As you may know, I'm currently undergoing (private) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for the C-PTSD annoyance. So far, Steve, my therapist has been brilliant and everything is progressing OK. Generally I feel a lot better. The key word here is feel because, for so very many months (over a year... or longer!) I couldn't actually feel anything at all. It was as if my brain was numbed and I was simply going through the motions of just about everything in life that involves feelings (stunning walks by the sea, cycling in the beautiful countryside, being with friends and loved ones...). At the same time I was in panic mode, on a kind of 'red alert', which is sort of odd when coupled with numb feelings, but that's PTSD for you.
The numb feelings left quite a while ago, whilst still under the care of the NHS. What is left is the anxiety / 'red alert' feelings which go up and down. I have good days, I have bad days and I still have the odd very bad day.
Steve reminded me what the NHS therapists had taught me which is to allow these feelings to come through as it's all part of the memory processing. The trick is not to suppress them or feel you 'shouldn't be having them'. Or, worse, to feel that you are in some way 'weak' by not being 100% OK.
I can tell that things are improving because I've been able to work more - and get really enthusiastic about it. I've got a bit of my old drive and passion back!
Whereas in the autumn I was seriously wondering whether I might have to stop work altogether and retire early, I am now doing the exact opposite. I have done an html refresher course and redesigned my business website from the ground up. I have taken on more business and my clients seem delighted. I am about to launch a second website.
I may... I just may... but probably not just yet... think about writing a sequel to my book Please eat... A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia talking about Ben's recovery from his anorexia and how I dealt with the aftermath - because I know I'm not the only parent to suffer the after effects of so many years of battling with a deadly eating disorder in the family.
And I've been blogging and replying to parents' questions on the Around The Dinner Table Forum (which is there to support parents of young people with eating disorders).
No way could I have done any of this six months ago.
Yes, as I said above, I have bad days. And bad evenings (evenings tend to be tricky as they still trigger memories of when Ben would go crazy). Some mealtimes, too. Sometimes I can be mega-triggered by something whereas at other times nice memories creep in rather than reliving the eating disorder hell.
On the whole things have improved enormously.
Steve, my therapist, and I still have things to work on, of course. At the moment I seem to be stuck on the CAMHS sessions - those first sessions between February and October 2010.
We will continue to attempt to process these memories tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Ben goes back to university tomorrow for the final term of his Masters Degree. Today he's at a PGCE teacher training interview day at a local university.
He is a natural teacher. He has a gift for bringing the subject to life. And he is a walking encyclopedia of history!
Earlier this morning I dropped him off at the interview - the same route I used to take when taking or picking up him from school. No bad triggers. Quite the reverse. The route triggered good memories instead.
So it's all good news so far...