"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..."
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, 19 March 2015
... asked Ben a moment ago. You see I've been transferring my 2013 blog posts into a PDF (more linear for people to read) and I told him how stark the contrast was between the Ben of 2013 and the Ben of today. "I am so proud of you!" I said. "You've come on leaps and bounds in the past 18 months!"
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Like many people, I am cynical when it comes to politicians. And it crossed my mind that had I seen my local (Labour) MP Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East) this month as the General Election looms rather than 2 years ago, would he have got back to me? Hmn... I wonder who I will be voting for in the General Election...
On 27 March 2013 I met with my local MP Fabian Hamilton (Labour) to talk about the problems facing 18+ year olds who are still suffering from an eating disorder but, because of their age, are being discharged from CAMHS (the UK-based Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) and either transferred to Adult Services or left to their own devices - because, as a 'legal adult', they are permitted to choose whether or not to continue treatment. So what happened?
Friday, 13 March 2015
Despite the fact that, very sadly, not every family has access to such a wonderful and clued-up eating disorders treatment programme as that offered by the UCSD Eating Disorders Center, I really do love this article by fellow mum Jennifer Denise Ouellette on how relatives, neighbours, teachers and friends can assist when a family is battling with an eating disorder. I hope the author won't mind me reproducing one of the best bits below. It's relevant to my earlier post about how 'the public at large' may interpret an eating disorder:
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially after my recent PTSD-imposed 'break' from reading, writing and talking about eating disorders. Today I had a kind of epiphany moment and it was this... I have two Facebook pages: one for everything to do with eating disorders and another for everything else. And never the twain shall meet, kind of thing. But why? Why do I keep so silent about eating disorders on my 'main' Facebook page? I mean really WHY do I ignore eating disorders on that Facebook page?
So, around 2.30pm yesterday, I collected 21-year old student, Ben, from the railway station. He (with his dyed 'blackcurrant', straightened hair, long black leather coat, steam punk waistcoat, drainpipe black trousers, etc) flopped into the passenger seat and began to devour a huge bowl of chicken couscous salad, a packet of crisps and other goodies. "Boy, have I got a story to tell you!" he exclaimed. And, without doubt, this is the kind of experience that would seriously have freaked him out when he was under the influence of the eating disorder. But yesterday he just took it in his stride.
If you believe in the power of prayer, and even if you don't, I would urge anyone that reads this blog today to think about a family whose daughter's life is currently hanging in the balance - another victim of an eating disorder, another example of how this deadly illness does its level best to destroy life. xxxx
Thursday, 12 March 2015
my Facebook page, it seems that everyone is saying the same. I shouldn't feel guilty about saying sorry, no, I can't take this on - and this is why... And that my own recovery comes first. Which is, of course, totally true. Thank you to everyone that came back with wonderful, caring comments. I really do appreciate it.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
I've got a bit of a dilemma. Before and during my son's eating disorder, I was the kind of person that campaigned for things. During the eating disorder it was, obviously, to raise awareness of eating disorders in boys through this blog, my books, talks and so on. Now, post-eating-disorder, I am completely burned out. The very thought of campaigning for anything sends me scuttling for the security of my bed. It's why I've had to put any eating disorder advocacy 'on hold' for the moment and why I've been somewhat AWOL with this blog and my Facebook page.
At the end of this very excellent article about how relatives, neighbours, teachers and friends can assist and support parents as they battle to get their child through an eating disorder, Jennifer Denise Ouellette (a member of the Parent Advisory Committee at the renowned UCSD Eating Disorders Center) says: "...this is not a case of just waiting for everything to return to 'normal.' Our lives will never be the same again and it helps us to embrace that. In the best cases our children will fully recover and we, and our families, will still be fundamentally changed by the terrifying experience of seeing our child slip away and having to pull him/her back to us inch-by-excruciating inch." Too true, but all too often ignored by relatives, neighbours, friends, etc.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
Following some feedback from other parents, it appears that I'm not alone in struggling with post-trauma problems. The Good News is that our sons and daughters have recovered or are almost recovered from their eating disorder / anorexia / bulimia. The Bad News is that once we, as parents, sit back, relax a little and begin to think about moving on with our lives... zap! pow! our own minds begin to scream out "Aaarrrggghhh!" Which, when you think about it, isn't in the least bit surprising.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
It's over a year since I last agreed to be interviewed about our experience with our teenage son, Ben, as he developed and recovered from anorexia. As it's Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I agreed to be interviewed for our local radio station last night - an 11th hour arrangement which left me zero time to prepare. But it wasn't just that I had no time to prepare; when I opened my mouth to speak to the interviewer... nothing came out!
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Yesterday I had a bit of a clear out and came across a box full of blank notebooks, so I took out one of them to use for notes, only to discover it wasn't completely blank. Inside was the original of the letter which features in Chapter 7 - Consumed - of my book Please eat... A mother’s struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia. I remember it so clearly... Sitting in my car, waiting for Ben to come out of school, frantically writing a letter to him because, by this stage, he wasn't speaking to us. Or at least he wasn't speaking about anything to do with his rapidly developing anorexia. The only way I could get through to him, I felt, was through a letter. I was in despair. So this, in its entirety, is what I wrote (edited considerably for my book)... The love that went into this letter... phew!!
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Today was my third EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) session in an attempt to fix the annoying PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which crept into my head just over a year ago - a delayed reaction to the trauma of getting my teenage son through anorexia. EMDR is supposed to be really effective against PTSD and - on the face of it - it's really weird, but it seems to be working. So what, in my extremely laywoman's terms, is EMDR and how is it supposed to work?