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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

donnamo3
Hi everyone. my name is Donna, I am blessed to have three beautiful children, 14 year old boy,and a 12 year old and 2 year old girls.
I an not enquiring regarding my own children.
I attend Uni, where I have met a few good friends. I have became friends with a young girl, 7 years older than my eldest. Others within the class have been discussing x's weightloss, and how they have not seen her eat this term.
Now, x has disclosed some information with myself. She has lost minimal 2stone, she barely eats, yet she is scared to come forward and speak. Her clothes fit my 12 year old daughter. The most worrying aspect for me is she came to class, she was bringing up bile, wouldn't eat, and didn't seem fazed by it.
All this information has been disclosed electronically, never in a conversation face to face.
I have called an eating disorder charity where they told me all i can do is wait, until she is ready to talk, or she needs medical help. Her parents do not live nearby, nor do her family.
I am worried sick, I have spent nights awake crying. Is there nothing I can do to help?
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamcg,

Not being medically trained or qualified I am very mindful of my response in terms of medical related replies.

That said from what you have said it sounds like this girl is in need of urgent intervention by qualified trained medical clinicians with special emphasis on being seriously Eating Disorder trained & experienced medical clinicians.

Do you have a medical support team at the uni you attend that can assist this girl? Some unis have eating disorder trained medical staff.

If you have a friendship with this girl & she is reaching out electronically its most likely that she is reaching out this way as her eating disorder noise in her head will not let her reach out face to face. You might be able to ask here electronically if she would like your assistance to find her some help.

In the mean time there are some clinical advisors to this forum that I hope will visit soon & post some clinical advice for you.


It is great that you are concerned & looking for some help. You are in a wonderful forum with heaps of knowledge & experience for you to draw upon.

Warm & Kind thoughts to you
ED Dad
Quote
dad67
From what you describe, it appears she needs medical evaluation as soon as possible.  In the beginning this often is a medical trauma situation - 2 stone weight loss, no intake and bringing up bile warrant an immediate trip to a physician (or emergency room).  There may likely be an ED at work here, however, her immediate health should be the concern and she should have a complete work-up done (heart rate, blood pressure, body temp, blood work, etc.) to ascertain where she is at risk and whether hospitalization is necessary to stabilize her.  I regret everyday that we almost waited til it was too late to get my D to a hospital - she had a dangerously low heart rate and BP and needed immediate admission to ICU.  Sounds like this may be tricky as this is not your child and may be of adult age, however, her family needs to be informed and hopefully can initiate immediate steps to ensure she is out of harms way.  From there, may be a long road of treatment but it has to start with ensuring she is not medically compromised.  Very difficult I understand, but I for one would want someone to tell me if they felt my daughter was in danger.
Dad of daughter with ED
Quote
donnamo3
Thanks for the replies. I have tried aussie. I told her to make the appointment, I told her I would do which sprung a big argument, can't force the wee lassie to go she's over age but I know she's heading down a very dark path.
Dad, I don't know the family, lecturers have been informed of situation, they had a chat and nothing further came from it, although she never spoke to any of us in class for nearly a week. I was hoping they would contact home too. I don't know what else to do.
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamcg,

All you can do is be there if she needs to talk or needs anything else. The great difficulty is that people who are experiencing an eating disorder cannot see what's wrong & that they are ill. Their brain is starved & cognitive ability is impaired.

All you can do is try to lead her in the direction & hopefully she may reach out or you are there when she needs you!
ED Dad
Quote
donnamo3
I called an eating disorder charity and they told me pretty much along the same lines, can't help until she wants it or requires medical intervention. I feel that's too late all her organs must be getting affected. She's a lovely wee lassie too, feel helpless, she confided in me, and I am unable to do anything with regards to it.
She can become quite nasty when I try tell her she needs to be seen by someone, I offered to take her myself.
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamcg,

The nasty response is not really this girl it is actually her eating disorder that's responding. Those with eating disorders are very much like someone with two entirely separate personalities One is the real person while the other is the eating disorder monster that when challenged can be the nastiest & horrible monster. Kind of like having a huge negative mind happening in their head is stead of having a big positive mind & only a small part of negative.

The trick with this young girl would be to some how get her real self to recognise she needs help.

Have you at all established a relationship with her family? If you can that might be a way for you to reach out to them & tell them about how ill she appears to be. If you do reach out to her family be prepared for some unexpected responses & possibly negative responses from this girl although it will be the ed part of her the responds negatively.

Warm & Kind thoughts to you
ED Dad
Quote
donnamo3
I appreciate this aussieedfamily, the advice you have given me. I have no relationship with the family, all i know with regards to then is they are 80miles or so away.
A few ladies from uni and myself have been discussing bringing in food ourselves, healthy options for her, and sitting with her at lunch. That way she knows we are not letting go, we will push her through this hurdle if need be.
My own fiance has told me to give it a by, someone else's issue, I don't for a second think there is a someone else.
We are really close, I have viewed her as one of my own for there years now, I need to know I have tried regardless if she wants to accept what is offered or not.
Quote
donnamo3
Hi everyone, I feel like I am being pushed for a response, earlier this evening I got a text from the girl saying she felt fat in what she was wearing, which turned into an argument saying she doesn't need help. It is not helping my selfesteem, I am a lot heavier than her, and feel conscience of the fact i am on the heavier side.
About half hour ago she messaged again, saying she has shooting pains in her head and doesn't feel 'right'. If she does not want help, why would she message me this?
I an worried about her wellbeing, but she has already said she does not want help, so I am unsure of what she wants of me? What am I to do?
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

Dilemma that is playing out here is that her inner person wants the help however the head noise eating disorder monster is the one arcing up saying she does not want help.

The one consistent is that she keeps touching base with you even though you keeping giving her the message she needs help so there is part of her trying to reach out. The difficult part is overcoming the head noise telling her she does not.


In your situation I would think about trying and to keep the message that you believe she is unwell & needs to see a doctor. The next step might be to ramp things up & contact her family.

Or you could simply make an appointment with a doctor & possibly the uni medical team tell her its made offer to take her there & turn up to take her.

Either of these two would ramp up the anxt/agro from her eating disorder side & may have a negative effect.

Its kind of like being told I am OK by someone who is bobbing up & down in a mental tidal rip & being swept out to the mental sea. 


While your self esteem maybe being battered to the people on this site you are an amazing person & hero in that you care for this girl & are trying to do something to help her when many in your situation have found it too hard & not tried. You are amazing & the whole ATD team admire respect & love you for the effort you have & are trying to put in.

Warm & Kind thoughts to you
ED Dad
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

You can try texting her that the shooting pains are her body & brain telling her she needs medical intervention & she needs to go to the doctor or hospital.

ED Dad
Quote
donnamo3
I have mentioned doctors but you have provided me with an idea thanks aussie.
Quote
donnamo3
Aussie thanks for advice. After a bit of persuasion Gave her decision I could call ambulance to have her checked out, or I could pick her up and she can stop here overnight providing she let's me check her over, I will find out more information and post it tomorrow since it is late.
If anyone could post any advice on what to do whilst she is technically under my roof would be appreciated. Night and thanks once more.
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

Not sure exactly what options you have while she is under your roof other than to say

1) Be honest in all your conversations
2) Be up front & consistent about your concerns for her health
3) Try to acknowledge that you know it is extremely hard & difficult for her at the moment
4( Be consistent in all that you do & say
5) Be prepared for some anxt/agro from her eating disorder side it will not like or appreciate your offer & actions of help as it wants to isolate this girl from anyone & everyone that has the best intentions for this girl & worst of intentions for the eating disorder.
6) Be prepared to have a protection plan within your house/family if/when her eating disorder side goes haywire.
7) Be prepared for urgent medical intervention to get her medically attended to
8) Try and do a mental separation between the girl that you know is within & reaching out to you & the irrational/dumb/nasty eating disorder that is trying to consume her. Kind of like Jeckle & Hyde scenario.

You truly are a wonderful friend & don't let your self esteem be battered by this. Be uplifted from all the Admiration, Love & support from the people that are the ATDT team.


Warm & Kind thoughts to you

 
ED Dad
Quote
donnamo3
Didn't have much conversation aussie she has been in bed past half hour. She does look pale and tired, contemplating sleeping in beside her to be safe.
All i kno is she told me she is around 102lbs, she's roughly 5foot 2 or 3, she did not answer me when I asked when her last food intake was.
I have been informed that the signs she is showing could be onset of Seizure, I have no idea how to deal with it should it happen, but I know she will not willingly go to hospital, panicking a tad. Going to sleep in beside her and hopefully everything will be fine. I never thought this through, I know she will be safer now, but I don't know how to deal with 'this'
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

Be prepared to call for an ambulance. You may wish to consider calling for a house visit doctor to check her out at your home so that you can identify just how unwell she is.

Her inner self is I believe screaming out for you to intervene its just that the eating disorder part of her is raging within her suppressing her real self & giving outward signs & verbalising that everything is OK.

Food is medicine for her now although her eating disorder will resist like crazy any attempt to feed her. That said its important that she receives nourishment especially for the really important electrolytes & things like potassium.

You might like to look up the MARSIPAN guidelines as this give the medical guidelines for treatment of really sick patients with eating disorders. http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/files/pdfversion/cr162.pdf


You may wish to contact her family to let them know how unwell she is & in need of their help. Be prepared for plenty of pushback from her eating disorder.


Warm & Kind thoughts to you
  
ED Dad
Quote
donnamo3
She is in safe hands now not good night/morning but got her to a hospital, feel helpless but I had let someone else take charge I couldn't help her. Mabye now her family will be contacted and hopefully help the girl.
Though she ate toast earlier but was in pillowcase, I rladmit I am ignorant to this, why can't she just eat, I know she won't but, I don't understand.
Sister taking little ones so I can visit later and get rest. The two youngest seen everything this morning and were shaken up, seem settled now, I can't have this effecting them either. Hope this the start of going up.
I found pills in a blue plastic bottle in her belongings, white long pills anyone know what they could be there is no label? They don't look like drugs, or a prescription?
Quote
galanick
So sorry your kids had to witness Ed at its worse. It is traumatic and hard for anyone to see especially little ones. You were amazing to help this girl and likely saved her life. Hopefully now the parents can be contacted and help her on road to recovery.

If the there are numbers or letters on pills I can find out what they are if you are in usa. In usa, all prescription medications have marking so if no markings it is vitamin, "natural product" like gnc or street drug.

You are a hero for this girl and her family, so glad she came to you for help.


Merry Xmas
eeyore
Quote
donnamo3
How does everyone here cope. This girl is not my own child, yet i feel fully responsible. I am not next of kin so I know minimal information at present, only that she has been sedated due to struggles to keep tubes in her. I know contact was established with the mother, but as of this evening I was only one to visit.
She always wore baggy tops, never got a chance to fully see her body shape. After seeing just her arms earlier I can't fathom out how she appeared normal I guess. It looks like sticks connecting joint together. They are covered in scars, healed, fresh, how could she hide it all?
I cannot get it out of my head how she openly lied, having myself convinced she was truthful earlier. Cant belive the rage she was showing, then hours later seeking emergency care. How can she go from feeling unwell to this in a matter of hours. I can't sleep I feel helpless like I should be doing more, yet i dont know what I am supposed to do. I cannot get over the severity of what she has been hiding, god only knows how long.
I know she is over 18, but she is only just out her teen years, to me she still is a child, how can there be some mother out there who is ignoring this! She knows she is there now, she knows the situation, but ignores her like she does not matter. Makes my blood boil. Sorry for venting to all you wonderfully people who I cannot thank enough for the past few days.
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

Sorry you had to witness & experience this girls eating disorder raging. That said I think all of the ATDT & F.E.A.S.T team will admire, respect & love you for the effort & care you put in to this girl as many of the parents here have experienced a child being away from home & experiencing difficulties with no one to help them as you did. Please do not beat yourself up about this girl or your actions you are already a wonderful HERO!! Your actions have just now have saved this girls life when her inner real person reached out from under the ed.

Do not beat you self up about this girl & her actions. You are having an experience that ed parents face with their ed child during the re-feeding & early recovery. During this time they have learnt how to view their child as two entirely different people. One is the real child before the ed arrived & now suppressed by another persona that is a nasty piece of work in control of the real child. They have had to learn a whole new way of dealing with their child. They have had to ramp up the effort of fighting the ed which will lie, cheat, abuse & do heaps of nasty stuff while at the same time giving love & caring to their child.

People effected by eating disorders have a very serious & complex brain disease that impacts all sorts of cognitive abilities, thinking processes etc, etc. For many they have raging thoughts or voices going on in their head that will over ride everything else & result in huge anxieties & stresses that they can only managed by restricting food & other behaviours that are life threatening & disruptive & abusive to people close to them.

Even the eminent medical & scientific researchers are still trying to work out what eating disorders are, how they effect the brain & how they impact on the person. Cyndy Bulik has some great info on her work on eating disorders especially her recent work on Toward The Science of Eating Disorders

Try this link to one of Cyndy's presentations http://gnc.gu.se/english/events/past-lectures/the-birgit-olsson-lectures


It really gives one a sense of the complexity of eating disorders.

This girl was very open & honest with you as she reached out to you from within a horrible controlling monster in her mind & brain that you have now experienced as her outward actions & behaviours. Just like the Jeckle & Hyde characture.

Many of the parents & carers here struggle with the same scenario you have experienced & that is being deceived, lied to, cheated by, abused by & generally treated badly by someone they love. Its like having one of the worlds worst terrorists take up residence within their child. To handle this they have had to learn how to separate their child from the disease just like family of alcoholics have to learn how to do & I have personal experience with that as I attended Alateen & Alanon dealing with my alcoholic father.

If you are in Scotland you might like to read the story of Denis Robinson one of your MPs

One of the things you might be able to do is to help this girls parents learn how to help their daughter & learn about eds & how to recover.

Give them the link to this place & F.E.A.S.T & in the UK BEAT http://www.b-eat.co.uk/

Warm & Kind thoughts to you


You are one of the heros of this place & a special HERO because you stepped in when you could  """"This girl is not my own child, yet i feel fully responsible. I am not next of kin"""





ED Dad
Quote
Torie
Hi Donnamo3 - Thank you thank you for your hero's work with this poor girl!  We are all in this together and so very grateful to hear of someone (i.e., you) reaching out to help.

What follows is a minor point I wanted to make in response to your comment from a day or two ago that "earlier this evening I got a text from the girl saying she felt fat in what she was wearing, which turned into an argument saying she doesn't need help. It is not helping my selfesteem, I am a lot heavier than her, and feel conscience of the fact i am on the heavier side."

I don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but please know that her vision is so distorted that she (literally) sees a fat person when she looks in the mirror.  I don't understand it either, but that's how this crazy illness works.  It is often true that the more emaciated they get, the fatter they think they are.  But her vision isn't distorted when she looks at YOU so it's a safe bet that she thinks YOU look fine.  

This vile illness takes them into a crazy upside-down world that is impossible to understand from the outside looking in.

Thank you again for your loving care of this girl.

Hugs
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
MumTo2UK
Donnamo3, I just wanted to say - I think you're amazing! Believe it or not, you've just saved this girls life - you are a true hero.

I just hope & pray that there are people like you looking out for my girl if/when she goes to uni.

Thank you x
Mum of 17 year old daughter with AN seeking guidance
Quote
donnamo3
Thanks for all the kind comments. Called for update this morning, they mentioned the doctor will be around later call up then, and can't do much until social work been, not getting very much information?
I don't normally make a lot of close friends, when I do care about someone I don't see them any different I would a family member. The girl hasn't seen her mum in 5 years, I can safely say I think I know more than she does with regards to her daughter, wish I could get hospital to understand I do care I'm not just a 'friend'.
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear donnamo3,

You are most welcome to our comments.

One of the ways you can consider being more able to receive the information from the hospital is to get  this girl to sign a from that gives you the right to know of her status & be able to help her.

Eating disorders are long term diseases & not easy to recover from. This girl will take some time to recover & this could take several years to restore her physical & mental health.

Warm & Kind thoughts to you
ED Dad
Quote
IrishUp
donnamo;

Your friend suffers from a very serious and deadly biologically based brain disorder, that causes her to think and behave in ways that are extremely difficult to understand, and often make no "rational" sense from the outside looking in.
Symptoms of eating disorders include:
  • Anosognosia - an inability to accurately estimate or interpret how one is feeling or how serious symptoms are right now.
  • A tendency to misinterpret the feelings and behaviors of others, and to read others as feeling more negatively (angry, critical, & etc) than those other people would say they are.
  • An inability to accurately judge the mismatch between their food intake, and their nutritional needs.
  • A compulsion towards many forms of maladaptive behaviors. This compulsion makes "honesty" a moot point - in the face of extreme coercion, people do whatever they can to get from one moment to the next. Having a serious mental health diagnosis like ED, is like having an abusive "terrorist" inside your own head, forcing you to behaviors you have no control over.
As a consequence, she is not currently a reliable historian. This may be hard to hear, but it may be unfair to you both, for you to expect an honest account of any of her disease symptoms. Her active ED symptoms mean that even if she tells you what she honestly believes to be true, her truth is likely to be widely mis-matched to what others would report, or to any truly objective measure you could find.

She is also very seriously ill, and from what you report, needs the expert medical care on the ground it sounds like she is getting.

If you have not already done so, please take any medications you have found in her possession to her medical team straight away! The presence of some medications - particularly without a perscription (if that is the case) - increases the chance that there are other unaccounted for pills. You may want to really search for any others, among her belongings that are still in your home, not to pry, but because such things might be unsafe if found by one of your children. This is a SAFETY issue, and takes precedence. On second thought, if that feels too intrusive, collecting her possessions and bringing them to the hospital where she is, with the other medications you have found, is another good way to go.

I am sure that it is hugely to your credit as a loving and compassionate friend, that you feel like this person is family already. However, the hospital is required to respect her privacy, and cannot share information with you without your friend's consent. If you are in the room with her and her MD, an oral consent may be sufficient, but a written consent to waive privacy is often required as well.

And yet, there is a lot of information on this young woman's history that is missing right now, and may not be recoverable for some time. Please understand that my response next, is from the perspective of a parent of a young adult with ED. I must so far disagree with Aussie, as to say I am not convinced that right now is a good time to press for such a consent. She is not operating with full competence right now, and you may not be privy to everything you need to be aware of, to be put in this role. She DOES need an advocate, however. 

She is yet a young person. Her family of origin are still, in my opinion, the people best poised to help her continue her journey into recovery - unless and until there is good reason that they are *not*. Your friend's estrangement from her family may be yet another casualty of her disease. Many patients with ED have mistakenly been given "parentectomies" - deliberately estranged from their parents by their clinicians, as part of a well-meaning, but more often than not wholly unjustified and harmful treatment paradigm which considers parents the reason that children "get" ED. This theory is outdated and inaccurate, but treatment based on the theory persists and is pervasive. Alternatively, many of us who parent young adults, have seen them drop out of treatment and/or leave home, because the law recognizes their age of majority, but NOT that they are operating in severely impaired fashion. You are a parent - imagine how you would feel if your very ill D had been given "permission" to estrange herself from you, while she were in the condition of your friend! There have been too many families on this forum over the years, who have had that happen, for me to feel comfortable with the scenario you present. If her family can safely be involved, they absolutely should be, and really are in the strongest position to be of the most use.

As Aussie notes, the commitment to being part of a support team for ED recovery is substantial, and all hands are needed on deck. If it were my child, I would be immensely grateful to find she had a caring friend who was willing to be a help and support to her. I would think, that encouraging her to involve those of her former family and friends (as they are safe and able!), would be one of the best services you could render. Helping her estranged loved ones understand where she has been and what she has been doing, so long as you have been acquainted with her, would surely be an amazing and unexpected comfort to them, as well. Offering your help in any event, is truly kind and good in you.

Towards that end, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about ED, nutritional rehabilitation, and recovery. The FEAST website is a terrific starting place;

Do Parents Cause Eating Disorders?"
(spoiler alert: nope!)
What Others Can Do To Help
More reading to understand anosognosia and resistance to treatment
IrishUp
Quote

        

WTadmin