Monday, 29 August 2011

Fighting the exercise compulsions

In the run up to the new school term we are fighting the exercise compulsions because that's the main thing that, according to Ben, keeps him awake at night on school days. Why? Because all night long he's trying to work out how he can fit enough exercise into his day while 'sitting around at school doing nothing' (as he puts it). Not only is that incredibly stress-inducing but he is well aware that it isn't 'normal', that it belongs to the eating disorder and that it has to go from his life.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The eating disorder goes back 5 years at least...

The pressure of school on the horizon prompted Ben to explain in detail why school = pressure because it reduces the opportunity to exercise. And reduced opportunity to exercise still = the need to consume less calories in order not to 'balloon out'. So he decided to fill me in on the history of why he had an eating disorder LONG before anyone realised it...

Odd experience - Ben strides through the 'Fat Camp'

Every summer a teenagers' residential Weight Loss Camp hires the school premises - and yesterday, en route to a meeting with his tutor to talk about his AS exam re-sits etc, and before I could stop him, Ben ended up striding right through the middle of it. It was a strange and unsettling experience. Here was a teenager who was desperately trying to put on weight heading right through a crowd of teenagers who were desperately trying to lose it.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Exam results season made me think...

Even though Ben wasn't at his best for his AS Level exams in June (insomnia), he managed to sit them with his peers without any problem at all. The previous year (GCSEs) it was a different story (although, thankfully, no insomnia which didn't kick in until the following term). Also, with the start of sixth form a year ago, he made the decision to go back to school full time. It wasn't a success. Ben pushed himself too hard and quickly reached 'burn out' stage. By half term we'd decided to take him out of school again and for him to go in as and when he felt he could.

Monday, 22 August 2011

School is just 2 weeks away... But which school?

So we're faced with this decision: would it be easier, less stressful and more enjoyable for Ben if he went back a year at school and re-did his Lower Sixth year? Why? Because last year he missed so much school (at least 60%) that it messed up his AS Level exams (we got the results last week). So it means having to so several re-sits alongside the pressure of studying for the A Levels themselves AND applying for university, etc.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

And now for the Good News...

... which is the sheer number of food 'challenges' Ben did while on our mini-break in Somerset and Devon. Included in the blitz on 'fear foods' was: a Mars Bar, 2 packets of high calorie / fat crisps, a Solero lolly, M&S 'ultimate' sandwich and a meal from Pizza Express. Plus, apart from the blip in Bath, everything was very relaxed - a complete contrast to last time I stayed in that apartment overlooking the sea.

ED surfaces in Bath and lunch is a washout...

"There's nothing I want on the menu", said Ben in the old familiar way... But there was no way I was getting up and leaving. The menu was fine... stuff Ben normally eats at home... and the Georgian veggie restaurant in Bath came highly recommended.

Ups and downs in the South West

Ben and I have just come back from 5 days in the South West. Much of the time everything was fine with Ben overcoming scores of challenges. ED, the Anorexia 'Demon', reared its ugly head a couple of times: once in Tescos when choosing a 'meal deal' for lunch and once, more seriously, in Bath which I will talk about later on when I've finished unpacking and all the other stuff I need to do! But at the end of the day, we (hopefully) kicked ED into touch.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

My comments on the previous entry's comments...

Thanks for your comments on my last entry, Katie, you always explain things so well. Your experience is one of the reasons why I know it is essential to keep going until Ben is fully weight restored and never to settle for partial recovery as a second-best.

Friday, 12 August 2011

I do wish they wouldn't do that...

I do wish our treatment team wouldn't tell Ben that it's OK to aim for a sub-optimum final weight because this makes it really difficult if not impossible for me to guide him towards a proper weight normalisation. They should watch this video produced for Janet Treasure which focuses on why it's so important to get properly weight restored and not settle for partial weight restoration in order to attain full brain healing, have the chance of a life free of anorexic thinking and minimise the risk of relapse.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Yesterday's blog explained...

If I appeared a bit aggressive or defensive yesterday, it was to address two comments I received this weekend about (1) my motives for writing this blog, and (2) my motives for working with Ben towards FULL recovery (i.e. not 'almost full' recovery).Yesterday I covered (1) and will cover (2) very soon. But first we're off out to the countryside to take advantage of the only sunny day this week. Watch this space...

Monday, 8 August 2011

OK, so what is the purpose of this blog?

Some of my contacts have written books on the subject; others write blogs or get into the media. But the ONLY reason that any of us 'goes public' about our experiences as parents of teenagers with eating disorders is to do our small bit to help others facing a similar situation. We are neither seeking to exploit our children's eating disorders  nor trying to draw attention to ourselves. We are just acutely aware of how precious little information and help there was for us when we started our own nightmarish journeys into the world of anorexia. Even if we help just one desperate parent to find hope then we've done our job.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Seaside, here I come - this time with Ben in tow...

A couple of years ago I discovered a great little 'bolt hole' overlooking a wide bay at the seaside. The sunny, south facing living room looks straight out over the sea, the 2 bedrooms overlook the sea, everything overlooks the sea - and at night you can lie in bed, staring out across the high tide with the pretty lights reflected in the water.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Whizzing around Waitrose at a rate of knots!

Time was (in the 'high anorexia' days) when a visit to Waitrose would take AGES. It would take anorexic Ben ages and ages and ages to choose things, picking stuff up and putting it down, getting it as far as the trolley and even as far as the checkout only to back-track and put stuff back on the shelf and start again... And, of course, the first thing he'd look for would be the dreaded fat content and calories. Today, however, we zoomed around.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I've completely updated my website

It's 18 months or so since I first launched my website: So I decided it could do with a bit of updating. Uninspired by the layout, I also decided to completely change the look. Result? I've spent the last couple of days re-vamping everything on the website. It's not complete and is a bit of a 'work in progress', but I think you'll get the general idea. Let me know what you think or what you would change. Also, let me know if you'd like me to add any useful links to the links page.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

It's OK to listen to chilled summer music again!

Last summer I found it impossible to listen to the usual chilled summer music on my CD player. For one thing I most definitely wasn't chilled and, another, suddenly I found that lyrics had a whole new meaning for me especially if they were about "missing" someone or whatever. Because I missed the real, non-ED Ben like crazy and - at the time - I had no idea if we would be getting him back...

But this summer the CD player is back on again and I'm able to enjoy all those songs I couldn't listen to last year.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

It's (not) funny how certain situations can cause flashbacks...

Ben's been cooking some scrumptuous evening meals for us recently. That is, until tonight's meal which turned out dry and 'average'. So he took our plates back into the kitchen to make a few adjustments, leaving me at the dinner table for 5 minutes. Suddenly I was hit by a painful and dramatic flashback to how it would have been 12 months ago...

Rock-hard abs, yet without working out 24/7/365 to achieve it

One of the environmental factors that exacerbated our son's anorexia was the desire for a 'six pack' and the kind of rock-hard muscular body that would normally require working out 24/7/365. Although Ben enjoyed some exercise and was very sporty, he insists he was essentially lazy. So he found a 'clever' way of achieving his goal: by restricting his food intake.