the entire session despite threatening to walk about after 5 mins. He seems to have taken what was said seriously and is eating more. We have another session on Wed, so will see what happens. Me, I was totally and utterly in pieces after last week which was our worst week to date. Spent most of the week in bed as it made me feel physically ill. Not ideal, I know, when we're supposed to be strong, etc but some things just really take it out of you.