Friday, May 30, 2008

Regrets

N and I met with his therapist last night. It took almost the whole time for us to really get at the root of N's current issues. And then our time was up.

We talked about handing over some control of food choices back to N. We're going to let him make lunch choices. I'll weigh him extra and watch him carefully. I'll go fully back to the "magic plate" approach if he isn't making good choices. We also talked about continued work on the OCD things. N says that he is doing better but the OCD is still there. We also talked about N's increasing tendency to exercise as much as he can. Dr. R's recommendations were that N only exercise if he really enjoys what he is doing -- and the second it become a chore or that he is only doing it because he has to, then he stops.

There were eventually tears, though, when Dr. R. defined "recovery from anorexia" as really liking yourself no matter what you look like. I turned to N and asked, "how do you feel about yourself?" His response was, "Well, I don't hate myself like I used to." As we talked for the remaining five minutes, it was clear that N still doesn't like himself. The strategy that we're using is to focus on the positive and say, "whatever" to the negative. We talked more about this on the drive home. He cried but tried so hard to not let me see the tears, which made me even more sad for him. I heard N compare himself over and over to all those kids in his Accelerated class. They are smart, funny, athletic, driven and talented kids who also stand out as leaders. All he sees is where he falls short compared to these other kids.

I've really waffled about giving up the accelerated options that N has for junior high. It's so hard for me to let go of those opportunities, for which he is fully qualified. But the real issue is what is best for N. Perhaps, it is for the best that he be surrounded by more "normal" kids in "normal" classes where he can feel talented to some degree and not just compare himself to the "best." Certainly, the courses will be easier.

T is convinced that "we did this to him" and caused the anorexia by putting N into a situation where his self-esteem was hit which caused anxiety, depression and ultimately caused him to feel fat and diet. It's the first time that I've really seen that maybe my husband doesn't fully buy into the genetic/biological/metabolic causes of anorexia. Is that just because he feels guilty? Should I feel guilty? All I know is that we prayed to know whether or not N should go into the ALL program. We had mixed feelings, but I didn't feel bad about it. But it doesn't matter, does it? I can't change the past. Hopefully, we'll be able to make good decisions for N's future, knowing what we know now.

2 comments:

Laura Collins said...

You are thoughtful, deliberative, loving parents doing what is considered good parenting.

When a kid has an invisible loose seam, we can't blame ourselves for not knowing that when we do what all parents do: help our kids be successful and have high expectations.

The danger in your husband's thinking "we did this" is (beyond that fact that I don't think it is true) that your children will pick up on that. They may start to blame their parents, or other things, to say "that's why I..."

And lose a sense of personal effectiveness when working toward improvement.

Choosing a lower stress, more enjoyable lifestyle has its dangers, too, if taken too far. You are good parents, and you'll find the right balance!

Wendy said...

Thanks Laura!