Saturday, 19 August 2017

Still angry with CAMHS...

Reading through the Kartini Clinic blogs I find myself nodding my head at every click. I also find myself seething with anger (yet again) at the outdated way my son was treated for his eating disorder and the constant triangulation between the CAMHS treatment team and me, with my son 'siding' with whoever was more likely to allow his anorexia to flourish which was usually the treatment team.


I wish, wish, wish I'd been more forceful and stood up for what I believed in... what I was quickly learning about eating disorders and the latest evidence-based treatment. But, let's face it, 99% of the time any communication between me and the treatment team was in front of my son which only made the triangulation worse - and the eating disorder loves things like that.

I was allowing them to take sole charge of my most precious possession: my son. Trusting them, in effect, to save his life. And yet, under their care, my son's weight dropped and his distressing behaviour got worse. He also ended up back in hospital with Bradycardia (an abnormally slow pulse). Let's not beat around the bush, if his heart had given up, he'd have been D.E.A.D.

Or if he'd gone ahead with his numerous suicide threats.

Or if I hadn't stopped him from climbing onto the house roof and he'd slipped and fallen three storeys onto hard tarmac.

Or if I hadn't rushed out to sea in those rip tides in the Gironde Estuary as my son swam like a robotic machine, ever further away from the shore, in a bid to burn off calories. If I hadn't been able to get him back to shore, neither of us would have been here today. And that is no exaggeration. Watching the TV documentary about the RNLI last week brought it all back - the sheer power of strong waves and rip tides, pulling people out to sea...

Suddenly I was there again, in that water, feeling goddamn exhausted while trying to talk my son into swimming back to shore with me. Treading water as I did it, bobbing up and down in the choppy water, pleading with him to stop this crazy swimming and return to shore. Even today he doesn't realise how traumatic this experience was for us both; all he was thinking about was swimming off those calories.

And this was the summer of 2010 French holiday where I had to promise CAMHS beforehand that I wouldn't mention eating disorders or food. It was, according to CAMHS, an opportunity to take a break from the eating disorder and enjoy our family holiday.

As if you can 'take a break' from something as serious, distressing and damaging as that...

As if you can help someone to recover from an eating disorder without mentioning food...

The trouble was, there was no alternative to CAMHS. It was a case of CAMHS or nothing. And I really didn't feel as if I had the strength to get my son through his eating disorder alone.

But I often wonder whether I should have fired CAMHS and done what my dear (late) friend Charlotte Bevan did which was to work with a good GP on getting her daughter well. She'd lost confidence in the NHS treatment model for her daughter's anorexia which was making her daughter worse, rather than better. So she rolled up her sleeves, fired the team and enlisted the help of a great local GP as a support.

However the above rant is yet another example of 'what might have been if...' which, of course, isn't helpful to anyone.

Mulling over the past... water under the bridge and all that... does nothing except make me hopping M.A.D. It also brings back PTSD-like anxiety and panic inside my head.

But, the thing is, I can't stop being angry. And the more I learn about modern eating disorder treatment models, the more angry I get.

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