F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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I am new to this forum and new to this horrible disease. My 13 year old D was diagnosed with AN 2 months ago. We spent about 3 weeks at a Children's Hospital and are about 6 weeks in at a residential care facility. We've hit lows I didn't think we'd ever hit - NG tube feedings, elopement protocol and self harm. She has taken steps forward and was at a point where we were supposed to get our first outing with her - taking the dog to the dog park. But today she had some behaviors that caused the center to put a freeze on her level, meaning no outing tomorrow. The emotional turmoil was intense - not only for her but for us. After some intense discussions I think we will have our outing on Monday - dependent on our D meeting food and behavioral requirements.

My question is this: this week we've had some real ups and downs as she has been close to getting to this outing but several times has exhibited a behavior that takes her a step back. I look at this as possible self-sabotaging behavior, my husband thinks it she's pushing the boundaries to see what she can get away with. Does anyone have any insight into this? We've certainly experienced the "two steps forward, one step back" through the last 2 months. But the emotional turmoil of this disease hit me pretty hard today. I just want my D to get this outing and to feel that success for one day. I'm trying so hard not to protect the ED and to recognize what my D needs vs. what the ED is dictating. This is definitely a marathon, but I want my daughter to get a boost, if just for a couple of hours.

thanks for reading/listening.
Hi and a very warm welcome from Germany. Great that you found us here!

What you see is her inner fight with ED. ED wants her to have these steps backwards. "A walk outside with the dog? That could be fun! You do not deserve to have fun! Walking the dog and have fun is normal life! You do not deserve to have normal life!" That is what her inner ED voice might say to her.

So as long as you see progress and more steps forward than backwards that is enough for that state.
Is she gaining weight properly there? Food is the medicine. As long as she is not WR you will not see much progress, the big steps are coming when the brain starts to heal so focus on getting the food into her and have her brain fully nurished (especially with fats and glucose).

Come here and ask whatever you need, we are open 24/7! There are always nice parents around that have been in your shoes...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Hi sjt
It really is unfortunately a slow process
Even when our d “earnt” her first outing from hospital we had to turn around and take her back as she became very overwhelmed and upset
Of course after 6 weeks IP all we wanted for her was to get out into the “real” world and enjoy some freedom
We all came back crying after not even 10 minutes [frown]
It was heartbreaking for us all
Slowly she was able to cope with little outings and now she is doing so well I keep pinching myself
D just msg me asking if it’s ok that she’s out eating with her friend 😳
I’m like honey you were IP 8 weeks OP 8 weeks, enjoy yourself, have fun!!!
You will get your d back
Trust the process
Nourishment in + time = brain healing = recovery
It WILL happen, it’s very hard, we all understand xx
Welcome to the forum.

This illness takes its toll on both caregivers and those with the illness. It is a steep learning curve for families that usually have no idea as to how an eating disorder works and further what has taken possession of our children. Your  real daughter is in there even though she is truly struggling at the moment. A lot of what drives the behaviours is anxiety and self loathing. It is common for them to truly believe they deserve nothing. That includes no joy, no love and no food. 

It is important to set firm boundaries around food and behaviours with health and safety at the top. Why your D is acting on certain impulses is hard to say. It may be she is scared to go on an outing, not wanting to be seen. She may be struggling with her eating and just be unable to comply with the rules at the  moment. An advantage of her being  in residential treatment is you don't have to  be the bad guy in this at the moment. If she struggles just love her all the more. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
sjt272727 wrote:
I look at this as possible self-sabotaging behavior, my husband thinks it she's pushing the boundaries to see what she can get away with. Does anyone have any insight into this?

Hello and welcome.  I found that there was usually no way to figure out what was going on in my d's mind.  I also found that it usually didn't matter too much - what mattered was having infinite patience with her.  (I got much better at this as time went on during my d's illness.)  She is being tormented by a horrible bully who has taken up residence in her brain.  It will make her do all kinds of weird and problematic things.  So I would suggest not focusing too much on the "why" and instead focus more on trying to sympathize with her inability to qualify for the rewards.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

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