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flaxen

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, this is my first post. My 13yo daughter is newly diagnosed AN. We are 5 days into refeeding/FBT and the meals are going OK but she goes into a terrible state after eating - withdrawn, silent, picking at her nails, pinching herself and so so sad. I sit with her, I talk to her, I try and hug her and eventually she lightens a little.
Can anyone shed some light on this? and how I can best help her?
tina72

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi flaxen,
welcome here in this forum nobody wants to be member of [wink]
Glad that you found us, you will get a lot of help here. There are always some parents online and they have a great treasure of experience and a lot of wnderful tips for you.
It is great that you found FBT, it is really working and all you have to do is refeed her and get with her through that long dark tunnel. Easier said than done, I know.
Her state after eating is quite normal. Hey, great that meals are going o.k.!!! You get something in to her! 1:0
She has problems after eating because her inner voice makes her feel quilty about it. You cannot do much for her, just be with her, hug her if she lets you and - important - try to give her some distraction. Watch TV soaps, colour a picture together, play games, do puzzles, whatever you can get her to do with you. Try not to speak about the meal or about eating. If she complaines, just say "mmh", or "I see that is difficult for you" and change the topic.
Do you know Eva Musbys great book "Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well: Practical solutions, compassionate communication tools and emotional support for parents of children and teenagers"? I would recommend this warmly, it is a great help and you find practical things for realy every situation you will get into in the next months.
Ask as much as you need. Tell us a bit more about where you are (state or country) and how much she has to gain sowe could help you better with that.
A warm welcome from Germany,
Tina72
deenl

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi flaxen,

Welcome to the forum.

In this strange world we now occupy, it is great news that meals are going in ok. You seem to have made a very good start to FBT. Your daughter's reaction is, unfortunately, very normal. We have found that distraction is the best way to deal with this. My son has many hobbies so when he was terribly ill we gave him an occupational therapy budget to buy supplies and to ensure that he always had something to take his mind off things. I remember that the couldn't be without some sort of distraction for even a moment. He read when driving or waiting somewhere. Every single minute had to have a distraction from the tortured ED thoughts. So I would line up anything that your daughter likes doing for between meals (except exercise, that's a big no, no) visits from friends or family, binge watching series, hobbies, volunteer work with animals, anything that will take her mind off the ED.

We do have a Learning Centre with lots of useful information. And please feel free to come here to ask lots of questions and vent as needed. There is a steep learning curve for parents and we need to delve deep into our emotional strengths to get through this terrible illness.

Warm wishes,

D

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2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, tons of variety in food, stepping back into social life. Sept 2017, back to school full time for the first time in 2 years. Happy and relaxed, just usual non ED hassles. 

  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal. (but don't give up on the plan too soon, maybe it just needs a tweak or a bit more time and determination [wink] )
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
mjkz

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Reply with quote  #4 
The hard and fast truth is you can't relieve her of that pain.  It is just part of the process.  You can however help and distraction is your best tool in your tool kit.  I found trying to be supportive and validating feelings really didn't help and in fact fed the depression.  I tried to plan things that I knew she would like after meals and wouldn't take no for an answer.  I invite friends to come over after meals and distracted my daughter like crazy.  It does get better but unfortunately it is just something you have to go through.
kazi67

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi flaxen
My daughter would cry for hours after dinner, it was heartbreaking and she couldn't tell me what was wrong
I would just lie with her, rub her back, some nights I slept with her as I just couldn't bare to leave her in that state
But it slowly got better
I just kept feeding her 3 normal meals and 3 normal snacks everyday
There is hope, it does get better x
Torie

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Reply with quote  #6 
As Kazi said, it does get better.  Really.  True, it takes a godawful long time, and often it gets worse before it gets better, but it DOES get better.

You are saving your d's life and helping win back the life she deserves.  It's hero's work: exhausting, relentless, seemingly unbearable.

Your d is so, so lucky to have you.  Keep swimming.  xx

-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
EC_Mom

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Reply with quote  #7 
That after-meal misery is so awful, for me it was worse than pre-meal violence. But you need to be strong for your d, to be compassionate with her and stick with her. And DISTRACT. This is the time for the funniest videos, the most suspenseful, absorbing TV shows, visits by engaging friends. It does not get better in the moment when you focus on it. But slooooowly it will get better.
flaxen

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you so much everyone for your words of encouragement and advice.
I feel so fortunate that there is so much information that's available to "us".
As a single parent this is really tough but I am determined to save my daughter!
Today is a better day - she has eaten her breakfast (despite catching me putting sugar in the porridge) and now she is getting ready for school. I will get to work today..
How do fellow single parents hold down their jobs in all this chaos?


flaxen

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Reply with quote  #9 
PS We live in NZ
kazi67

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi flaxen
Are you able to take time off work (carers leave)?
I took 10 weeks off work, there was no way I could of cared for my d the way I did without having time off work
I spent 6 hours a day sometimes more eating with her then supervising after meals for an hour
Do you have supportive family or friends to help? (I didn't that's why I decided to take leave)
It's so tough, and it effects our lives and our families on so many levels for some taking leave off work may not be an option but it definately helped for our situation
Thinking of everyone fighting this battle daily
Don't give up, your gorgeous d will come back to you x
flaxen

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks for sharing your experience - I also don't have family in the same town so bit isolated.
Do you all think that with FBT, that any meal not supervised and therefore "lost" is detrimental? My d has a music workshop on Saturday 9-3 so I know she will skip one snack and lunch .... do I let her go and be with her friends or is it imperative she eats??
Torie

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flaxen
Thanks for sharing your experience - I also don't have family in the same town so bit isolated.
Do you all think that with FBT, that any meal not supervised and therefore "lost" is detrimental? My d has a music workshop on Saturday 9-3 so I know she will skip one snack and lunch .... do I let her go and be with her friends or is it imperative she eats??


It is imperative she eats.  Often, we can use events like this as motivation: She doesn't get to leave in the morning until she has completed her meal (of course, expressed positively as in "As soon as you have finished, I'll take you to the workshop", and as soon as she has finished having her snack with you (in the parking lot or whatever), she can go back in.  Lunch?  You guessed it: She can go back in as soon as she is done with lunch.

Best of luck and please keep us posted. xx

-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
tina72

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Reply with quote  #13 
Eating is imperative because when you let ED win in that case it will take over and your d will not have any fun on that music workshop because she will have ED thoughts the whole day. I would allow her to go after finishing breakfast and than join in for the snack and lunch on the parking. Yes, it is stressy and irritating but she must see that eating is not negotiable. Eating comes first and then normal life. If she gets used to that, it will all be much easier.
Lost meals are detrimental because it is very important that her blood sugar level is constant through the whole day. She has to eat at least every 4-5 hours. Low blood sugar level makes her get these "shut downs", when she is just sitting sad and cannot move and you think she doesn´t even hear what you say.

If you are a single parent and no friends/family available for daily support I think it would be better to get off work for some time or to get less hours or do some home office if possible. It is essential that you are fit and not exhausted by daily working plus supporting your d. It is a long term run and you need power for a marathon. Try to slow a bit down with everything possible to get some extra time to comfort yourself. So many of us forgot that for a long time and it is so important to stand all this. So that would be my advice: get some help or get out of work if possible but please try to do something nice for yourself. You will nee the time when she is in school to prepare meals so she is not seeing what you add and to get a nap or to do something for yourself.

Ask whatever you need, we are all here to help you. You are not alone. ED is worldwide and even when every child/family is a bit different, the topics are all the same whether you are in NZ or in Germany.
Tina72
EC_Mom

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Reply with quote  #14 
We allowed for the kind of missed meal, postponed snack, etc., for a while. It meant we were limping along, and the change of mindset to EVERY MEAL EVERY SNACK was crucial in making a turn to true recovery. Don't let her miss any meal or snack. Figure out a way to let her have her life...after she has eaten.
flaxen

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Reply with quote  #15 
Your advice backed by experience is so helpful - thanks to you all.
I will talk to my bosses and arrange a leave of absence - and then I can do Every Snack and Every Meal. I can see there is no half measures.
runmum

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Reply with quote  #16 
Good luck Flaxen! D is exactly the same after meals. Storms off to her room after her evening meal despite my efforts to keep her with me and distract her. Sorry I don't have any advice but just wanted to say hi and you aren't alone.
flaxen

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hi there runmum,
We are both on a journey that we would rather not take. I'm so fortunate that my d will talk to me after she "comes out' of the blackness. She told me tonight that when she cries after a meal that I should not try distraction but sit quietly with her until she asks for a hug.... We had a bad day today after our psychology FBT session - she had lost 200g and I committed to "closing the gaps". Dinner was a war complete with a panic attack as soon as I put the meal in front of her - any ideas? Do you stop for a break and then try again?

tina72

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Reply with quote  #18 
Hi flaxen,
200 g lost is not soooo bad. That means she nearly has hold her weight and that means you seem to get something into her. She didn´t have lost more. Try not to commend the weighings, not positive and not negative. Do you think she would drink "healthy looking" smoothies? Sometimes it is easier to drink the calories than to eat them.

Sorry that you had such a hard dinner experience. There are no "rules" how to do it - every time and every patient is different. You have to try it. In our situation it was no good idea to stop for a break and than start again because than she had time to get into it and it took even longer. How do you do it? Do you have fixed times when you serve dinner or do you announce it before you serve it? Some patients (mine included) need to know when it will be served and could not stand "surprises". Some need to have no time to get into it and just find the situation and eat. You will have to try it.

In my experience it was the easiest way just to get through it. Don´t get me wrong, it was not easy to do that but looking back the more we struggled the more AN won. If we stopped for a break it would have meant more breaks and more time for the next meal and so on. To be firm and consistant shows ED that it is lost time to go against me. If possible get someone to help you. Can a realtive or a friend move over and live with you for a few weeks? It is a big relief when you can leave the room and someone else can take over in those situations. In our case hubby got her to eat in those situations most of the times more easily than I, so we changed places.

Try to tell her that distraction after meals helps her because the inner voice that tells her she is quilty for eating will be more quiet than. If she cannot stand that at the moment, try to do it the next days again. We ate a lot in front of TV and she sometimes even forgot that she was eating by watching funny videos.
Keep on going. You are doing the right thing.
Tina72
Torie

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Reply with quote  #19 
Have you seen this video?  It helped me so much:



-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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