Wednesday, 3 February 2016

So how was my meeting with the guy from Leeds CAMHS?

My home city of Leeds is one of the first areas in England which is pioneering FBT (Family Based Therapy) as the primary model for treating adolescents with eating disorders in the city. It all goes back to Chancellor Of The Exchequer George Osborne's Autumn Statement in 2014 when he promised an extra £2 billion a year of additional funding for the NHS across various services including mental health. Leeds was one of the authorities that applied for funding and they were successful in their bid. So some of this funding is being used to roll out a new service for adolescents with eating disorders within the Leeds postcode area.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Yet another anti-obesity proposal that could be lethal for eating disorder victims

Adolphe Quételet by Joseph-Arnold Demannez
Even Adolphe Quételet,
who invented the BMI formula,
warned of its limitations
A major reason why I believe that my son's eating disorder wasn't taken as seriously as it should have been by clinicians from the GP upwards is because his BMI was still within the so-called "normal" range, despite the fact that he'd lost about a quarter of his original body weight.

Just as damaging, was the fact that my son's BMI was calculated in front of him at virtually every CAMHS session. So he was constantly being given the message that he was kind of okay and didn't need to put on much, if any, weight. Because if he did put on weight, he'd be getting "too fat".

Monday, 1 February 2016

What's the latest news about FBT in Leeds / England?

That's what I'll be asking the guy who's in charge of rolling out FBT (Family Based Therapy) for adolescent eating disorder patients in Leeds when I meet with him on Wednesday. My home city of Leeds is claiming to be a 'pioneer' in the rolling out of FBT in England and so I can't wait to hear what he has to say about plans for FBT being implemented in other parts of England. Already it's being implemented in Scotland - and England was lagging behind. I'm not sure what the situation is in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Part #1 of my talk at the SEDIG conference in Edinburgh

Here's the first part of a transcript of the talk I'm doing at the Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group (SEDIG) Carers' Conference 2016 at the end of next month (Saturday 27th February) for those who can't be there - and also to give a flavour of what I'll be talking about for those who can be there:

I'm finally happy with my Edinburgh talk!

For better or for worse, I'm a terrible micromanager. And you wouldn't believe the tweaking that's gone into my script and PowerPoint presentation for the talk I'm doing at the Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group (SEDIG) Carers' Conference 2016 at the end of next month (Saturday 27th February). But I think I finally sorted it out. I think the main problem with my talk (which is called "Eating disorders aren't just a 'girl thing'") is that I've got such a massive story that condensing it into just 25 or 30 minutes has been a bit tricky, to say the least!

Download my blog posts on PDF for FREE - 2011-15

At last I've put all my blog posts (from 2011 when I began writing about eating disorders in boys up to the end of 2015) onto PDFs. So they're much easier to read than clicking around Blogger which can be a nightmare. The latter two years – 2014 and 2015 – tend to be a bit more thin on the ground than the other years because, as you will know if you've been following my blog, I was struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder type symptoms which hit me at the end of 2013.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

And while we're on the subject of BMIs…

My sister pointed out this article about a friend of hers whose healthy, sporty son was sent home with a letter from school telling his mum that he was overweight. This especially incensed the boy's mother because she herself had been a victim of anorexia as a young woman and understood more than most people about the dangers of the many things that can trigger an eating disorder.

Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group (SEDIG) Carers' Conference 2016

I may have mentioned this already, but I'm speaking at the Scottish Eating Disorder Interest Group (SEDIG) Carers' Conference 2016 at the end of next month (Saturday 27th February). The title of my talk will be "Eating disorders aren't just a 'girl thing'"; indeed the main thrust of the conference, I believe, will be about eating disorders in males and in particular eating disorders and anorexia in teenage boys.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Say NO to one of the most dangerous food labeling proposals to date

Join the Facebook page (see below)
According to the BBC website and the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH): "Labels should be added to food and drink to show how much activity would be needed to burn off the calories consumed, the Royal Society for Public Health says." 

When I told my son Ben (who had a lethal exercise addiction when he was sick with anorexia) about this shocking new proposal, he said:

More about why I am donating royalties from my books to 'Mama Shirls' hospice

In a nutshell, Shirley (the school nurse I call 'Sheila' in my book Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia), gave so much to Ben and me during his long battle with anorexia in terms of support, love and someone I could trust to take care of Ben when he was at school that I wanted to give something back.

And when I heard her speak on Friday about her voluntary work in Uganda I had a brainwave...

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Going over and beyond the call of duty... massively.

Sister Shirley Crawford speaking
at school last night
As you will know if you've read my book, Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia, "Sheila" the school nurse was one of the most supportive people throughout my teenage son's battle with anorexia. I can't begin to describe how supportive she was, right from the start. It was she who first told me about CAMHS, talked to me about eating disorders and told me to get a referral for eating disorder treatment. It was she who provided a safe haven for my son when he couldn't bear to be in school or had broken down for some reason, which he did on most days during the winter of 2009/10.

Why I'd like to go into Ben's old school to talk about eating disorders

When my son Ben fell sick with anorexia, back in 2009 when he was 15, his school was amazingly supportive. By early 2010 he was finding it increasingly impossible to be in school. He couldn't bear being anywhere near his peers, he was regularly breaking down in lessons and in the school dining hall, he was behaving irrationally and dangerously, he was exercising like mad at any opportunity and he was spending much of his time in the school medical centre rather than in lessons. And, of course, he was eating minimally throughout the day resulting in more and more weight loss.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Why is Leeds swapping the old treatment models for FBT? I can't wait to find out!

I'm meeting with the psychiatrist guy from Leeds NHS a week on Wednesday and I can't wait to find out what prompted Leeds to make the changes and move from multi-disciplinary CAMHS treatment for teenage eating disorders to a specialist eating disorders service for adolescents - and to adopt the evidence-based FBT (Family Based Therapy / Treatment) instead of the methods they were using when my son, Ben, was sick with anorexia.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Yay! The doctor from Leeds NHS has replied to my email.

And this is what she said: "It is lovely to hear from you and of your interest in the new children’s community eating disorder service soon to be established in Leeds. It would be very useful to involve you in our local service developments as we recognise that the involvement of young people and their parents is integral to the success of any new service plans. I’ve copied in my colleague who is the clinician leading the service model developments; I think he would be ideal to talk through our Leeds plans with as he has had a key role in identifying the evidence-base treatment to include in the service model." This is so exciting…

Monday, 4 January 2016

A mixture of excitement and sorrow

Excitement to see that my local NHS has seen the light, so to speak, and appears to be pioneering FBT (Family  Based Treatment) for adolescents with eating disorders in England. Sorrow because we missed out on this fantastic opportunity. But that's water under the bridge; nothing can be done to change the past. However, hopefully, the future in Leeds looks BRILLIANT. Here is the email I've just fired off to the person in charge:

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A big huge massive snotty kind of blob

No, not me. I'm describing my anger, as suggested by my wonderful therapist (who sadly I will have to leave within the next week or so). I still have a heck of a lot of anger inside me, primarily concerning the way I had to fight CAMHS so very much throughout the 26 months Ben was receiving treatment for his eating disorder. There are so many, many reasons why I'm still angry – but of course much of it is about the past, about things I can't do anything about now.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

I am so strong I feel like Charles Atlas!

Just before Christmas I picked up a copy of "Depressive illness, the curse of the strong" by Dr Tim Cantopher – and I think that this book has done me more good than anything else.

I'm speaking at a carers' conference in Edinburgh at the end of February

SEDIG is Scotland's charity for "supporting, connecting and informing anyone who is affected by eating disorders" and they've invited me to talk about my son Ben's recovery from anorexia at their annual carers' conference in Edinburgh on the 27th February. So I've been putting together a script over Christmas, updating the script from the talk I gave in London a couple of years ago. Things have changed since then; Ben has come on enormously, so I've cut down the "before" story with the emphasis much more heavily on Ben's recovery.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A very Merry Christmas, belated!

I think we had one of the best Christmases we've had since before my son fell sick with anorexia. We just relaxed as a family, in front of the fire and the television. On Christmas Eve Ben put together a fantastic spread of tapas and are Christmas Day he cooked the Christmas dinner and made the most delicious sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream that you've ever tasted. He also made a Christmas Arctic roll, with home-made toffee ice cream surrounded by home-made chocolate Swiss roll. Then on the 23rd, on his birthday, we all went to a local pub that specialises in serving stews and casseroles. It was the kind of Christmas I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined when my son was sick with anorexia.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Wow, wow, and wow again!

A therapist friend of mine, who is part of the eating disorders network of people I've met over the past few years and who can always be depended on to provide great insights into things, suggested I take a look at this book: Depressive illness, the curse of the strong.

So I downloaded a sample on my Kindle and very quickly realised I had to purchase this book, so I did. And I'm sitting here exclaiming: "Wow, wow,wow and wow again!" as it describes my personality to a tee.