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Optimistic

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

Has anyone considered or taken advantage of wilderness camp for their child?

My d has dropped out of college, has been pretending to attend community college (we found out she's not even attending classes) Her weight is a little low but not too bad.

She is totally avoiding all social connections. Isolating. Reading newspapers/magazines/on the computer and that's it. Refuses all help. Won't see therapist etc.

Need a shakeup. She's 21. Ran into an acquaintance who sent her d to a wilderness camp and SWEARS by it. We are ready to do something. H likes the idea.

Wanted to see if anyone here has considered it. Or done it.

Thanks,



Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #2 
My D is twenty, not sure that something like this would work at all for her in these circumstances. Her disengagement can be due to all sorts of things, and if due to her ED sending her to do a lot of physical work, and survive on rations may not be the best plan. It may be a recipe for things getting worse. 
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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.
OneToughMomma

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Reply with quote  #3 
If she were my d I would exert any influence I had to get her into treatment and /or get her weight up.

You've got my sympathy--it's a tough spot.

xoOTM

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D in and out of EDNOS since age 8. dx RAN 2013. WR Aug '14. Graduated FBT June 2015 at 18 yrs old. [thumb]
Kali

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Optimistic

I know you have tried again and again to encourage your d. to be in treatment but she runs away. It is a really tough situation when you know they need help and they will not accept that. I'll make some suggestions based on the fact that her weight is not in a dangerous place:

Now that she is 21 and not in school, what about letting her know that she needs to get a job? (Not in anything related to food service, however). They pay well for nannies in our area and yours, my d. did that and was upfront about her situation with the family and they hired her and it worked out well. She watched two boys after school from 3-7, gave them snacks, played with them, etc. After awhile she had quite a following and different families would call her and she had spending money and was also able to save money to go away with her friends for a few weeks.

Would volunteer work engage her? Does she like animals and could she volunteer at the local animal rescue? Or foster and bring up a seeing eye dog? The seeing eye dog headquarters is in Morristown, NJ, she could google them.

If you think that physical work could engage her could she volunteer for Habitat for Humanity? Or at a local arboretum, gardening? 
Also, a great place to volunteer with a wonderful mission is the Sloop Clearwater, started by Pete Seeger. It sails up and down the Hudson and presents environmental programs to school kids who come on board. The organization also does environmental advocacy to help keep the river clean and they helped get the GE cleanup put through legally. You don't have to know how to sail, they will train you. It is really a wonderful experience. They will take volunteers for the season, have her google them and take a look. I've volunteered to do week sails and there are usually a group of 20 somethings crewing on the boat volunteering, and there is a very open and nonjudgemental attitude. A lot of YAs who think outside the box. And it is a lot of fun.

These are all activities that would get her out of the house and she would need to interact with other people which could be a step forward for her, right? What about working at a summer sleep away camp in some capacity? When my non-ED son was recovering he spent the summer working at a camp in the kitchen and it was a good experience for him, to be away and have a job.

In the best of all possible worlds, you would be able to get her into therapy. But if you cannot can you and your h. work on getting her engaged in some things that she is interested in which will get her out of the house and in contact with others for a start? I've come to the conclusion that being engaged in life and doing things that are interesting is a powerful motivator for wellness.

I have no experience on the wilderness camp front so I can't really talk about that. But d. volunteers for an organization she supports and that has been a good experience for her.

How is her everyday eating? Does she eat with the family? What are her ideas about things she would like to do in her future?

Let's get together at some point!

Best wishes,

Kali

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mjkz

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have to admit I thought about it several times but I did most of what Kali suggested.  I required her to get a job and volunteer even if it was just to get her out of the house and force her to reengage in life.  I gave her the option of a getting a job or not having the "basics" (according to her) of life like a cell phone or internet.  I started requiring her to pay for her own gas and part of the insurance.  We did it over a period of time but it really forced her to get out of the house and do things differently.
Optimistic

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you all for your suggestions and thoughts.

Kali, I love your list & yes, let's get together soon. Sloop Clearwater sounds esp. cool.

Here's our problem. She absolutely refuses to do anything we suggest re....anything! Many good job opportunities come her way (through me) and she refuses them all. Says it's none of my business, blah blah blah. She'll take care of it blah blah blah.

And I don't mean to be unsympathetic. She is STUCK, refusing all help. She leaves the house for up to 12 hours a day (pretending to go to school) and I want her to have the phone for my peace of mind. She only uses it like an iPod anyway. I guess I could take away her computer and hide all the other computers in the house but I don't think she'd go to work to get them back. She doesn't eat with us, barely engages with us. Unfortunately, engages with no one. 

Maybe she needs a hospitalization, but she eats enough, isn't self harming, using substances etc. Just isolated. Many wilderness camps take eating disordered kids. They would never take kids in need of medical care.

And I Know many here on the forum believe that health comes with a certain weight, but she got to an ideal weight - and then maybe 15 - 20 pounds beyond that - and dropped out of college, presumably depressed. She flat out refused all help.. Ran from the house if it was brought up. Thought about brining in a crisis team but I don't think they could have her admitted to a hospital.  It felt like there was nothing we could do to get her into treatment other than say she couldn't live here anymore & I was unwilling to do that.

She's always been a nature girl. I feel like she could get a new start. Maybe pie in the sky but I am just not seeing another plan right now. I've never seen wilderness camp mentioned here (and I would have never considered it when she was really unable to hold onto her weight.)

thanks so much everyone. It's great to have you to bounce ideas off.


mjkz

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Reply with quote  #7 
Why not sign her up for it then?  Can you make her go?  It does sounds like she needs help. What about telling her you are charging rent, etc.?
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #8 
If she is not seeing anyone nor attending school, what is she doing for 12 hours per day? She must be doing something and almost certainly is not doing it alone. The number one thing to do seems to be trying to get her more involved in caring for herself and communicating better. 
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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.
Sotired

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Reply with quote  #9 
Foodsupport brings up a good point there-it's terrible what they can get up to in 2 hours let alone 12!how does the wilderness camp work?sorry,we have something here called outward bound but I've never been so I don't know much about camping,let alone how it works in America or England.
If she is around other people and they have had eating disorder young adults there before,it may be that you can use it as a reset button,particularly if she is into nature.it may be that this is a safer option than keeping her at home with her doing god knows what away from home.which in itself is a point-she is staying away during waking hours anyway.its not like she is 16,it is very different with young adults.and honestly,we can stop paying for things but then it feeds into their need for self punishment anyway.
My advice for what it's worth is to check out what safeguards there are,talk with your d that you know she hasn't been going to class,so hey why doesn't she give this camp a go?no judgement,no blame,just matter of fact.then help her pack a bag,drop her off there and stay just out of sight so you can make sure she's still on the bus.
Sometimes doing something different works.sometimes it doesn't.you won't know until you try and I'm not sure ,but it seems like you have nothing to lose by trying this.
Good luck with any decision you make,

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Sotired42
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #10 

http://astartforteens.org/dangers-of-teen-wilderness-programs

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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) age 13 in October 2015 ,  (4 months immediate inpatient) ,  Now Phase  2 , making progress every day. Living life to the full like a normal teen. We are not out of the woods yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to ATDT.
Sotired

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Reply with quote  #11 
Lordy,that's a bit scary tf.i was thinking it would be around a week,no more.like I said I have no experience with how long these camps are.so let me amend my advice-for a short term,reset button camp this could work,with proper supervision and no nights alone in the wilderness.
No long term camps,just very short.

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Sotired42
LauraCollins_US

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Reply with quote  #12 
As far as someone with an eating disorder going to a place unlikely to understand eating disorders, I would really worry. EDs are very serious psychiatric illnesses with very specific needs for follow up.

You are describing isolating behaviors, depressive symptoms, and a history of eating disorder. This is a young person at serious risk of psychiatric crisis, in need of evidence-based treatment, not someone with a behavioral issue, right? The wilderness camp concept, where kids get pushed to their limits and commune with nature and get the boot camp treatment....

Is a concept that has been popular for behavioral problems but even then, has a very poor track record and some serious allegations of both abuse and neglect in the past. If you consider it, do a lot of research and read about the critiques of the concept:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/other/camps-troubled-kids-can-be-magnets-abuse-f8C11409077





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Optimistic

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks everyone for your responses! I have a lot to think about.


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