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

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Muminhope
Hi I’m back again. Reading and surfing in this forum every day has become my daily routine which have helped me and encouraged me a lot during my D’s recovery journey. We live in Vancouver Canada. My AN D is on her WR since she was discharged last October. We set up “no food no life” rule in our family. I told D that if she didn’t finish her meal I would ask her to stay at home or I would take the food to her school. She followed the rule before, however, this morning she spit out the last bite of milk into her cup and poured it out in front of me. I asked her to rest at home until she drinks some more milk. She refused and went to school directly. I brought milk to her school and met her counselor. I talked her counselor if she could help to ask D to go downstairs and drink up milk in the office. The counselor told me she would not be involved with any issues related to meals and food. She said if she did it would destroy the relationship between my D and hers. She told my D that she only be assistant to D’s academic request. The counselor asked me if we have any psychologist or therapist to support us. She said parents need counseling for their stress emotions.I told her we had one before but D never responded them at all. So only myself visited the psychologist every week last year. I participated workshops in our local community about emotion coaching and behavior coaching for care providers. The counselor said normally somebody would consider to provide ED kids a chance and see what will happen next time. I told her I tried this practice before and found once I opened the door of ED only one tiny of hole and the hole opens wider and wider. What I would like to do is to close the door as firmly as I can. Based on today’s conversation with the counselor I know I can’t get meal support from the school. I am wondering if anyone have any experience and what normally you do if your ED kids go to school without finishing her meals. Any comments? Looking forward to having your opinions. Thank you so much!
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Foodsupport_AUS
I would suggest offering some form of consequence for breaking the rules. Your D may be ill, however she is clearly trying to challenge the rules about food and meal completion - either through fear or ED thoughts. This however seems to be more than just food refusal. 

One thought would be to require a supplement later today as a consequence of not finishing and spitting out
If this is declined it still follows with the no food no life rule. 

I also wonder if your D's ED is giving her a harder time, and this is why things happened today. There may be other stressors. If your D was discharged from Hospital in October has she continued to gain weight as is normal for teens? Even if growth in height is completed weight gain of a few kg per year is expected. Has there been a plateau or even recent subtle loss in weight? 
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.
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ValentinaGermania
We also had this no breakfast no school rule. I wander how your d was able to leave and go to school? How does she get to school? By foot? Then take away her shoes until she finished breakfast, she will not leave on socks. By bus? Take away the ticket. By bike? Lock the bike or deflate the tires...

"Based on today’s conversation with the counselor I know I can’t get meal support from the school."
What about morning snack in school and lunch? How did you do that up to now?
If school does not support meals (I think they MUST due to the law but I am not sure about your region), she cannot go to school until you can trust her that she eats there. It is that simple.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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MKR
Good to hear from you again @Muminhope! You have made such great progress. And I didn't know you have put so much effort to be a good carer.

The ED pops up now and again, it is not unusual. But you have caught it quickly now.

You must be so disappointed with the school policy. My daughter's school has a counsellor but it is the deans - one for every 200 or so girls - who look after the students in more practical ways. We were fortunate that they understood ED straight away (or maybe they knew more than we did, from earlier cases?).

Sounds like the entire school staff needs to learn about the dangers of ED. I believe there is a law in Canada where the school has the duty to keep the students safe.

We didn't ask for supervision. My daughter's father drove to school at lunchtime and she had to eat in the car. I just gave her big breakfasts and dinners and hoped that nothing in her lunchbox would be thrown away. It took me much longer to do lunches without supervision but we got there.

One day the dean spotted our daughter running into the school after lunch. She stopped her, sat her down, made her eat all her lunch. I was sooo grateful.

In the meantime, I agree with @Foodsupport_AUS that you should set consequences for your daughter (and rewards), until such time that ED no longer tries to play games. You are in charge, you have done so well and won't let things slip back.

All the best,
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Torie
Oh dang, the school can be a real complication.

My d's counselor was worthless as an ally against ED.  Clueless and "not my job" type of attitude.  We also have a social worker for our school - she was somewhat less clueless but also utterly unhelpful.  The school nurse was better.  The principal (surprisingly) was the most clued in.  I can't say that ANY of them provided any actual help with meal support; just pointing out that there are other potential allies other than the counselor to consider.

I wonder what would happen if you went to the office and asked them to bring your d to you for "an appointment."  (We had many "appointments" that were a bit unconventional during ED.)   Then maybe take your d out to the car to finish that last bite/sip and if she refuses, maybe actually take her to the center or hospital or whatever?

Just tossing out ideas here - I realize my thoughts may likely be a poor match for the situation you are in on the ground. 

Glad you are taking this seriously!  Please let us know how it works out. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Muminhope
Thank you so much for all of your kind support and feedbacks! So helpful. D is very sensitive to any other people to know her illness. That’s why I normally talk with her counselor directly if there are any issues of ED. She was the only contact in the school when my D was in inpatient unit. I went to school that day and I texted D message that I was in the car to wait for her but she said no need and didn’t show up. So I went to the counselor’s office and D only accepted to talk with the counselor. D’s weight kept down after she was discharged last October and stopped going down since December. So far she’s going up and has gained several pounds when she has checks in the clinic bi weekly. But I know she still haven’t restored her weight. She’s just a little beyond minimum weight  in her range. Due to her WR requirement we need to watch her meals every moment. My H or I supervise her lunch in the car when she’s in school. However we can’t supervise her morning snack. She promised us she did eat up her morning snacks every day but I doubt it. So normally we give her big breakfast and lunch. She blamed her father and I and said we made her so much stressful due to always asking her to eat this and eat that (no bargain, very tough)so that she’s haunted in thinking food and can’t concentrate to listen to teachers on classes. Honestly I feel so sad when I heard what she said. The consequence for D is no wirelss or cell phone service and rest at home if she doesn’t finish her meals. Others like as no outing activity or socials on no school days. D is clear about this consequence. She followed this rule because she didn’t want anyone in her school to supervise her meals. However, after the conversation with her counselor yesterday, she’s not afraid any more because she knows no one in school will be involved in her meals. What I have the concern is that is it really true that I pushed D too much and made her so stressful? Another concern is about the support from her school. I thought schools should support or provide some assistance for students’ health needs but it seems not this case. I don’t know if it’s true or if I should talk with some administration in the school.
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ValentinaGermania
Muminhope wrote:
She blamed her father and I and said we made her so much stressful due to always asking her to eat this and eat that (no bargain, very tough)so that she’s haunted in thinking food and can’t concentrate to listen to teachers on classes. Honestly I feel so sad when I heard what she said.


That is full blown ED talk and not true. You know that by heart. You do not ask her to do something special or mean or dangerous. You ask her to eat food. That is what is basically needed to survive. She cannot concentrate on the lessons because her brain is malnurished and she is underweight. That is the truth.

Muminhope wrote:
What I have the concern is that is it really true that I pushed D too much and made her so stressful? Another concern is about the support from her school. I thought schools should support or provide some assistance for students’ health needs but it seems not this case. I don’t know if it’s true or if I should talk with some administration in the school.


NO. You have not pushed too hard. It is ED that makes eating stressfull and not you.
Please ask ENN about the canadia school law, she will know if schools MUST supervise meals and snacks or not.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
"D is very sensitive to any other people to know her illness."

Maybe you can use that to your advantage.  I wonder what would happen if you said, "You must finish that breakfast or I will need to speak with the principal about pulling you out of class to finish."

"That’s why I normally talk with her counselor directly if there are any issues of ED. She was the only contact in the school when my D was in inpatient unit. I went to school that day and I texted D message that I was in the car to wait for her but she said no need and didn’t show up. So I went to the counselor’s office and D only accepted to talk with the counselor."

That sounds like a very difficult situation, but somehow you need to find a way to be in charge of this.  Once ED finds a loophole, the loophole will keep getting bigger if you cannot find a way to close it.

"She blamed her father and I and said we made her so much stressful due to always asking her to eat this and eat that (no bargain, very tough)so that she’s haunted in thinking food and can’t concentrate to listen to teachers on classes. Honestly I feel so sad when I heard what she said."

As Tina said, your d might actually believe this, but it is not true.  It is NOT your fault that she needs regular nutrition; it is NOT your fault you enforce this; it is NOT your fault she can't concentrate.  Do not let her make you feel bad about this!  You are saving her life by requiring her to eat.  I got in the habit of saying something like, "I'm sorry this is so hard" and then changing the subject.  It is great that you are very tough and do not bargain!  That is what will (eventually) make it possible for her to be able to concentrate again.

"What I have the concern is that is it really true that I pushed D too much and made her so stressful?"

Nope.  It would be much harder for her to eat if you didn't push as hard.  It is your loving pushing that makes it POSSIBLE for her to eat.

"Another concern is about the support from her school. I thought schools should support or provide some assistance for students’ health needs but it seems not this case. I don’t know if it’s true or if I should talk with some administration in the school."

I don't know the laws in Canada.  I do know that food is her medicine, and if they are not going to supervise, then you will need to do that.  I hope it will not come to a terrible battle, but if it does, it is a battle you must win.  Often (sadly) they respond better to a man so perhaps your husband could speak with them about this either with you or on his own.  If they cannot or will not administer her medicine (food), then they will have to bring her to you so that you can do that.  It is as simple - and difficult - as that.  Otherwise, she will eat less and less until she is not able to attend school at all.

Sorry for the strong words.  I wish I could suggest an easier approach. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Foodsupport_AUS
I have to agree with both Torie and Valentina. These lines are straight out of the ED play book. Absolutely I would use her threats and need for privacy against ED (not against her). Not eating meals is a not negotiable part of ED treatment. If you can't be sure that all meals are eaten and school is not helping with supervision the next option is pulling her out of school or you coming in to supervise. It may make her angry, mad or stressed - but that is ED. The same goes with anxiety about eating at school. Unfortunately this is really normal where things are at the moment. 

I am not in Canada so don't know the rules but I would have thought there should be some support for a child with a chronic illness, some form of planning or management. Her meals are her medicine, and if she needs assistance to have this I would hope they provide something for her. It may be worth discussing this further with administration. Your D may also need special support if she is anxious in class about meals as well. She of course won't want anyone to know but if she can't manage the meals then it will be necessary to go down that line. 
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.
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ValentinaGermania
Please ask for more help and school policy with EDs here:
https://nedic.ca/
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Enn

You need to talk to someone above this counsellor. The principal or even the superintendent of the school board.
You need an IEP for your d.
With COVID19 precautions now Ontario, schools have  been shut down for two weeks after March Break until April 5 th. March 14 until that April date. Is that the casein BC yet?
 This counsellor is siding with ED and you need someone else. Don’t be afraid of asking for a change. Don’t be afraid of demanding the best for your d. Go in as a team with your h. I tend to be more direct than my h. 
You may need a doctor’s note or note from your team describing the accommodations needed for your d and the school is supposed to work hard to do that. That is part of the Human Rights commission legislation. 

I recall you were waiting for out patient ED services do you have them now- I hope. 
We have social workers here and child and youth workers to help out with meal support. That counsellor at school sounds like they know nothing at all and that they have no place to tell you anything about ED. If they cannot help with meal support someone else in the school must. 

Anyway some of this maybe moot as schools are closed here and likely will be on your province soon enough if not already.

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Muminhope
Thank you so much for your comments. This is really helpful to me! D has monthly exam in our local community clinic and we are provided a family therapist as well. However this therapist said it’s not right time for her to start the treatment with D because D doesn’t like to talk with anyone about her illness. 
Enn, your inputs are so important to me. I have decided to talk with the therapist for D’s doctor notes and meanwhile I will talk with school management about their plan for sick kids. Due to outbreak of Cov-19, BC has announced to suspend schools from K-12 indefinitely. I think this is a good time for us to supervise D to have her meals every day without interrupting her classes. Thanks again for all of your support! Wish everyone all best and take care yourselves and families well under such situation.
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MKR
Muminhope wrote:
D has monthly exam in our local community clinic and we are provided a family therapist as well. However this therapist said it’s not right time for her to start the treatment with D because D doesn’t like to talk with anyone about her illness. 


We had a similar situation. Our therapist refused to talk to our D until she gained certain amount of weight. Well, she tried in the beginning, and D got upset, argued, not ready to understand what anyone was saying.

All the best to your family, stay safe!
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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