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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
A brief update and a question. Our daughter continues to do well. She is now 2.6 kg above her previous healthy weight and maintaining it even with the reintroduction of some gradual exercise. Her period returned yesterday (yay!!). She is finally happy again and is being discharged from her day outpatient program on Monday with a plan to return to school on a part time basis later next week. She has agreed to a weekly weigh in at home, weekly psych support and ongoing meetings with her dietician, and fully understands the consequences if things go backwards - so here's hoping. I couldn't be prouder of my girl.

D is starting to think about what to say to her class mates about where she has been. She was meant to be on an extended term at the school's country campus (something all 9th graders do for a term at her school). She wasn't well enough to go so we did a full time ED out patient program instead. Does anyone have any advice for what D could say to other students about where she has been and why she's not away at the country campus? She is nervous about sharing too much so I am coaching her to think about some options and try role playing them with me. I am coaching her that there is nothing to ba ashamed of and that ED is just another illness but I also know kids can be cruel. Also does anyone know of a guide for teachers that could help make her transition back to study as smooth as possible.

Thanks so much for all your support. There were times over the past few months when I never thought we'd reach this point. I know I must stay vigilant but I do feel like we can breathe just a little bit more lightly.

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Posts: 3,591
Reply with quote  #2 
That is fantastic that your daughter has managed to gain weight and maintain. Period back is also a good start, though if just back she may still need a bit more buffer. 

It is common and normal for our children to worry about returning to school. I remember my D's anxiety, she had been out for more than 18 months. In the end everyone found out about her AN, something she had been keen to avoid, as a rumour started that she had cancer and was dying from that. I think some form of honesty is the best policy, perhaps just that she has been very ill and unable to go. It is also reasonable to say that she doesn't want to talk about it. Ironically though being up front and say she has had an eating disorder is probably the best response for those that ask. It will only be news for a short period of time. Almost certainly there will be others in her year level with an eating disorder, and certainly others in her school. 

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.

Posts: 1,123
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi ac24,
my d is 17 and she was away from school for 3 months in spring. She was very anxious of going back as your d is. That´s normal. We did it this way:
First we got in contact with nearly all teachers and 2 girls from her class. We told them honestly what was going on and explained a lot about ED because there is a completely wrong picture about that in society here. We explained it as it is: as a metabolism disease like diabetes. We told them that our d has to eat regularly and that she will have those shut downs if she doesn´t. She met with the girls before restarting school and they went to the cinema together. So she had some partners and contact for the first day. The first 2 weeks she had only half of the lessons and we took her home for lunch the hole rest of the year. She was very tired after school and she didn´t go to the sport class. But she finished the year bravely and she doesn´t feel to be "watched" any more. The other kids asked some questions about the disease and one boy was interested in tube feeding ;(? but she answered them truely and now there is no asking any more.
Its good to get the teachers in the boat. They can help a lot by giving not too much stress. My d didn´t need to write any tests at the beginning and she was given some special help to get in again. And you need some class members to help you see wether she is eating her breakfast in school or not.
I think looking back it was good to be completely open and answer all the questions so there was no talking behind her back.

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Posts: 1,377
Reply with quote  #4 
Really great advice from tina72 and FoodSupport.  

I think role playing what to say can definitely help to prepare her for some possible situations.  We did this with our d too, and it seemed to calm her anxiety.

Most importantly, kids in school are fairly narcissistic, and will likely ask a few questions, & then move on to other things.  Your d will likely not be a subject of interest for long.

Great idea to get together with a couple of trusted friends for a fun outing before starting back to school.  That transition sounds like a great way to ease back into school and a social setting.

Sending warm support,

It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou

Posts: 375
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Ac24, you've done a great job getting the weight up. I understand that your d feels nervous about school. I've attached a link to some of the latest genetic research on eating disorders:
There seems to be a link between autoimmune disorders and metabolic features and anorexia. Your d might want to use this information to explain her illness. My d was 10 when she was in ip and anybody who asked I just said that she had a brain disorder which messed up her appetite and it wad hard to explain. They quickly got the hint that didn't want to elaborate.

God luck with her return to school.
Best wishes 😁

D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for a year and WR at age 11 in March 2017. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her. Now working on intuitive eating.

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Posts: 1,395
Reply with quote  #6 
We took my son out of school for a year. He then went part-time - basically for as long as he was able to do so i.e. however many hours in the day and however many days in the week. The school was amazingly supportive. Our treatment team offered to go into the school (with my son's permission of course) and talk to selected friends about eating disorders and how they'd affected my son. My son and his peers were 17-years old at the time and everyone approached it with a fantastic maturity. Although my son never did manage to get back into school full-time before he left, aged 18, knowing that his friends and teachers understood and were on his side made it much easier for him. He also found the flexibility of 'staying for as long as he could handle' a great help, too.
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
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