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chester

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Reply with quote  #1 
my wife apparently collapsed at work, shes been dealing with an ED since ive known her and ive knownher for over 20 years now.  it's been off and on.  She'd get pregnant, eat normally for the baby...we have 2 boys, 7 and 1 and she is still breastfeeding the 1 year old.  but after the baby was born she went back to restricting, eating weird meals

she collapsed at work today snd she's been in the ER. my mother is there with her and ive been getting texts.  i'm actually severely ill myself and unable to do anything without full time caregiver so im waiting to be ale to go to the hospital and advocate for her.  My mom is going to come take me to the hospital

rightnow they are just getting her heart rate stable.  i'm just so afraid that they're going to admit her to a psych ward.  her weight is very low.  her blood pressure is very low and they said that her heart rate is very low.  

for the longest time she wouldnt get any help becuse she was raped on a psych ward when she was 13 years old, got pregnant with his baby and then miscarried.  so all this horrible trauma.  she was in psychiatric environments all through her teen years and they were really invalidating environments that shamed her for having an illness, and left her with a general sense of feeling incapable and powerless, and retraumatized.  she has c-ptsd and gets flashbacks.  I just think that despite how much i want her to get better i dont have much hope that a psychiatric hospitalization will be at all helpful because these places are usually not trauma informed.  She says she was never put in the quiet room but she can still hear the children screaming in the quiet room, even just going to therapy gave her flashbacks for the longest time.  

but theres only so much i can do.  i FINALLY got her to go to a new psychiatrist he specializes in trauma and he does both medication and psychotherapy.  weve had a few sessions.  She won't go to the sessions without me because she doesnt feel safe being in a room alone with a mental health clinician.  I asked if she would go to a female therapist and she said that they dont make her feel any safer because of the power dynamic.  She feels like theres this power dynamic between the therapist and client, where the therapist is morally superior and she is the worthless mentally ill patient whose perspective doesnt matter and no one will believe her word on anything.  i think this is from being abused in a psychiatric ward and no one believed her.

so right now i have to go to this hospital and i'm so scared theyre going to admit her to a psych ward.  is there anything I can say to them to convince them not to?  Is there anything her psychiatrist can do?  Right now she hasnt even told thenew psychiatrist because she is still feeling him out and trying to figure out if he'll believe her.  not many people know about her abuse both as a child and on the psych ward.


chester

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Reply with quote  #2 
im also wondering.... do i try to contact the psychiatrist is there anything he can do to advise the hospital staff on how to manage her anorexia?  he was recommending going to see him twice a week and he is still working out a diagnosis and establishing trust.  he says without trust you have nothing.
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #3 
Chester I am so sorry to hear that your wife is in the hospital. If her heart is the issue, she may need an acute medical ward/coronary care before any consideration of other care. Generally psychiatric wards are not suitable for this sort of care, so it doesn't sound as though that would be on the cards. Her physical health sounds as though it is critical and needs to be addressed urgently previous trauma or not. 
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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.
deenl

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Reply with quote  #4 
Dear chester,

I am so sorry to hear of the difficulties both you and your wife are going through. As Foodsupport says, cardiac conditions must take priority and any treatment must be aimed at reducing the risk of permanent heart damage. I hope that the tests come back with good news because you and your kids need their mom healthy and, in time, happy.

I do know of someone who struggles with both trauma and an eating disorder. From what I know about this one case both the trauma and ED need to be addressed together. In the beginning the ED treatment team did not know about the trauma. Without that knowledge some of the elements of the treatment were unfortunately triggering. Since they have become aware of the trauma, they have been able to adapt the treatment plan to support recovery from both.

So in your position, I would inform all the treatment teams of her full medical history including the trauma. Without that knowledge no treatment team, either medical or psychiatric, can make optimal decisions and recommendations.

Wishing you and your family strength, courage and lots of luck.

Warm wishes,

D

__________________
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.
chester

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Reply with quote  #5 
right now they admitted her to the cardiology unit and she's havinga  bunch of tests done.  I was able to see her late last night when they admitted her to cardiology and i hate that I'm not well enough to be there with her for the whole thing, the way she is whenever I"m in the hospital (which is ALL THE TIME as i have mitochondrial disease.  she's been a full time caregiver for me for many years.  I've always been "the sick one" and she's always been working full time, keeping our family afloat.  so my mother has been doing my care and I only have so much energy.  i feel very guilty that i can't advocate for her in the hospital but theyve been calling me and she hasbeen in contact with me via text which is good.  

the thing is, if they eventually send her to a specialized eating disorders unit, isn't that a locked facility?  I'm worried they are going to send her to one without letting us choose which one to take her to if it's TRULY medically necessary

she has been dealing with this since she is a teenager and her awful experiences in therapy have made her never want to go to therapy again.  I've tried so many times taking her to counseling and she'll sit there in the waiting room and have flashbacks and then refuse to go in.  it's just awful and I feel like a horrible person for putting her through this retraumatizing process.  That being said, I'm a sexual assault survivor as well and since I have frequent hospitalizations and I have my own sensory triggers and difficulties with touch, she has this letter from my therapist that EVERY SINGLE caregiver receives and she's always 100% on the ball with informing every single care staff that I"m a sexual assault survivor and that they need to make accomodations with how they handle me.  But then, I tell her, We need to tell all these staff members that you're a survivor and she says, "No, they can't know, they aren't going to believe me."  How is it that she thinks they'll believe me, but not her?  It makes no sense.

she will take medication and she got diagnosed bipolar in her teens and shes been on lamictal for years.  but weve been feeling like things werent getting anywhere with her old psychiatrist.  Quite frankly, I doubt the bipolar diagnosis and I think that a lot of what they think of as "hypomania" is actually extreme anxiety and hypervigilance due to the trauma.  But they can't know about the trauma if she doesn't tell them.  She insists that no one will believe her and that they're going to think she's being manipulative, because that is how psychiatric professionals view people who talk about sexual assaults [frown]  I guess that is how people treated her when she was a teen going through the mental health system in the 90's.  

The anorexia is really the tip of the iceberg.  I think after being sexually abused by her dad, and then raped on a psych ward as a teen, this gives her some feeling of CONTROL over her body.  And I think she carries a lot of SHAME after the sexual abuse and this is a way to punish herself.  I carry shame from sexual assault and i have the same urges, to self injure, and to punish myself, and the only reason I don't act on them is because it happened to me when I was older and I have more coping skills.  and i'm in therapy.

The self injury is her other main way of coping.  she's self injured since before i met her too.  When I married her I thought "These are just teenage girl problems and they will go away when we get older."  So we got married.  Now 14 years of marriage later and 2 kids later these problems have not goine away.  I pushed, and I encouraged, and I have made so many attempts at getting her help.  She said she wants to get help for me and the boys now I think mostly because she's scared of inpatient hospitalization.  I worry about her being abused again in one of those places.  I don't know how it will be possible for me to advocate for her when she's in a locked facility with restrictive visiting hours.  IT seems to me that this kind of environment almost ENCOURAGES abuse because the patient has no one to advocate for them within the hospital.  When she was on an eating disorders unit before, I never saw her room I only saw the day room.  That's the "front end."  My wife tells me it was retraumatizing to hear people screaming in the quiet room and she has this fear that they're going to restrain her, even though she was always a "compliant" sort of patient.  

Everytime she's been hospitalized it's been heart wrenching for me to see and she spends the whole time basically in a retraumatizing flashback where she can't really learn any new coping skills because she's just reliving the past trauma.


mjkz

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Reply with quote  #6 
Chester, I feel for your wife as my daughter has trauma issues as well as a severe eating disorder.  Part of her trauma stemmed from things that happened to her while inpatient. 

Quite honestly we had to do most of her work at home due to trauma issues using the hospital when she was too unsafe to keep home.  She works with an outstanding therapist who understands both trauma, eating disorders and also how trauma can result in behaviors typically seen in borderline personality disorder as can eating disorders.  The bottom line though is that your wife has to be medically stable and safe to do the work at home and if she can't, then she needs to be in a hospital. 

You may need to be more forthcoming with her treatment team and let them know the trauma she has suffered.  They can't help what they don't know about and keeping her trauma secret just allows the trauma to flourish and keep her from recovering from either thing.  It sounds like something has to change and she isn't able to do it at home.  You may need to look for your care elsewhere so that she can focus her energy and time on getting herself stable.  I would encourage you to tell her medical team the kinds of issues she is dealing with and that will help them find a place for her that can deal with both kinds of issues.  We found the hard way that working on one or the other just doesn't work.  If we focused on getting her weight up, her flashbacks, etc. were out of control and if we focused just on her trauma issues, then she was binging and purging 20 times a day.

It sounds like she needs an advocate right now to help her find a safe place to get her weight up and deal with the trauma issues until she is safe to come home.  I can't encourage you enough to speak up for her if she is not able to be honest and maybe she can get treatment that is effective and helps.
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #7 
I am not sure why she would be in a locked facility. Many treatment places are voluntary and an adult is able to leave at will. Your wife as you state has been able to eat well in the past for the well being of her baby, so she is able to do this again for her own well being and again  the well being of her children and husband. Ideally she should have treatment in the least restrictive environment that allows her to recover, that would potentially include outpatient treatment. 
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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.
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