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annabanana

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi everyone, I was reading through some of the posts on anxiety and wanted to see if any of you can relate to what we are experiencing.

My twin girls are now in 1 yr recovery, and while they were anxious as kids (thanks to my husband who is anxious about EVERYTHING--didn't know that would rub off on my kids this way) and had night terrors, I didn't think much of it at the time. My 2nd twin is doing well, still waiting for her body to stop looking like she's 6 month pregnant (that's another issue), but my first twin's anxiety is getting worse, even after she was deemed 'well' by the hospital.

I separated the twins for a week in the summer but while it was good for T2, it was horrible for T1, as she is more anxious than ever before. She's so paranoid and anxious all the time that she's not gaining weight properly. She's crying pretty much every day and not sleeping. She eats the same amount as my T2 but is not gaining any weight. She's crying and begging every single meal for me to make sure she's not eating more than her twin sister and that she doesn't want to be the fat twin. (It didn't help that I had 2 doctors that told her that she looks healthy, and that she should now 'take care of herself' even after I told them that she has ED.)

I have written about our situation before but I just wanted to address anxiety for this post. People have said that it should get better as her body heals but I know it's worse now. I feel as though she has other issues (resulting in ED). She's not willing to try drugs anymore because of the side effects of weight gain.

Is there anyone who has seen a similar pattern? If she suffers only from ED then I expected her anxiety to be high in the beginning and eventually taper off as time goes, from what I've read before. How long after WR did it seem to get better? If she's comorbid, will her anxiety not get better until she's able to get either medication and/or therapy? I am in general against mediation but I see her case as an exception.

I'd greatly appreciate your comments!


mjkz

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Reply with quote  #2 
It sounds like you are willing to try meds and recognize it may be the needed step.

The other thing and I know this is hard but what you allow will continue.  My daughter would be anxious and stuck (for lack of a better term) on things just endlessly having meltdowns and wanting to discuss them over and over again.  I finally had to set some pretty firm boundaries on what I would talk about with her. 

Quote:
She's crying and begging every single meal for me to make sure she's not eating more than her twin sister and that she doesn't want to be the fat twin.


I wouldn't allow the crying and begging to be honest.  I'd ask her to go to another room to collect herself and then come back when she can interact in an appropriate manner.  I know I've talked about other things we've tried but I do think part of it is setting boundaries around how much you can take.  She may get desperate enough to try meds but if she won't try meds, you don't very many options other than behavioral controls like not being willing to listen to the begging and crying, giving her time outs to get herself under control, etc.  My daughter has insomnia and melatonin was a great over the counter med that helped and has no real side effects.
momofalexa

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Reply with quote  #3 
Unfortunately with comorbids, unlike anxiety and depression stemming from starvation, they tend to worsen with recovery and weight restoration. This is particularly the case if the eating disorder came about as a way of subconsciously managing that comorbid and mitigating its impact on our kids' lives. The eating disorder has a numbing effect, its like taking a pill. If (to put it into a physical context) you have a chronic pain condition and stop taking the pill that helps you manage your pain, it comes back. Same thing here.

Long story short-
1. no youre not crazy, its actually a thing
2. it sounds like anti anxiety meds might be the way to go, poor kid sounds like shes really struggling
3. struggling or not, i agree that firm but fair boundaries need to be set
annabanana

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you, I just don't know what else to do with her crying. MJKZ, melatonin actually did not work for us except to make her drowsy, believe it or not. She'll eventually dose off, but not for long, and not good sleep either. She always sleeps better when she's with me, which interrupts my own.

She is a nervous wreck so she needs my reassurance, she says, to keep pushing but we'd talk for hours if I let her, about what she ate, what she thinks her sister ate, etc. Then the cycle starts again. I do know talking to me helps her to calm down--meaning her crying is more low key instead of the panic attacks that she gets when I walk away to end the conversation. Quite frankly I am ready to go crazy with this day-long roundabout conversation.

This is the reason why I have concluded that medication is the next step for us but our family doctor was not willing to prescribe because she told her she didn't want it. We are stuck here until my daughter is willing to take it. Momofalexa, I agree with you--what to do about it is our current dilemma, and we are still without professional help after a year.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #5 
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Thank you, I just don't know what else to do with her crying. MJKZ, melatonin actually did not work for us except to make her drowsy, believe it or not. She'll eventually dose off, but not for long, and not good sleep either. She always sleeps better when she's with me, which interrupts my own.


Sorry!!  The melatonin is for sleep, not anxiety.  My daughter takes 3 mg a night and it has been wonderful at helping her sleep.

What do you do about her crying?  Give her a time out.  Put her in her room by herself until she can calm herself down and rejoin you.  I would tell my daughter I could see how hard it was for her and then ask her to take a time out until she could calm down.

Quote:
She is a nervous wreck so she needs my reassurance, she says, to keep pushing but we'd talk for hours if I let her, about what she ate, what she thinks her sister ate, etc. Then the cycle starts again. I do know talking to me helps her to calm down--meaning her crying is more low key instead of the panic attacks that she gets when I walk away to end the conversation. Quite frankly I am ready to go crazy with this day-long roundabout conversation.


The conversations you are having will just feed into the anxiety.  You will never get anywhere talking about food and weight, what her twin ate, etc.  In fact, it just feeds the cycle of anxiety.  You give her a time out to get herself under control and end any conversations about food, what she ate, what her twin ate.  Instead focus on other things.  What do you think will help?  Are you ready to try medication?  Etc.  Panic attacks will not kill her nor will anxiety.  She may have to ride out a few panic attacks until she gets the message that she has to do something to control her out of control anxiety and also that she needs help with it.  It is a hard thing to do but you are going to stay stuck where you are right now if you continue with the conversations.

Is she back in school yet?  It might be worth looking into having her attend school for a few hours.  It will force her to focus on something other than food and what her twin is eating, how anxious she is, etc.  Distraction is the key as is letting her know that the out of control anxiety and crying needs to be reigned in.
Playball40

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Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter's anxiety has really not improved since she was diagnosed.  I realize she was always anxious but it has gotten worse as she's gotten older - I just don't know if it's the ED or her age (middle school, blech) or what anymore.  However, she does take Prozac and I do believe that helps.  I realize now looking back that her anxiety is much less centered around food and the urges not to eat are in response to some exterior/outside stressor as opposed to eating.   Definitely give medication a try.  It really did help in the early days with eating.
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Caroline
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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi annabanana,

My D's anxiety was the worst as she got within 5-10 lbs of what ended up being WR for her.  It got to the point of a crisis.  Her self harm increased and she was obviously suffering greatly.  That's when we asked for her to be evaluated for anxiety medication.  Shortly after that she started taking Prozac which helped.  We'll never know exactly how much Prozac helped vs. WR and time, but I believe it was the combination. 

*  I have to ask the question that is always asked on this forum . . . is it possible your T1 has not fully reached WR?  Is she still in the high anxiety phase of being close to WR?

*  My D was not keen on the idea of taking meds at first.  She was concerned about addiction, about it changing her, drugs are bad, etc.  I talked with her a lot, her psychologist talked with her, we asked questions of her ED doctor, etc.  When it was finally time to take the first pill it took me 2 hours to convince her to take it.  It was much smoother after that.

*  I don't understand a doctor who won't prescribe a needed medication because the minor prefers not to take it.  

*  I remember having long, circular conversations with my D during which I thought I was helping allay her anxiety only to get to the point where I was exhausted and emotionally depleted and her anxiety was back in full force.  One thing I learned is that what has the best chance of reducing ED anxiety is not to discuss all the details of the food, weight, the body image, etc that ED wants to discuss, but to assure your D that you are in charge - that you know the right thing to do for her - and that you are going to do it.  (I think I learned this from Eva Musby's materials . . .)  It is SO much easier said than done, but it helped me to have that mindset.  Sometimes when my D would start one of those circular conversations I would not answer her questions but would tell her that she is going to recover, that it is going to get better, that I will not leave her in this state (i.e. just let her stay sick and do nothing), that we have hired/consulted/read what the best minds have to say about recovery from ED and that is the plan we are following.  I knew it worked when it short-circuited the ED conversation and she let me hug her.  Disclaimer - it didn't always work, but it was so worth it when it did.

Thinking of you . . .

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DD diagnosed with anorexia at 14; FBT at home with the help of psychologist and medical dr; 3+ years later and doing well (knock on wood)
annabanana

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you for sharing, Palyball40 & EDAction. It seems as though everyone else, including the staff at the ED hospital is in agreement that her weight is restored. In fact, our family doctor told her to start working out more regularly, so I had to change our doctor. I am staying cautious and watching her intake but her weight does seem to be stable for the several months even though she’s crying about her ‘huge’ thighs.

The biggest issue is her endless comparison to her twin. This is what’s causing all of her anxiety. She wants me to guarantee that she won’t be the fat twin again. After my assurance of her being the size that her body needs her to be, everything is good until the next meal. Today it was me asking her if anything from her candied apple (with chocolate) dropped to the napkin she had under it, and when she said she ate a piece that fell (whether it’s true or not, I don’t know since I was driving) I said “oh, good!” That indicated to her that I let her twin sister not eat whatever that had dropped on her napkin, because I sounded surprised. So she had a melt down—but it’s build up from the previous meal, not the candied apple incident necessarily.

The rest of the family is so very tired. For now we are trying natural supplements like the ionic magnesium citrate powder to see if that helps a little bit. I wish it was as easy as sending her to her room when she’s having one of her episodes.

LIke Playball40, it’s not the eating that she’s having issues with. I believe I read one another post about anxiety increasing toward the end of recovery, but my gut feeling is that most likely her weight is restored and that she has a bigger issue to deal with than eating at this moment.....
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
The rest of the family is so very tired. For now we are trying natural supplements like the ionic magnesium citrate powder to see if that helps a little bit. I wish it was as easy as sending her to her room when she’s having one of her episodes.


It is that easy.  It can seem more difficult but it really can be that easy.  It sounds like she is overwhelmed and needs to calm down.  Her way of calming herself down is to badger you into reassuring her that she is not the fat twin again.  Once you do that, you are stuck in that endless cycle that there really is no way out of.

She needs to find different ways to soothe her anxiety that don't involve you reassuring her and tiring you and the rest of the family out.  If she won't take meds (and quite frankly I wouldn't be giving her other options if this continues), then behavioral is all you got left to use.  If she is truly weight restored, then more weight probably won't help.  The point of putting her by herself is to reduce the amount of stimulus she has to deal with and also to force her into trying different ways to soothe her own anxiety.

Think of it as a 3 year old throwing a tantrum.  You try to soothe her and it only makes it worse.  So what do you do then?  You change the scene by leaving and stop rewarding the anxiety driven behavior.  Once the kid sees you are paying attention to something else and doesn't get whatever reward he/she is seeking, the tantrum stops.  Same concept only your kid is much older.
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #10 
Annabanana if she is weight restored then as you say dealing with her anxiety is the main issue, however every time she is reassured about her size, her meals etc.. it gives extra strength to her anxiety, it makes those fears more real rather than less. Other than medication and CBT which are good tools for anxiety, if she refuses to work with that then it is left to you to carry the load. 

Have you read this book: http://tamarchansky.com/books/freeing-your-child-from-anxiety?

Many parents have used this, as quite a few of us have had anxious children well prior to ED. It teaches lots of skills for parents to help their child. 

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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
momupnorth

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Reply with quote  #11 
I must say, meds certainly helped my d especially in the first while of her ed.  made her more amenable to treatment and eating in general.  My d's anxiety definitely predated the ed diagnosis...I actually believe it is still the driving factor in all her issues though it seems to have exploded out of her control.  I also had issues with sending d to her room to calm down as, for one, she is a very strong willed young lady and often would not go and for 2, she could not be trusted to just calm down and not exercise  or escalate further when sent off on her own.  It sounds like your d can be as stubborn as mine and will not give up until she gets the answer she wants.  I have often had to just stop the conversation and absolutely refuse to discuss certain things anymore...this, she eventually can to accept.
mom up north

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annabanana

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thank you all for your input—I do realize our talks are not helpful overall, and I’ve given her 10 min limit in our talk times and she really tries to abide by it. I can see she’s suffering and we’ve tried many different coping mechanisms which didn’t really work for her. I suppose our talks are the best coping mechanism for her right now but because of my inability to do this for every meal, we need to find something else.

I’m sure that her anxiety is directly related to the fact that she cannot see her twins’ intake any more. If her anxiety is going to be the worst at the last stage of her recovery, like EDAction, should I relieve her of that by making food equal for both of them (and that will calm her down) and wait for her brains to heal so she can think more clearly during the meal times OR should I continue to push her by continuing to separate them during eating time?

When we go out to eat, which we’ve never stopped doing (mostly fast foods and casual food court type setting), I am pushing them to order different things, foods that they like. This is part of the reason for the increase of her anxiety as well.

When will she able to see that her anxiety over her being fatter than her sister is unfounded? She is having suicidal thoughts as well, which is scaring her, because it’s been a very long time since she had those thoughts and they are more prevalent now. Most posts I’ve read are opposite so I was feeling as though I was going in the wrong direction the past month or so, but perhaps this is the route her ED is taking her. I just don’t want her to suffer so much unnecessarily.
HateEDwithApassion

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi,
Just heard an excellent speaker on this last week. Your daughter will not likely respond to anything you say if she is still in her delusion that she is going to be fatter. The doctor explained that while in the illness, they are delusional and you can't convince them that their reality is not true with rationality. He likened it to telling a schizophrenic that they should stop seeing or hearing delusions. They can't.  It may be a while before she's able to believe you even though what she is worried about is truly unfounded.

A therapist this week said something interesting to my daughter. She said - it's ok to feel helpless/anxious, etc. It's actually a normal part of your recovery to feel those things. You can feel those things AND still do the next right thing, in spite of what you feel.

Don't know if saying that would help. I don't think backing down from what you are doing right now will help with the anxiety, to be honest. I think it's something she has to learn, for the moment, to sit with and still eat.  [frown]


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19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
I’m sure that her anxiety is directly related to the fact that she cannot see her twins’ intake any more. If her anxiety is going to be the worst at the last stage of her recovery, like EDAction, should I relieve her of that by making food equal for both of them (and that will calm her down) and wait for her brains to heal so she can think more clearly during the meal times OR should I continue to push her by continuing to separate them during eating time?



I would rephrase this. Her anxiety is directed towards not being able to see her twin's intake. There is no rational or logical reason why seeing her twin's intake is important, it has nothing to do with her. Realistically she needs to be aware that she has not control over her twin's food whatsoever. So yes continue to separate them, and for what it is worth I would not offer any time towards these discussions. 10 minutes is an incredibly long time. She does need to learn to sit with this anxiety. Not have you in any way allay it. 

Warn her beforehand then  the next time she complains," I am sorry it is not helpful for us to discuss this any more" the  first time, then every other time " I can see you are feeling anxious" Keep going like a broken record. Name the feeling. Her anxiety is not rational and by in any way considering going back to feeding both girls the same I would suggest that you are giving it credence rather than helping to stop it. 

Yes, your D is suffering, but I would argue that by allowing her to go over and over about this problem is not helping her at all. As parents we hate to see our children suffer, but one of the important things that we have to learn as parents of kids with ED is their own distress tolerance. She also has to learn to tolerate this distress. 

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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #15 
I agree with FoodSupport and HateED that going back to letting her see what her twin is eating isn't going to help.  You would be taking a huge step backwards and while it may seem to appease her anxiety, she is going to have to learn how to deal with whatever goes through her mind when she thinks she is becoming "the fat twin again". 

I think limiting the conversation to 10 minutes is just taking a step backwards too.  Just don't have the conversation.  One of the things that I did (and it seems so obvious that I don't know why I never did it before) was ask my daughter what she thought would help!!  I would tell her that having the endless conversations is not an option nor is seeing what her twin is eating.  Then ask her what she thinks would help.  My daughter came up with ideas that I would never have thought of and instead of simply asking her what she thought would help, I tried all my ideas and got really frustrated when they didn't work.[frown]

I don't think you are causing her to suffer unnecessarily.  I can see how having the endless begging not to be made the fat twin again could cause the other twin to suffer though!!  Nothing is going to work well the first time.  Coping skills become helpful the more they are utilized so sit down with your daughter and make a list of ten things she can try with #11 being go back and try #1 again. The more she practices, the better the skills will work but you will have to see her suffer with anxiety.  The more you try to appease it, the worse it will get so get her input and make her start thinking about things that could help.  Obviously none of them can be self destructive but for instance my daughter would start wearing her ipod and listen to music she liked after eating to drown out the thoughts.  That doesn't really work for me so I wouldn't have ever suggested it but it worked for her.
HateEDwithApassion

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Reply with quote  #16 
I daresay, in seeing a DBT therapist myself for coaching, she pointed something out to me... I too have to learn to live with my own anxiety and distress when I see my child in distress. Wow - that was an eye opener to me. I am lecturing my child about using her skills and using mindfulness etc. and yet - I wasn't doing it myself. I was reacting, trying to relieve my own stress at seeing her upset. 

All that to say that, you, too, have to sit with the anxiety of seeing your child so miserable and it's not easy, but necessary. I stink at that myself, but at least I am beginning to recognize it and not activate immediately to relieve my D's anxiety.  

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19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
renee

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hi Anna banana,

I wanted to touch base with you because I have identical twin AN girls who are deeply enmeshed and have anxiety and depression. We are 4 months in and currently they willingly eat only 4 food items in much too small quantities. They are super resistors who shut down with any parental attempt to control food or eating. Currently one is inpatient for suicidal depression and one is in a php for depression. The ED clinic sent them off to work on the depression and enmeshment in separate hospitals before they could work further on ED. You are much farther down this road but I wanted to connect with you and see if there is anyone else with the twin enmeshment factor going on.

Blessings to all on this merciful space!
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Reply with quote  #18 
Renee welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. 

If you haven't already, I would encourage you to read widely about the site, especially in the http://www.feast-ed.org/default.asp?page=LearningCenter

Hopefully the centers that your girls have been moved to are working on their nutrition as well as keeping them safe from their depression and anxiety. They can't truly be worked on separately. 

We have had a few parents of twins on the forum, though none I can think of at the moment. Historically some have been able to be treated together, but many have required separate treatments. 

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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
martican

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Reply with quote  #19 
Hi Annabanana. I was just thinking of you as I haven't heard from you lately. I am sorry the anxiety is still ramping with your twin, and you haven't moved much forward with it.
You say that your twin feels talking with you is the most helpful thing for her. But, when you look at it in the the long run, she is stuck in the same place as she was few months ago. Probably what she means is that those circular conversations make her feel safe, not helped, and she is not gaining any tools to overcome it and start coping. So, something has to change, in my opinion. I sense that (and I am guilty of it too when I catch myself) your D's anxiety affect your thinking, too therefore you tend to analyze what your answers will do to her, how perceived they will be and so on. I believe our kids sense when we feel or don't feel confident about our decisions, so when I noticed I am scared that something will upset my D, that is my own anxiety getting in the way. If she can't stop to ruminate over her issues even with your refusal do go in circles, I would find a way to get her on meds. Can you  find a doctor who can explain to her the benefits of the medicine? My D also tried to get off the meds but the team was persistent and I still have to check her mouth when she takes them. Did you manage to find some therapist? I remember you struggled to put a team together due to the wait time and lack of resources in TO. 
martican

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Reply with quote  #20 
I would probably go to the psychiatrist as those are more likely to prescribe something, and hopefully with some explanation why it is important. Also, she needs to learn strategies through behavioural therapist, my D would not listen to me.
annabanana

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Reply with quote  #21 
Hi Renee, I am very sad to hear about your situation. Please feel free to write to me via personal email if I don’t answer your question too clearly. Thanks Martican for thinking of us.

My twins are not identical, and even with ED, I can see the things that set them off were very different things. One struggles with a lot of anxiety and the other, depression, much like yours although they take turns at times. We were really blessed to catch them early so their weight was restored within a few months. But the mind deterioration continued and is still continuing for us, to a much lesser degree.

As far as ‘twin enmeshment’ goes, yes, I see a little bit of that with my girls, although probably not to the extent of typical identical twins. They were each other’s best friend all their lives, and when ED came, they became enemies. Because they struggled with different issues (approaching ED with different perspectives), it was easier to see what needed to be done. It was just that getting that done was nearly impossible with the constant need for control of the other twin’s food intake and activities. They were obsessed with each other, one probably more so than the other. Separation was impossible at the time also because no one in the family was able to help for one reason or another, and they were not deemed urgent enough at nearby hospitals and clinics. I had pulled one out of school earlier and she made progress rapidly just until the 2nd twin was no longer able to handle the stress of school on her own (partly without her twin there) and came to stay home as well. Then the mental downhill began.

I started random plate method to keep them fed (so they can overshoot their recovery weight as they were still growing at the time) but after about 3 months, I knew it was time to challenge them. We tried this and that for several months but the anxiety would be so bad, especially for my older one, that we would have to go back to what we were doing. During this time I had no support at home or with a medical team. In fact, we would not get any medical ‘help’ until end of 2017, after one year of waiting. Toward the tail end of this time was when I started this thread. The anxiety was causing so many panic attacks with my older one and she was actually losing weight in spite of eating well and not exercising. That was scary.

Then came a blessing in disguise: a month-long forced separation for my older twin. I was her security blanket until then and she had to stay home with my husband who was not on board with ED recovery while her twin was traveling with me. Without me there, and with a dad who was clueless, she turned to her faith in God, and little by little, she began to fight for herself. I was skeptical, even as I was skyping with her daily, but when we returned, I noticed a huge change in the way she processed her thoughts. So I separated them again for a couple of weeks in Feb. After initial downhill, she started to make progress once again.

There was still so much anxiety, but she was able to digest them, instead of them blowing into a huge panic attacks that left her feeling as though she was physically going to die. The biggest truth we relied upon was that she was uniquely created, different from her twin (so unmeshing if you will) and that God was continuing to plan her life in love. Something so simple but so difficult for her to remember at those moments of darkness. My 2nd twin, strangely enough started to go downhill once my older twin started to fight ED on her own. Before she was sort of neutral, even in her suffering. As if she was relying on her twin to stay sick with her....

I would not have talked about faith here except that’s how my older twin is overcoming her ED—we started therapy at the end of last year but quit soon after that because the therapists were doing exactly what I was doing at home with the girls. Having the girls talk about their feelings one session after another. I know many on this site, in their wisdom have discouraged me with useless talking but later I realized there was a different type of talking I could do (not about food or appearance), about living the life they are meant to live and to remind them that we can do this together with God’s help. This was a game-changer for us along with the separation. And in spite of her faith, my younger twin does not have the same motivation to fight—so I see faith as a wonderful tool, very much like other tools available for us to use. I am grateful for it.

I wanted to answer Renee’s question as well as update this thread. I know we are definitely not out of it yet, as fear is very strong still. But as someone defined courage once, that it is not absence of fear but rather moving on in spite of it. And that is what we are doing right now, one step at a time. I hesitated to write an update before because I was getting so frustrated that many good ideas shared in various threads that seemed to work for other people just didn’t work or apply to our situation and I was getting discouraged by the lack of understanding from the people around us, including the ED team at the hospital and private therapists/doctors.

Sorry this is rather long, but I know from experience the more details you get from the posts, the more helpful it can be. And I tried to be as detailed as I can tonight while still summarizing our experience up to this point. I’m deeply saddened for you Renee, knowing how heart-breaking this must be, but as you probably see already, this forum has so many wonderful people always willing to share and encourage. Take heart, and please do email me personally if there’s anything I can help you with!








needhelp

Caregiver
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Posts: 93
Reply with quote  #22 
Hi Anna Banana- First, you are one tough Mama - fighting two horrible battles at once. It sounds as though you have a sweet demeanor, listening to your child's circular conversations.  While I am pretty new to the ED world, I can share with you some strategies that are helpful with anxious, circular communication.

1. sometimes kids (and young adults) will use those types of conversations because they WANT to converse - but they either (a) don't really know what to talk about (b) truly don't have anything new to talk (c) enjoy the ritual of talking about the same items repetitively 
-- idea -- if you could do something with your daughter (anything: errand, watch a movie, read a magazine article, play a game, etc.) - she will have something to discuss that was a joint activity (so you could give input and have a true back and forth conversation, as opposed to her just hearing herself talk and maintaining her turn as the talker)
2. if the idea of stopping those circular conversations cold turkey causes you anxiety - why not break it down with new conversation rules? For example, "I am not going to talk about that - that is your sister's business." Perhaps after a few days that rule will sink in, as you allow her to pick a new topic (could be one of her usuals the first night). 
3. add a new rule -" I like when we talk at night - but I also want a chance to talk" - this could be done a variety of ways- you could have a physical item to hold (maybe even something you both - or at least she- thinks is funny, meaningful, sensory appealing, etc.) - the point is - whoever is holding it is the talker (keep yours short and open ended with the objective of steering her toward conversing about a topic you both shared - or anything away from her usual - example- "I thought that commercial with the penguin was so funny today..." 

Hopefully one of these might serve to help you eliminate the circular conversations (also important for her to be able to appropriately converse with other - great to practice with Mom!![smile])

Wishing you peace,
needhelp
debra18

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 81
Reply with quote  #23 
When I started refeeding and my daughter was very anxious, I got her hamsters. I remembered that she loves animals. It helped her trust me also. She realized that I was trying to help her and understood that it was hard for her. Try to think out of the box about things that could help. I was thinking about a weighted blanket but never got it.
annabanana

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #24 
Thank you, needhelp and debra, for your input. We are actually in a place where we’ve incorporated both of your suggestions and they have helped.

Firstly, I slowly managed to get out of these circular conversations by redirecting it, like you said, needhelp. I realized that my girls needed to have a conversation but the topic was not very helpful at least in the long run. So me being a slow learner, began to see that I needed to break the cycle by talking about the things that really mattered. So for example, if one of my girls wanted to talk about her fear of eating more than her sister, I would re-direct her thought by talking about how talking about those things keep us in the ‘pit’ and that we need to be reminded that we have a purpose greater than simply worrying about the food. Her being unique was a good place to start, and how foolish it is to try to compare apples to oranges!

Of course it got tiresome but I know it was helpful even in their confusion. During these times, they felt heard and supported so I didn’t want to stop completely—it had been a year since we started the recovery journey and we were still waiting to be seen by the hospital when I had started this thread.

Second, like you debra18, we got a ‘therapy’ cat for one of my girls which turned out to be a crazily cute and funny kitty and we got endless laughter from her—we still do.

All of these things already happened but I wanted to respond so that anyone reading this later on will know that your ideas are indeed excellent! Thank you for writing!!
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