Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content:
F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum
Sign up Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
sowego

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #1 
Dear All,
I read this forum regularly but haven't posted in a long time. 
There is such a lovely spirit of sharing and support for all the newbies who have joined since I first did over 5 years ago (under a different name). I wish you all well. 
I am posting to try and form some sort of clarity around what is going on at this point in time for my D and our family. D was diagnosed with AN over five years ago at 16. We did the refeeding at home , a horrific time as you all know, then she  relapsed , then gained so she could go to college, then relapsed, then took a year out, became vegan and after a year at very low weight, we finally persuaded her to do treatment again and we refed her again. She retuned to college and had the best 6 months she ever had  in recent years, but then since April has slipped back down again. 
So here we are again, low weight, insisting she can recover by herself, insisting she is staying vegan, will not return to the therapist who did help her a lot. I am so sick of it. She has returned to college, but is stressed all the time. She lives in a separate apartment in the same building and pops in to visit a couple of times every day. She will not eat with us, avoids any family occasions, and is telling increasing number of half truths and fictions about all sorts of things. I feel myself pulling away from her as I don't believe much of what she says. She feels this and says she is not feeling the love and compassion from me. I also feel a sense of hopelessness about her future. I am also trying to keep a certain detachment because this illness has taken an enormous toll on me and there is not much left in the barrel. 
My H is beyond fed up- he hardly wants to see her. And yet I feel like we just can't seem to grapple with this. ED is so slippery. I feel it has infested every brain cell she has- after all this time, I still feel she cannot separate ED thoughts from a normal thought. So I feel anything I say is not getting through. 
And yet, throughout all these years D has had a wish for a nice life, for good things, for joy in her life. I always thought that strong life force would pull her through. She feels pressure from us all the time, feels we want to control her, despite us saying over and over that we all want the same thing. I used to talk about recovery but now I notice I don't, maybe I don't believe in it anymore, or feel like it will never happen. 
I want my own life now. I want to be able to work and travel when i feel like it- I have stayed at home so much to be there for my D. I want to believe her when she tells me so earnestly that she can recover by herself, to stop stressing over her. But I am realistic and believe she needs meal support. I am willing to do that, but she doesn't want it. 
I don't know where that leaves us all. I do know if she doesn't turn things around, we all get sucked back in to the horrible AN vortex. There is no just ignoring it, is there? 
Thank you for reading. I am just trying to get a handle on what is going on here. I feel like we keep going round in circles.

 

teecee

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 305
Reply with quote  #2 
Dear sowego
A warm welcome from the north of England. I can surely understand what you mean. I am fearful of our future being like that too. We had so many plans to travel with a camper van we were due to purchase around now however we’ve put that on hold.
Normal parenting rules don’t apply with AN and we are stoic throughout the fight but it’s ok to feel like you do. I think after 5 years I would feel weary and hopeless. I hate that ‘hope’ sets us up for a sense of failure. I like to ‘wonder’ what life will be like in future - there seems to be more positivity around the word wonder. Hope can just do one!!
I’m sending you lots of virtual hugs and wonder if she can actually recover fully herself? She’s proved she has a joy for life. Be easier on yourself and allow yourselves to have joy in life too. You deserve that. Xxxxxxxxx
Nicstar4

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 104
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi sewego,
Can’t give much advice as new to this, trying to start re feeding here. 16 yr old d.
However, I did listen to a podcast with tabitha farrar who talks about mentors for adults with anorexia. She seems down to earth and down right brilliant.
I hope that it might be a useful resource for you.
X
Foodsupport_AUS

Avatar / Picture

Lead Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 3,904
Reply with quote  #4 
Sorry that it continues to be such a struggle for you and your daughter.   The longer it goes on of course the harder it is to maintain any momentum. You sound exhausted and worn down by the continued battle with ED.  It sounds as though you need help in regrouping yourself, care for you at the moment. Are you seeing anyone to help you deal with the ongoing long term distress? 

Sending you lots of virtual hugs and support. 

__________________
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.
kkhrd

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 74
Reply with quote  #5 
Sewego, This terrifies me.  My daughter is 16 and college seems like just an idea, a hope and a prayer that just may never come.  She was weight restored but now her Dr is pushing for more because her ED thoughts still abound and I wonder if life will ever be normal for us.  While I want nothing more than for her to live a full life with all the things she wishes for, I just don't know if she is equipped, and I wonder if I will ever feel completely comfortable with her having to make her own decisions so far away from me and my guiding hand.  I may have control issues, but I am too afraid of a relapse.  I am always looking on these boards for stories of hope and full recovery, but do any of these children ever fully recover?  I will say a prayer for you and your daughter because I want to see you succeed, not only succeed, but to thrive, and leave all the darkness of ED behind.  I know that what makes this even harder for you is that she is an adult, but her popping in to see you may be a small cry for help, maybe she is looking for you to take control again, and while I am sure that this is a daunting task given all that you have already been through, maybe she will be more receptive to your advances knowing that you have done this before.  She may secretly wish for you to take the burden that she is carrying and to once again talk of recovery.

"When the world says GIVE UP, Hope whispers, try one more time"





Kali

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,015
Reply with quote  #6 
Sewego,

This is so difficult and you have been through so much and it is awful the way that they struggle and what it does to the family. But it is great that your daughter lives in the same building as you. I also have a daughter who is a similar age as yours, 20. I have found that creating firm boundaries for what we will accept and letting her know that has been helpful.

Quote:
I want to believe her when she tells me so earnestly that she can recover by herself, to stop stressing over her. But I am realistic and believe she needs meal support. 


Ok, so in your shoes I might: Talk to her again about recovery. Talk to her about her interests and some things she might like to be able to do in her life and how much better it would be if she recovered. Let her say that she can "do it on her own" Then give her a timeframe. Ok, great, I'm really glad you are saying this so let's see how it goes, let's say that you can have 3 weeks to gain some weight and show us that you can do this but we are here for you if you cannot. If she cannot, then you step in and insist that she join you for family meals and see an ED therapist. Let her know that you will want to put these conditions in place beforehand.

We have tried this several times. The first time we gave my d. 3 weeks to gain 1lb and she was unable to do so, so I then stepped in and helped and we brought her weight up together. We then tried it a second time after a breakup with a boyfriend which resulted in some weight loss and I let her know that she would need to come home and leave college if she was unable to gain, and lo and behold she gained some weight on her own and has been maintaining.  

My d. also suggested that she wanted to become a vegan at one point at which we vehemently made it clear that was completely unacceptable because someone with an eating disorder could not adopt such a restrictive diet and that she needs the calcium for bone health. 

One thing that has helped me enormously was that I have/had a therapist who is an eating disorders therapist; I have sessions with her alone when I feel I am struggling with how to handle things and need practical advice about what to do to propel my d. forward towards someday being in full recovery. She has had some very good suggestions and knows the illness intimately and it has been an important tool in my toolbox. I hope you can try to find some support for yourself on the ground and use the energy it can give you to feel your way forward in this situation.

Good luck, I am cheering you on.

warmly,

Kali



__________________
Food=Love
Torie

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 5,360
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi sowego,  Thanks so much for the update.  I really appreciate it when people take the time to let us know how things are going.  I'm really sorry you and your d and the rest of the family are still visited by the villain ED - what an awful, vile illness.  I wonder if you have considered coming to the US for one of the week-long intensive family programs.  Unless your d is financially independent, you still have some real leverage.   I realize that may not be a viable option for your family, and I don't want you to feel you have to explain why that might be the case.  But if you came back in hopes of hearing people's random suggestions, I thought I would throw that one in the mix.

Please remember to take care of yourself.  This takes such a terrible toll on everyone. xx

-Torie


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

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,559
Reply with quote  #8 
I'm here to tell you that recovery is possible and keep talking about it.  We were stuck in the go around for almost 15 years.  My daughter finally got a taste of what I've been talking about for years-she found something she is passionate about and the eating has followed.  She works with animals, birds specifically and she knows now that in order to work with the birds, she has to eat and keep herself healthy.  I think it was a combination of finding what she loves doing and hitting walls in terms of not eating enough.  She wanted to go out and help rescue wild birds or work on oil spills but found her eating was enough to support those kinds of activities so for the first time in her life instead of giving up her dreams, she ate to support them. That's not to say that she didn't need meal support or that she didn't need a good swift kick on the *ss at times to keep her going but she is doing it and getting better every single day.

I never stopped hoping this day would come but quite honestly I doubted for years I'd ever see it.  You will too.
sowego

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #9 
Thank you all so very very much for reaching out and putting your virtual arms around me- at least that is how it feels. I know you all get it, and I wish it didn't have to take such an enormous toll on every one of us.
I do feel very disheartened after all the efforts my D and us have put in over the years. And I suppose we are not really back at square one, but revisiting square one for fourth time. We are all older and somewhat wiser but lacking in energy or stamina to go yet another round. 
Teecee, yes the 'I wonder' reframe is helpful, and could be useful for me in terms of not being too rigid about how things move forward- something does need to change this time for sure.

Nicstar4, thank you for mentioning Tabitha Farrar- she does sound great. My D had a good therapist, but recently she started to really challenge ED and my D just ran for the hills and says she won't go back. The T also wanted D to pay for her own sessions as she would be more invested in it, and D said she was just going because we wanted her to go. She was unable to seek help from the T when the downward slide started even though she saw her every week. I feel really cross that D just let herself slide and didn't put up more of a fight-or else we just didn't give her the support she needed. I think the T missed how much she was struggling and my D is not upfront about her struggles.

Foodsupport and Kali: I don't see anyone for support for me- I imagine having someone who understands ED would be really useful. D's recent therapist did involve us from time to time which is unusual for age 21. My H and I just get upset or angry when we talk about how things are, so its not all that helpful for either of us. He is concerned that I get too enmeshed and he says he will leave if that happens. I know what he means on one level. But also I know I don't have much to give anymore in terms of fighting ED and I am minding my boundaries around this illness.If D was agreeable, I would have no problem doing meal support, but it can't be a battleground with an adult. 

kkhrd- I wish you all the best moving forward on this journey. There are many positive stories on here, and they have kept me going through many a dark hour. I agree it is positive that D pops in to see us so frequently, and I am much braver than before about saying what needs to be said, and she is much better at hearing it! But she will not accept support right now. 

Kali, what you suggested, about giving a time frame for progress on her own, which D is adamant about doing, sounds good. She hasn't been weighed in about two years, as recent therapist didn't do that. To be honest, I found it a relief too. So we have no real gauge on if she is making progress. Its fantastic your D was able to gain on her own and maintain, especially living so far from home. I would love my D to have a decent spell of wellness, enough to make it good enough to never want to slip backwards. 

Torie_ we are using financial leverage- we have not paid college fees but will pay for her if healthy. She paid them herself and the agreement is we will refund her when she has her health back. We thought she might not go back to college, but she wanted to be with friends etc again, so she paid them herself. I thought this was a clear commitment to recovery tbh. I have said several times, we want her to succeed at this and if she is ever struggling to come and eat with me. So far she has stayed away. 
I have often considered the week long programs in the US- they sound great. I think at this stage H would feel he is throwing away money. But I wouldn't rule it out myself.

At this moment in time, I feel somehow getting D to accept meal support may be the simplest way forward. Or are we just going round in another circle if this happens? 


teecee

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 305
Reply with quote  #10 
Mjkz
Thank you soooo much for this. It’s lifted me somewhat to know that it can happen. 1 year...15years ...I will never give up even if it does take years. 😊💕
sowego

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #11 
Mkjz- thank you so much for chiming in with your very positive experience. I am often in awe of how you have stayed the course and seem so strong, for so very long. It must be great to see your D progressing all the time. 
I hear what you are saying - focus on the dreams and passions- and keep talking about recovery.  Thankfully my D has dreams and passions- I am very grateful she has these. I must get recovery talk back into our conversations.  I know these kind of conversations are often percieved as 'pressure' from me. I am working on trying to get her to see we are on the same side, and that I won't stand aside and watch ED ruin her life. Yet, she keeps telling me to back off and respect how she wants to do things. 

 I'd say she is BMI 15 or so now so I feel we will have to get some sort of major shift soon. It has been very helpful to get support here and try and garner some ideas and strength to move forwards.
Best wishes to all you warriors out there[smile]


melstevUK

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 2,715
Reply with quote  #12 
Sowego,

How I sympathise because this illness drains and pushes us to the limit and we think there will never be an end to it.  However, there are some positives - mainly that your d in her heart still wants to recover.  I am struck by the following phrases:

"But she will not accept support right now."

I would be looking at that as - she will not accept support FROM YOU.  So tell her that, if she does not want support from you, who is she going to accept support from, because she needs support from someone.

"She returned to college and had the best 6 months she ever had  in recent years, but then since April has slipped back down again. "

So she had six good months, are you able to explore with her what went wrong and why things went backwards again?  Was she too hard on herself, were her expectations too high, did she not quite get the grades she wanted?  There must have been reasons for the success and then the decline.  Did she get lazy and ignore the structure she needs to maintain around eating to keep herself well at this stage?  If she had six months - remind her that she can have good times again and that, with practice, it will get easier to keep the recovery going longer.  Try and stay unemotional and pragmatic, and point out the success, not the going backwards.  

"I want to believe her when she tells me so earnestly that she can recover by herself, to stop stressing over her. "
I wouldn't waste time and energy believing her - tell her straight that she wants to think she can do this by herself but she can't so she needs to stop living with this illusion.  This takes you back to my comments initially - she won't let you help her, so who is she going to let in and help her?  Don't humour her - tell her she cannot do this on her own and needs to take responsibility and find someone to support her - therapist, dietitian, psychologist, anyone of her choice but she needs to commit to having someone in her life to help move things forward.

"I want to be able to work and travel when i feel like it-"
So do it - tell your d that you love her, that you will do whatever it takes to help her recover but you need your life as well and you want to enjoy it, and her illness is taking the joy out of your life.  Tell her that, when she is stronger, you can start doing things together and going on trips together, but that you do not want to go away with her illness.  

Kali seems to have some great ideas for getting d to comply with coming back home and putting weight on.  I never managed this way so I can't advise on that level.  I just pushed my d to keep moving forward with her life and dreams and said that I would not accept her being ill and being an invalid all her life and that she had to fight to get well.

Your d is certainly not in denial about her illness but at 21 her major brain changes have still not taken place and she is still in adolescent mode with values of thinness and everything that keeps the illness going.  But if she is at college then she has dreams and aspirations - what are they?  Are those dreams clearly articulated and can she see how the illness is going to hold her back from achieving them unless she gets real and starts seeking support?  Keep expressing confidence that she will recover with time - when she also matures and learns to accept that she has many other qualities and that life can be worthwhile without staying at skeletal levels.  

It is such a tough journey - but hang on in there.  My own d took 11 years to move into a very solid recovery at the age of 26.  We visited my mother together just this weekend and went out and ate and enjoyed eating out together for probably the first time ever.  At the age of 21 she was a nursing student who was still enmeshed in the illness very determined to do her recovery by herself.  I just kept telling her that she was in denial, that it would not happen unless she got support and she used to get annoyed with me.  Eventually she realised she could not do her job without eating and putting on weight and around 24 finally started to be able to 'let go' and start to eat more as she observed how relaxed her friends were about eating and she started to be envious and resentful of the amount of control her illness had over her.  

So with time, nagging, encouragement, and pushing her towards her future dreams, your d will come through this.  But she has to start seeing how her illness is limiting her life probably, before she dares to make changes.  In the meantime, show her that you no longer wish your life to be joyless and coloured by her illness  and that you want to do nice things again in your own life, with or without her.  Pull her into your life - don't let her illness pull you into hers.  It is a hard lesson to learn but as parents we have to do that if we are to stay the course.  

You have done great to get this far - you are going to be OK and get your d through the next stages.  You just have to change the dynamic of the situation because you all appear to have become 'stuck'.  You just need some small changes to change that dynamic and some bigger changes will then follow.



__________________
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
sowego

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #13 
I have read and reread all the replies several times today, I am holding on to thoughts of recovery again and trying to keep thinking of ways to push onwards and upwards. Thank you to everyone who has offered support - it really has been helpful in so many ways, especially as my H feel so negative and hopeless about things. I think he feels better after hearing me talk of recovery again today!
Melestev- thank you for sharing your thoughts on our predicament. I can only admire and wonder at how you continued to keep nudging forwards for so long. It is so lovely you can enjoy seeing your D recover and continue to thrive. You have a wonderful way of cutting to the chase and giving really helpful phrases to use when talking with my D. I know I have used some of your advice other times too. I feel more equipped to have a conversation with D. I was all set to try talking today but D seemed very stressed and asked me to stop speaking to her- not a good sign at all. 
I will try again tomorrow- things are not going well for her on many levels it seems. 
SeaLion

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #14 
Sowego, thank you so much for sharing your update.  I'm sorry you've been in the storm so long.  You sound absolutely lovely.  It's very painful for me when I've been lied to or pushed back verbally by my daughter.  After I've tried to discuss her situation, I've been the target of the cold and stony-eyed stare, and then I catch myself avoiding her for a couple of days.  We actually have a warm and close relationship, when not under the influence of ED!  I completely relate to your fatigue, worry, and frustration.  We've been battling my daughter's ED for 4 years.  ED sneaked in quite a while before that, but yes, it's been 4 years of active fighting.  I can't help mourning that anniversary, when ED is still almost the first thing I think about, when I wake up each day.

I ask myself sometimes, "Which kind of denial is my daughter showing now?", because there are several.  Denial of fact, denial of impact, denial of (her) responsibility, denial of cycle, denial of awareness, and even denial of denial.  I learned of these things in dealing with addicted family members.  Fortunately, my daughter is not using alcohol or drugs, but the experience from my side feels awfully familiar.  It's simply crazy-making.

I can't count how many appointments my D attended, in which I felt that she was just barely toeing the line, not accepting that there was a problem, yet staying stable (weight wise) with the support of a therapist and dietitian.  It was as if, just to prove to all of us that she didn't have an ED -- that her ONLY problem was an overprotective mother -- she would comply.  But that was while living at home.  Since her recent transition to college, nearby, I'm getting that awful gut feeling, from her demeanor, and her actual table behaviors, and her glib tone (and her lies), of something not being right.  She lives on campus, but we do see her once or twice a week, and usually there's a meal involved.  With a little fact checking, we've confirmed that she is restricting at school. 

She denies it, of course, but all of the signs are appearing like clockwork, and academic struggles will set in soon.  She still cannot admit (except sometimes on a "just now" basis) that her fatigue, anxiety and isolating tendencies have anything to do with being undernourished.  In fact she says she's enjoying "not stressing about food," but it's incredibly obvious to her Dad and me that she's not eating regularly enough.  She's not even showering regularly enough, a typical sign of her fatigue and a drop in mood.  She loves college, and we love her being in college, after a bumpy time in high school and the miracle of graduating from high school on time. 

My husband and I know what will happen next, from all of the years of this pattern repeating, if we don't interrupt this cycle.  She is so hard on herself, and doesn't forgive her own "failures" or setbacks.  I'm scared of severe depression, more scared of that than I am of my daughter reacting angrily to our efforts at helping. 

Thanks to all who replied, I'm gathering ideas for the next conversations and steps.  Recent attempts have not gone well, but she knows we are concerned, and at least she still comes home to visit once or twice a week.  My husband and I are a united front on this.  We wrote up a relapse prevention contract, and seeing a therapist is a condition of our continuing to support our daughter at school.  It is urgent, however, I've been feeling too traumatized and depleted (though sometimes relieved that she's out from underfoot!), to search for a new, ED-literate therapist for my daughter.  There were things I needed to put in place for myself, to scrape myself up off the floor, emotionally.  I suffered from PTSD prior to my D's ED.  A new therapist for myself is helping in this respect.  I believe that my daughter's former T was not pushing against ED, and did not make much headway in helping my daughter connect the dots.  I repeatedly asked her, and the dietitian, for stronger opposition to ED, but it just didn't happen, and I was always in the position of being the naysayer while my daughter filled her appt. chatting about other issues. 

After reading an article that made a world of sense to me, about sending kids to college at the right time, no sooner, I e-mailed Dr. Sarah Ravin.  She was kind enough to write back, with some recommendations about finding a therapist who WILL include the family, since this is what my daughter needs, 18 or not.  I hope to find 2 viable therapists, so that my daughter can choose, and perhaps feel a bit more invested than with the last few T's (and dietitians, the very word makes her roll her eyes). 

I like the idea of "If you won't take our support, then choose person A or B, because this is not happening all on your own." Again, thanks to all.  Grieving must be a normal part of the cycle, for families battling ED.  Sometimes we just have to cry it out and then get back on track.  Feedback, not failure.  Warm hugs and hot cups of tea to all of you. 

 

__________________
ToughEnough
melstevUK

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 2,715
Reply with quote  #15 
sowego,

I am glad you can take some comfort from what everyone is saying.  

"I can only admire and wonder at how you continued to keep nudging forwards for so long."

I can only say that, as with any awful situation, the sun continues to come up and to go down and the days go by, and you just keep putting one foot in front of the other because there is no other choice.  I did think that we had failed to get a recovery because Janet Treasure, UK expert on anorexia nervosa, once wrote that an tends to take five to eight years to run its course.  I haven't got round to emailing her to tell her that we should not be looking at the illness in terms of number of years but in terms of moving from adolescence to maturity which usually occurs in the mid-twenties.  So much depends on the age at which the illness starts and how much support there is for getting a strong recovery going in the early stages.

However, even in the UK in specialist centres clinicians are still making unhelpful comments that patients may be chronically anorexic if are still ill at eighteen or nineteen - when actually this is simply not true.   It is appalling that clinicians are sending out messages with such a lack of hope - when there is always hope and when life experience and having someone supporting, pushing, believing in recovery can make a huge difference to the patient and his/her recovery.  

Sea Lion - I sometimes think that denial occurs precisely when patients are trying to keep moving  through life, because the effort required for daily living is so enormous, that pushing the thoughts away and doing the minimum in terms of fighting it is the only way to find the energy to do other things.  To take on the illness and actively fight it usually means a commitment is required, but at the same time doing this probably means having no ability to focus on other things - so patients keep going as long as they can, eventually start to go downhill again and then have another relapse.  Trying to get your life together with an eating disorder is difficult - but it maybe requires the illness to be ignored for a while when the patient wants to study or work.  My own d was unwell for most of her time at university - but when things got so bad that she could feel herself about to fall down the rabbit hole again big time, she agreed to spend a few weeks in hospital to get herself to a safer place again.  It is not ideal and we want to see them recovered more quickly than often occurs but sometimes it does not happen this way.  You are doing and will do all that is required to keep your d moving forward too.  It will be worth suggesting that d needs help again - but expressing confidence in her recovery at the same time. 

__________________
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
scaredmom

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 873
Reply with quote  #16 

This thread has really moved something in me.
The talk about never giving up and keep moving towards recovery strikes a chord.

Sowego, you have struggled so long and hard and I believe it is worth it. I hope you get time to take care of you and to remind you that you do have a life and you can enjoy it too. 
I have not been through what you have, and I really feel for you and send you my support and wish I could offer you a solution.   We are really early in our journey but, I believe all the wise souls who have posted, Foodsupport_AUS, Torie, Kali, mjkz, melstevUK, that you need  keep going.

I don't know any of you in real life but I "know" some of what you have been through and I want to say to you all, that your advice, based on the good and bad stuff you have been through and your perspectives, has  helped me and everyone here on ATDT. We are always learning here and you are all great teachers.

This is a thread I will come back to for support and guidance many times. I already have in the short time it has been up.
XXX

sowego

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #17 
That is such an interesting analysis of denial, Melstev. I think this describes what is going on right now in our house anyway. I think the following shows denial:
Today D came in to me in tears as she says she is very unhappy and not enjoying her life, and not doing anything she cares about. I started to say that trying to do college and live life like everyone else when she is in poor health is difficult but it would get easier when recovery starts. She got very annoyed and said I bring everything back to food. End of conversation. She feels that I connect everything to AN and she can't share her problems with me because of this.. And most of her problems probably ARE connected to AN. 
Later she calmed down and sent a very loving text, saying how well she did at dinner time despite being upset. I am not sure how much I believe this tbh.  But it is very hard to somehow dislodge her and us from this rut we are in. Maybe I  should have responded differently to her ? I am not good at thinking on my feet. 
SeaLion- I am sorry you are in a similar boat to mine. We had a therapist who did include us until two weeks ago and it was very helpful, so if you can find someone good it can be great. It provided a platform for each of us to speak and be heard about what was going on. We attended part of appointments for a while then every 6 weeks or so when things were much improved. 
I also will say that my D has matured  a bit over the past year and takes being 21 quite seriously, in terms of stating she is responsible for her etc. She is more rational and less volatile, we can talk more easily than ever. I am holding on for increasing maturity, which I think is really important as Melstev says. I see my D much less bothered by what other people think of her, for example. 
Part of me feels D wants to really open up to me, and wants my support emotionally anyway. So I'm not sure if I should just let her just open up, and say nothing that could be 'pressure'  and try and build up trust. I wish I were more skilled at this therapy stuff!
Scaredmom- thank you for your kind words. Taking on board some self care advice, H and I are going for a hike tomorrow,  a bit of a date!
Sending everyone best wishes.
melstevUK

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 2,715
Reply with quote  #18 
sowego,

Well we never expected to need to be therapists as parents did we, lol!  You clearly have a good relationship with your d and that, ultimately, is what counts because she will hear what you are saying.
You could suggest she lists all the areas where she feels she is not enjoying life and break the changes required into small steps.  This is a solution-focused approach and is really helpful - you will find a lot on it on the internet.  Basically, you think what life would be like if it was 'perfect' and break the path to get there into small steps.
Is d clear in her mind about her future, what job she wants to do, where she wants to live and is the unhappiness only temporary because she is struggling with college?  Is she worried about friendships?  Clearly an has a lot to do with it too, but she won't necessarily be able to see that.  As you say - there are signs of maturity so things are going in the right direction.
Delighted to hear you and h are going out on a hike.  D also needs to learn to put small nice things to do into her day so that it is not all doom and gloom.  Using reading to go into another world and doing something escapist has always helped me, at all stages of my life, for example.


__________________
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
Hibiscus

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #19 
Hey sowego,
What an amazing thread testifying to your love for your D and persistence against this horrific condition. While you have had such great advice,, I can’t add to this as a relative newcomer. However, when you talk about being a therapist, I found the chapters in Eva Musby ‘s book about communication really helpful regards reflective listening. Not a solution but has helped my communication with my D .
After a year of putting my own needs on hold and all that involves, I think it is important that you also need to look after yourself.
Xxx


tina72

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,855
Reply with quote  #20 
"So I'm not sure if I should just let her just open up, and say nothing that could be 'pressure'  and try and build up trust"

What I try to do with my young adult d (here in Germany they are legally adult at 18) is to talk to her like the member of a team. I try not to say "I think you should..." but "what idea do you have?", to offer her help in a way that makes her feel she decided that on her own, do you know what I mean? I try to talk to her on the same level (which is possible now and was surely not one year ago). That helps her to feel that we listen to her needs and ideas as well and just add our ideas and she can decide (although in serious things we still have the last word). 

"I wish I were more skilled at this therapy stuff!"
We all wish that. This was not in the baby books like someone said here recently. No one prepared us to be our kids therapist but as there is no one else that can do that most of us need to do. We learned so much in this time with AN and I am pretty sure you will learn even that.

"H and I are going for a hike tomorrow,  a bit of a date!" Try to do that as often as you can. There are so many marriages broken apart because of AN. Do something nice for yourself and for hubby. That is soooo important.

Tina72

__________________
d off to University now 22 months after diagnose, still doing FBT and relapse prevention 
SeaLion

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melstevUK
sowego,

I am glad you can take some comfort from what everyone is saying.  

"I can only admire and wonder at how you continued to keep nudging forwards for so long."

I can only say that, as with any awful situation, the sun continues to come up and to go down and the days go by, and you just keep putting one foot in front of the other because there is no other choice.  I did think that we had failed to get a recovery because Janet Treasure, UK expert on anorexia nervosa, once wrote that an tends to take five to eight years to run its course.  I haven't got round to emailing her to tell her that we should not be looking at the illness in terms of number of years but in terms of moving from adolescence to maturity which usually occurs in the mid-twenties.  So much depends on the age at which the illness starts and how much support there is for getting a strong recovery going in the early stages.

However, even in the UK in specialist centres clinicians are still making unhelpful comments that patients may be chronically anorexic if are still ill at eighteen or nineteen - when actually this is simply not true.   It is appalling that clinicians are sending out messages with such a lack of hope - when there is always hope and when life experience and having someone supporting, pushing, believing in recovery can make a huge difference to the patient and his/her recovery.  

Sea Lion - I sometimes think that denial occurs precisely when patients are trying to keep moving  through life, because the effort required for daily living is so enormous, that pushing the thoughts away and doing the minimum in terms of fighting it is the only way to find the energy to do other things.  To take on the illness and actively fight it usually means a commitment is required, but at the same time doing this probably means having no ability to focus on other things - so patients keep going as long as they can, eventually start to go downhill again and then have another relapse.  Trying to get your life together with an eating disorder is difficult - but it maybe requires the illness to be ignored for a while when the patient wants to study or work.  My own d was unwell for most of her time at university - but when things got so bad that she could feel herself about to fall down the rabbit hole again big time, she agreed to spend a few weeks in hospital to get herself to a safer place again.  It is not ideal and we want to see them recovered more quickly than often occurs but sometimes it does not happen this way.  You are doing and will do all that is required to keep your d moving forward too.  It will be worth suggesting that d needs help again - but expressing confidence in her recovery at the same time. 

__________________
ToughEnough
SeaLion

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #22 
Thank you, melstevUK, I had a busy couple of weeks and didn't return to this thread for a while.  I've just found your kind reply.  I'm learning a new approach, almost a new language as a parent of a young adult... Sometimes I have to point out the need for change, but expressing "confidence in her recovery" sounds like a winning strategy! 



Quote:
Originally Posted by melstevUK
sowego,

I am glad you can take some comfort from what everyone is saying.  

"I can only admire and wonder at how you continued to keep nudging forwards for so long."

I can only say that, as with any awful situation, the sun continues to come up and to go down and the days go by, and you just keep putting one foot in front of the other because there is no other choice.  I did think that we had failed to get a recovery because Janet Treasure, UK expert on anorexia nervosa, once wrote that an tends to take five to eight years to run its course.  I haven't got round to emailing her to tell her that we should not be looking at the illness in terms of number of years but in terms of moving from adolescence to maturity which usually occurs in the mid-twenties.  So much depends on the age at which the illness starts and how much support there is for getting a strong recovery going in the early stages.

However, even in the UK in specialist centres clinicians are still making unhelpful comments that patients may be chronically anorexic if are still ill at eighteen or nineteen - when actually this is simply not true.   It is appalling that clinicians are sending out messages with such a lack of hope - when there is always hope and when life experience and having someone supporting, pushing, believing in recovery can make a huge difference to the patient and his/her recovery.  

Sea Lion - I sometimes think that denial occurs precisely when patients are trying to keep moving  through life, because the effort required for daily living is so enormous, that pushing the thoughts away and doing the minimum in terms of fighting it is the only way to find the energy to do other things.  To take on the illness and actively fight it usually means a commitment is required, but at the same time doing this probably means having no ability to focus on other things - so patients keep going as long as they can, eventually start to go downhill again and then have another relapse.  Trying to get your life together with an eating disorder is difficult - but it maybe requires the illness to be ignored for a while when the patient wants to study or work.  My own d was unwell for most of her time at university - but when things got so bad that she could feel herself about to fall down the rabbit hole again big time, she agreed to spend a few weeks in hospital to get herself to a safer place again.  It is not ideal and we want to see them recovered more quickly than often occurs but sometimes it does not happen this way.  You are doing and will do all that is required to keep your d moving forward too.  It will be worth suggesting that d needs help again - but expressing confidence in her recovery at the same time. 





__________________
ToughEnough
Aussie

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 232
Reply with quote  #23 
Hey Sowego
I too haven't been on this wonderful forum for a long time. I was on here regularly, to be honest daily about 6yrs ago when my daughter was diagnosed at 14. Your situation with your d sounds very similar to mine. My d was coping really well with her recovery for about 3yrs. Recently she too decided to go vegan. The only difference is she still lives with me, so I'm able to watch from a distance to ensure that she is eating. She recently relapsed and is back seeing her psych every two to three weeks. My d is now 20 and is at university part time. She is hoping to go back to full time study next year but that all depends on her ability to cope. She also works as a swimming instructor so she is to a large degree financially independent. I do have some financial leverage but I don't like to use that as a carrot as my d sees that as me trying to control her. 
This horrible disease of ED takes so much from us and impacts on our lives as carers and parents. I am supportive of my d in everything she does but I also try to be vigilant to ensure that she doesn't slip back down the rabbit hole. She is currently into pole fitness and is entering her first competition. I'm very aware of her exercise as she developed obsessive routines in the past. I try really hard to keep the communication open with my d. She is able to tell me when she is struggling with ED and is at a stage now where she makes her own appointments with her psych. She drives herself to see him. I pay for her therapy and will continue to do this for as long as she needs it. My d finds navigating the adult world a struggle at times. She is still emotionally immature but uses the strategies she learns to help her to regulate her emotions and reactions. It has been a long road to get to this point which has taken a toll on me. I'm just starting to get my life back although I still don't like to leave her alone for long periods of time due to self harming behaviour in the past.
It's hard for us when our ds are transitioning into the adult world as we know that there are times when they will struggle and ED will undoubtedly rear its ugly head. Help your d to develop the strategies to cope with the adult world, fortunately she lives right next to you so you can keep a watchful eye on her. Provide a support network for your d so that she knows that there is help available when she needs it and keep the communication honest and open.
With much love and hugs
Aussie xx
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

GREETINGS, F.E.A.S.T. Community! As of July 1, 2018 you can access this forum directly without logging in at the main site. If this is your first login since that date please reset your password by using the "lost password" option. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are preparing a new website and services for the parent community to be rolled out soon! If you have questions or concerns, or trouble resetting your password, please contact us at Admin@FEAST-ed.org

F.E.A.S.T. Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders
is a 501(c)3 charitable organization committed to maintaining the Around the Dinner Table forum as a FREE service for any caregiver of a loved-one with an eating disorder.

P.O. Box 1281 | Warrenton, VA 20188 USA

US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +443308280031 

This forum is sponsored by F.E.A.S.T., an organization of parents serving parents and caregivers of patients of all ages with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Information and advice given on this forum does not necessarily represent the policy or opinion of F.E.A.S.T. or its volunteers and is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation.

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Community Rules | | F.E.A.S.T. Principles | YMadmin | WTadmin
Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content: