Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pizza Express, not distress

Ben's massive addition to my weekly supermarket shop reminded me of the other week when Paul and I drove down to Sheffield to celebrate my birthday with Ben. We went to Pizza Express, a restaurant where, back in the 'bad old days' when Ben's anorexia was raging, we had some particularly distressing episodes.

But there was Ben, this time round, ordering the larger size pizza with a sizeable list of extra toppings. When it was served, he pointed to his mountainous pizza and said "Does THIS make you realise that I am perfectly OK and that you have NOTHING to worry about, mum?" Because, yes, you've guessed it, I constantly worry, like we parents do and will probably always do...

Supermarket shocking!

Ben is back from university on Friday for 'reading week', so I asked him to send me his shopping list so I could add it to our delivery from Tesco's. Result? DOUBLE the supermarket spend compared to when it's just Paul and me. And Paul and I seem to eat pretty well! It's things like this that make me realise just how far Ben has come since those dark days when supermarket shopping was a complete nightmare.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It's team work: none of us must feel guilt

I spent yesterday afternoon worrying. Worrying that people who had suffered from an eating disorder might read my blog and feel guilty for 'putting their parents through this'. So I immediately put a post on my Facebook page that says: What I DON'T want to do, ever, is incite feelings of guilt in the eating disorder sufferers themselves (whether recovered or in recovery). They must NEVER, EVER feel guilt at 'putting their parents through all of this'. NEVER, EVER. We, as parents, simply responded with love, exactly as we would have to any life-threatening illness. NEVER feel bad about it. EVER.

Monday, 2 November 2015

The 'guilt' feeling isn't what you might think it is

Part of the vicious circle I described in my last post is 'guilt'. But not the kind of 'guilt' you might expect. I don't feel guilt at 'causing' the eating disorder because, as modern evidence is proving, mothers don't 'cause' their child's eating disorder - eating disorders are thought to be a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers (in my son's case it was trying to get a fantastic six-pack physique without doing as much sport, while eating less). No, the feeling of guilt that is very much part of the vicious circle of emotions I'm feeling at the moment is very different.

Depression is a lonely place to be until...

As anyone who has visited my recent post on the Around The Dinner Table Forum may know, I've been having a spot of bother over the last two years. The trouble is, my son is pretty much recovered from his eating disorder. But as he continued to move in the right direction and establish a new life for himself, it became clear that I was suffering from the aftermath of everything we had been through during the traumatic years during which I'd battled to help him recover from anorexia.

Monday, 12 October 2015

A really, really powerful post by a US mother and MD

A friend share this link on Facebook last night. I read it and - wow! - its sheer force hit me like an avalanche. I'm still thinking about it today. What this amazing written-straight-from-the-heart article does is to get across exactly how an eating disorder brings havoc and destruction to a family. Everyone in the family - from the sufferer to the parents. And if anyone wants to know what it's really, really like to have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia in the family, simply read this article. It gets it across perfectly.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

From my other blog: The saddest cycle ride I ever did

Recently I've started another blog about my biking and hiking activities. But today's post kind of overlaps between this blog and that.

So here is a link to it:

Oh, and by the way, Ben is back from university this weekend full of tales to tell. Good ones, I hasten to add.

He's getting on fine with his housemates and various activities, despite the fact that some of his housemates keep going onto him about the fact he eats 3 square meals a day including 2 breakfasts, which they think is strange...

So all is good on the university front!

Friday, 18 September 2015

I realise I sound a bit negative as regards going to university

Please, please don't think that I'm saying that your son or daughter might not settle into university life. Hopefully they will have a fantastic time and continue to be free of their eating disorder.

My last two blog posts are simply aimed at those families that might have issues to show that, if it doesn't work out at university this year, then it's not such a Big Deal when you look at the bigger picture.

When university didn't work out, the first time round

When things didn't work out for Ben at university in September 2012, we were all devastated. All three of us - his dad Paul, me and Ben - were so looking forward to him finally getting this chance to rebuild his life after three years of battling with anorexia.

Shortly before his 26-month eating disorders treatment with CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) ended in the March, the CAMHS nurse had said that she "couldn't see any reason on this earth why Ben wouldn't be ready for university in September". To be honest, I wasn't convinced. But, anyhow, we went ahead.

Thrilled to see these young people heading for university!

I'm sooooooo thrilled to see some of the teenagers whose stories featured in my book When anorexia came to visit: Families talk about how an eating disorder invaded their lives are off to university this month!

It really is a delight to know that they've pulled through this horrible illness and are able to get on with their lives.

Going away to university is such a big step for anyone to take let alone young people who have battled with anorexia and other eating disorders. I know because of the problems my son, Ben, had with going to university, starting in 2012, with a 'false start'.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

This development could be AMAZING!

Having kept a discreet distance from the mainstream world of eating disorders during my PTSD treatment, I was thrilled to get an email from author and fellow mum-of-a-recovered-eating-disorder-sufferer, Eva Musby (whose story features in my book When Anorexia Came To Visit) directing me to her latest blog post about some seriously excellent changes planned for adolescent eating disorders treatment in England.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

New blog - moving away from the eating disorder

Writing this blog has been a bit tricky for the past few months. My son, Ben, is doing really well and is about to embark on his final year at university and building up a circle of friends, old and new. I've been struggling a bit with PTSD, anxiety and depression as a result of trying to re-invent the person I was before Ben fell sick with anorexia. I've found it difficult to focus on things like reading and writing - hence why I haven't written much over the past months. Also, I've sidestepped away from the world of eating disorders a little, kind of standing on the sidelines rather than in the thick of it, basically because it wasn't helping to fix my PTSD (for which I am undergoing my third course of NHS therapy).

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Painting over past memories and nightmares

"You know those test paint patches on the horrible yellow wall?" I said to the decorator yesterday as he began work on our hallway, stairs and landing. "We did those six years ago!" I explained that the reason we'd finally got around to completing the job (see pic on left for completed job) was because, shortly after we experimented with different paint colours, my son had fallen sick. It's only now, six years on, that we've begun to pick up where we left off. "Next is the living room and kitchen, then the back bedroom, the loft, the small bedroom... the whole house needs a fresh coat of paint!"

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Going back to my roots - why I began blogging in Jan 2011

Gosh, it's 52 months since I first began this blog about my experience of helping my teenage son to overcome anorexia! Back then I was a bit anxious about starting a blog so I sent a few blogging samples to various friends in the world of eating disorders like the Fairy Blogmother herself, Laura Collins, the founder of F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders), the oracle of help for parents of young people with eating disorders, and its sister site, the Around The Dinner Table Forum.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A 'new approach' to eating disorder treatment that points the fingers at mothers again... Aaarrgghh!

Gloucester (that is, the Gloucester in the States, not the Gloucester here in the UK), is promoting a 'new approach' to eating disorder treatment in which 'mothers and daughters are educated together about eating disordered behavior, and the family and cultural patterns that contribute to it.' Apparently mothers talk too much about the size of their thighs and such like which triggers their daughters (no mention of sons here) to go on diets and develop eating disorders. Apparently 'learning to think differently about food and one’s body is the pathway to changing destructive eating patterns.'

Thursday, 26 March 2015

It's liberating to know it's not me, it's the way the brain works...

"Well, don't," has been one of my husband's favourite responses over the past 16+ months as I've struggled with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. He would ask: "What's wrong?" I'd respond with something like: "Well, you know... I'm just feeling a bit down and that..."

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The easy way to read my blog from 2011, etc

I began this blog in January 2011, almost a year on from when my teenage son began treatment for anorexia. Important and useful archive posts like these can so often be missed on eating disorder blogs (all that clicking to and fro!) which is why I've created a linear PDF of every post from 2011 which you can read by clicking here... Other parents have told me that my earlier posts were a tremendous help for them. One even described them as a 'lifesaver'. This isn't me being big-headed or boastful, it is simply me trying to ensure that any other parent facing this horrible illness has access to as much helpful information as they possibly can - because, as we know only too well in our family, learning about eating disorders and their effective treatment is a MASSIVE LEARNING CURVE that you can ill afford when you are battling to save your son or daughter from descending into the hell of anorexia. So please do check out this PDF and the subsequent years which you can find on this web page.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Example of successful CBT in practice from yesterday

As you know, to help overcome my acute anxiety issues that remain following my therapy for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) (as a result of training my brain to realise that my son has recovered from anorexia and is not still in the throes of it).... I have been using a combination of CBT tools learned through therapy and further CBT tools from the excellent Anxiety & Worry Workbook. Yesterday was a superb example of CBT in practice - and how it can be very successful. It may be of use to anyone else going through episodes like this.

Monday, 23 March 2015

How do visitors to the RCGP website access resources for eating disorders?

Well, at the time of writing, the answer is that, if they visit this page on the UK's Royal College of General Practitioners' website, they don't. This page says that it provides links 'to a range of eating disorder resources' and two of the most important links are broken - the links to the MARSIPAN guidelines for adults and adolescents with eating disorders.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Normal service is resumed; I am soooooo much better

As you probably gathered, for the whole of 2014 and a few months either side, I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In total I must have undergone 50-odd (private and NHS) sessions of various types of therapy. Last week saw my final NHS appointment with Zoe, the truly amazing and lovely (primarily) EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapist.