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

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hello everyone,
I am looking for some advice on how to help my daughter. She is 14.5 and we found out she has AN approximately 5 weeks ago. She has not been admitted although we do have a weekly CAMHS appointment at the moment as they are concerned about her. She seems to have lost weight very quickly - we think this has been going on for about 3-4 months. 

Our problem is that she is (obviously) very reluctant to eat - she doesn't want to gain any weight and doesn't believe she is ill. She becomes very aggressive and violent when we try to get her to eat - punching us, spitting, and hitting herself in the face/banging her head on the floor/bath/window ledges. She is covered in bruises and looks awful.

Camhs are thinking of admitting her because of the violence. We lost weight last week and i suspect we will lose weight again this week.
She is still going to school but gets very upset about teachers supervising snack, being supervised for lunch. If we stop her going I am worried she will just stop eating.

Any advice for dealing with this kind of behaviour? lots of people say 'i won't tolerate it' but she is like a wildcat - she can't listen to us when she is like this.

thank you

Hello and welcome!

Eds are tough. What you describe is quite normal and expected and even though she does not seem to want to gain or eat, she absolutely MUST! The violence is common and so is the self harm. I tend to agree with your team that if things are getting worse at home on all fronts, eating and punching. Then a higher level of care should be considered. Many of us had to take our kids out of school, many of us had to stop working and supervise our kid 24/7 and even some have had to sleep with our child to keep them and make them feel safe. 

We had some violence, and our d was 12 at the time. We did tell her we would call the police if she was out of control. That worked here and we were very willing to do that. We also have a mental health crisis line to call if need be. 
If she stops eating if you keep her home, then you take her to the hospital. Things may need to change drastically to get the eating going. I know it is seems harsh but stepping in and stopping the behaviours needs to happen. I know it was the hardest thing I had to do. I wanted to do with d's consent and compliance, but that will not work . She is so ill, your d, she does not know how ill she is and YOU will need to make it clear what the goals are, fighting or not. 

Sending my best. 
Please keep reading around the forum. Please take a look at there re-feeding thread started by Kali.
I know others will be here soon with their thoughts. 

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)
thank you for your advice. doesn't help she has a black belt in martial arts😂.
My first advice is to lock everything away that can be used to hurt you or herself. Knifes, scissors, anything sharp. Check her room when she is in school.
Everyone in the house needs to be as safe as possible.

"She becomes very aggressive and violent when we try to get her to eat - punching us, spitting, and hitting herself in the face/banging her head on the floor/bath/window ledges."

I fear that is a quite normal behaviour, many families see that. How do you react on that?
Have you tried to leave the room for a short time until she calms down?
Have you tried to set consequences for that bad behaviour? You could for example tell her that any violence will not be accepted and lead to no phone and internet on the next day.

Is there maybe a mental health officer at your local police station that you could call to come around when she freaks out the next time?
I would call them at at least tell them that you have a mental health problem in your home at the moment and that you might need there help. Just to avoid that it will not happen that one of your neighbors calls them and they make a false conclusion when they see all these bruises...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
thank you. It is very hard to know how to react. At first we tried to grab her hands to stop her hitting herself but then she started headbutting. 
Can her dad try to hug her? In some cases a hard hug helps them to calm down. In other cases it is better to leave them alone for a few minutes (still supervised). Did you already talk with the team about her behaviour? Sometimes it helps to tell them that you will call the team to report the behaviour. Some calm down when you take the phone in your hand and they THINK you will call the team...
Please try to stop it or get help with it. The violence can be extreme with AN. It is important to make sure nobody is hurt seriously.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Vicky2019 wrote:
Camhs are thinking of admitting her because of the violence. We lost weight last week and i suspect we will lose weight again this week.
If CAMHS is willing to admit her, that is probably a good idea.  As it is often hard to get them to agree to make a bed available, I would personally be inclined to push for that. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Welcome to the forum. Getting started on refeeding is really hard. The lengths the illness will make them go to, in order not eat it can be extraordinary. It is also irrational and as you have seen can be dangerous. Keeping her and you all physically safe has to be number one priority, so if she is unable to control her ability to be violent then yes a higher level of care may be needed. 
I worry that if she is going to school and is not acting out in the way she is at home then she is either not eating, or she is trying to scare you away from requiring her to eat with her behaviour. As scary as it is for them to stop eating, it can be a sign that they really do need that higher level of care. It is important not to be bullied into doing what you know is not right - settling for less food - just because we are scared if we push to hard they may not eat at all. 

Please ask lots of questions. 
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.
You might see if you can predict the moments when she is likely to become violent and find a way to change the dynamic. For instance, if she becomes most agitated right before certain meals, could you arrange for someone else to take her out of the house at those times and bring her back when everything is set. We didn't think of this when our D was having troubles with violence, and I don't know if it would have worked, but it did work later to help her not get so anxious before the meal.

What did help for us was to simply provide her with the information that any kind of violence is a crime, as are a credible threat of violence and unwanted sharing of bodily fluids (snot, spit). If it would be a crime for someone walking down the street to do it to you, it would be a crime for your daughter to do it to you in your own home. I found something about domestic violence online, printed it out, and handed it to her. She was pretty offended, but I think it really sunk in. This, plus the threat that I would call the police, stopped the violence for a while. I made sure I always had my phone on me, and got it out whenever things were starting to heat up. 

After a month or so, she started pushing the limits again, and eventually I ended up calling the police. (I had spoken to them in advance about the situation.) They ended up letting her off with a warning, since this was the first time. This was hard for all of us, but there was no more violence or threat of violence.

I hope this helps. It's such a devastating thing to go through.

Don't hesitate to use the resources society provides to help you protect yourself. By doing this, you're also protecting your daughter. You can't gain control of her eating if she is continuing to use violence against you and herself.

Also, remember that your healthy daughter is still in there, seeing what the ED is making her do. By taking the steps (like calling the police or having her admitted to a higher level of care) to prevent her from acting on the violent urges, you're protecting your daughter from the feelings shame and guilt that come with having committed violent acts against the people she most loves.
Good idea to warn the police ahead of what sort of situation this is. And to keep their focus on violence not being acceptable. 

Although I explained during my call that we are having an anorexia situation, by the time they arrived, we all calmed down. My D (or her ED) managed to persuade them there was nothing wrong about "eating healthy" and suchlike. They commended her on "healthy choices" and the success ar school work. I was gutted but they did say a few words on violence not being OK.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Thank you for your advice. She has been better the last couple of days after we took her to a&e about her head injury. They wouldn’t admit her because of her aggression but we have a clinic appointment tomorrow so we will see what happens then
I cross fingers that you get some help there! Please keep us updated!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.