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bks76
I have appreciated the feedback and advice I received on another thread about our journey overall but wanted to ask specifically about the current situation. Son is almost WR (within a few pounds of target range). He's been very good about the refeeding process. Eaten everything. Gained consistently and quickly over the last 7 weeks. But in the last few days there's been a dramatic shift in his behavior. He is suddenly withdrawn and sullen. Barely talks to us. Goes to his room instead of staying downstairs to do homework etc. Doesn't talk at family meals. If he answers questions only one word answers. Doesn't smile. He's also started strange eating, shoving food in his mouth angrily. Picking his plate up and shoveling food with almost angry tears welling in his eyes. He did tell me two days ago I ruined his body, he trusted me and I failed him. I made him gain too fast and if I would have just listened to him and did it slow everything would be ok. He's been very body obsessed through the process, talking obsessively about keeping his abs and how important they are to him. They "show all his hard work." And he's texted me pictures of him before ED and now as evidence of how I ruined him. I'm very worried because even in the worst of before he was always talking to me. Now he won't even look at me. He had appointment today and was told he's almost there, we will be slowing down and he's done great. But he still won't talk. I've read about extinction burst, and of course hopeful this behavior shift is part of that. But honestly, I'm scared. This silent stuff is way harder than being yelled at. And way more concerning.

I guess my question is has anyone experienced this kind of dramatic shift? Were you able to get your child out of it? And how? I want to give him space, but at the same time his complete change in behavior literally overnight is so scary.
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Torie
Hi bks - So sorry Ed has found a new way of adding worry to your life.

As you've read, the last 10 pounds are often the hardest (for everyone - Ed-kid, family, etc.). All kinds of difficulties can pop up then. My d was adamant that she wasn't going to gain more. But after she did, she wasn't exactly ho hum about the gain, but amazingly close. 

I hate to say this, but his reaction makes me suspect he needs closer to 10 more pounds than to "almost there." 

On a brighter note, sometimes the bad days are followed by a sudden turn for the better. We just never know what tomorrow will bring with Ed.

You're doing a fab job. Keep up the good work, and try not to let Ed scare you. Or at least try not to let your s see that you are reacting to this latest twist.

Hang in there. It really does get better (when it's done getting worse.)

xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Sotired
Honestly,this can happen at any stage.whilst I would say don't panic,because you are dealing with a teen and they can act impulsively,I would also recommend that for now all pills and cords are put away.any Stanley knives.any guns.there is no way to make our children completely safe from their possible actions,but to take precautions is only sensible.
Our d frequently goes through sullen stages,I have had periods of time she hasn't spoken to me.whilst she was in the midst of refeeding we took all these precautions and more.we sat with her til bedtime,stood outside the bathroom and toilet,took all the razors away so she had to use creams or wax.we had to try to keep her safe.when the fear was too great we put her in the child and family unit in the locked section.the goal was just to keep her alive.depression and suicide risk are things we don't want to think about because refeeding itself is so damn hard but I think it needs to be considered and watched out for.
I hope that as the weight increases you see a lessening of these behaviours.best wishes,
Sotired42
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sorry that you have found that things have got worse rather than better at the moment. The last 10lbs or whatever anyone else wants to call it, for some children, mine included, it seems to associated with a marked increase in distressing thoughts for them and often depressive, self destructive behaviours. It is really scary to watch. 

Sotired has already alluded to this, but for my D it was the start of self injury and increasingly suicidal thoughts. It does need to be taken seriously. He is really distressed. 

We did get through it but it was a really bumpy ride for us. Firstly we had to just keep on going. For us these set in with 10kg up and 13 kg to go (so not anything like 10lbs). She was watched 24 hours a day. Her distress was acknowledged and she was given a lot of support, but I still pushed on with weight gain (slowly in this case). They really do need good consistent nutrition for some time to get the brain healing happening and lots of love and support, despite how difficult they can be to live with. I always tried to remember that her attitude to me was reflective of how bad ED was making her feel. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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OneToughMomma
bks76,

It will pass with nutritional rehabilitation.  My D was the most horrid person.  Honestly, being around her ED was torture.  But now she sings around the house and flops down on my bed to chat with me. It's not perfect, but it is bloody wonderful.

Torie and sotired have given good advice, keep feeding and protect him from harm.

Remember that as long as he is talking like this he needs support. Don't slow down and don't be afraid of ED. 

You are doing great!

xoOTM
D in and out of EDNOS since age 8. dx RAN 2013. WR Aug '14. Graduated FBT June 2015 at 18 yrs old. [thumb]
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lorpat
My daughter is just wr and I can tell you it was a roller coaster in that last month.  I remember thinking of my 800 calorie milk shake as her "medication" for such behavior!  In the book "Answers for Anorexia" it suggests that anorexics are often zinc deficient and that when refeeding, the need for zinc actually increases and people can become more deficient in this nutrient as they put on weight (because body functions that were put on hold during starvation "wake up" or something)- zinc is not something to do without a doctor maybe because you can give too much - but I still have my daughter on about 12 mg. of extra zinc per day and it seems to help her (because when we have stopped it, we have seen a reversal of behavior).  Also, he is still "growing" - and adolescents use up about twice the amount of zinc as the rest of us for growth.

Just a hunch that he may need more calories and nutrients than even before because his body is probably waking up and trying to catch up on growth, etc.  Not an "even" process.....the body I think sometimes gets ahead of itself in weight restoration.... and then it "feels/reacts" to the deprivation of what it actually needs to function....

One day at a time...

daughter diagnosed 8/15 when she was 16,
wr through maudesly method 1/16,
currently in potential first relapse
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mamabear
Absolutely a normal part of the process. My daughter definitely went through this as well only with her it resulted in increased hiding and ditching of food and projectile vommitting at the table. Nothing about this process is easy for sure. You just have to stay the course. Don't participate in body talk. A simple " this has to be so hard for you. You are so brave." Keep the calories and fats up. Be careful not to " back off" too quickly. We thought we could and it blew up in our face with fast weight loss. I remember her losing like 7 lbs in one week when we thought we could back down on her milkshake... Nope. She needed high calories for 2.5 years.

I'm sorry he's not talking talking and pulling away. That is so tough. But you have to attack the Ed always.
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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Psycho_Mom

Hi,
You've gotten good advice! I'd reiterate to not back down on cals AT ALL, and to try to avoid saying stuff like "you're all done", or even "you're almost there" (because it implies he will soon "be there".) If he's like my d, as soon as somebody says "congratulations" he will want to immediately stop gaining weight, stop eating as much, and fixate on the EXACT number he weighs and not want to go beyond it.

Our t said "yay, you're wr," on the day that my d happened to weigh 133, and boy, we heard about 133 for a long time. 

You could tell him that wr means he's out of physical danger (and definitely congratulate him for that!), and doesn't need to gain weight AS FAST. This will help when his weigh goes up, as it will still need to, or if you later decided that whatever weight he's at isn't high enough.

And yes, the silence/depression is way worse than the yelling. I get you. Our d had phases like this (on and off, not noticeably concurrent with the last 10 lbs) and ended up going on fluoxetine. It took a while, but her mood is now good.

best wishes,


D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
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bks76
Thank you all again so very much!  I think I just needed to be reminded that this too is "normal" for ED recovery.  It's all so new and scary, I know you all get it,  and I can't possibly say enough how grateful I am.

Torie and Mamabear- Thanks for the reminder that we don't really know what WR is in a growing teen. 

Psychomom- I did go back and read your old thread "It's official, she hates me..."  This was super helpful in seeing the range of horribly difficult responses, and seeing how similar these ED responses can be.  After reading it was like yeah I have heard so much of this already, that even though our kids are all different, ages different, manifestations different etc that the ED has some almost consistent narrative themes makes it somehow less scary, less unknown.  

I hear the concerns for safety and precautions and appreciate those, too.  I tend to be a cautious/ anxious person already, so layer real fears upon all the ones I can dream up on my own, its hard.  But I realize that I have to be stronger than all of this.  There is simply no choice.  

Food support - "I always tried to remember that her attitude to me was reflective of how bad ED was making her feel." Thanks for this wise reminder, focusing on compassion is really helpful.  

Lorpat, I have not heard about zinc and its relation to ED.  I know the DR checks blood often, wonder if they check this?  I am sure we can ask to have it checked and add supplement as needed.  Thanks!  

Thank you for these the important reminders/lessons:
Continue to be vigilant.  
Work hard to not be afraid of what ED is afraid of, and even when I am afraid I will not let ED see my fear!  
Be compassionate.  
Be careful about backing down, and watch to make sure he's still making progress.   It's kind of like we sprinted to the starting line (or close to it), and now its time to start the marathon.
 
Thanks!
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rosalind50
I feel your pain. We have been struggling through this last part of WR. Anxiety is worse than its ever been with my D fixating on certain weight and not wanting to go over that. Getting supremely stressed about tests at school to the point where she is hysterical. Flies off the handle for the slightest thing, even if I say a wrong word! I've had physical and verbal abuse that are extremely upsetting. She's reluctant to go to FBT session as she doesn't want to now acknowledge ED. absolutely exhausting! On top of that she hates her older sister who is a very faddy eater which doesn't help. Despite all this she tells me foods shed like to have again like different cakes and chips etc. keep trying to remember my little girl is in there but it is so very very hard sometimes.
It's always good to know you are not alone in this battle against the ED monster x
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Playball40
I certainly can empathize with how you are feeling.  We too are within that 'range' almost wr.  Lately my D is withdrawn, sullen, cutting and when I try to talk she says "I don't want to talk about it.......to you."  Ouch.  I tell her ok, but she must speak to someone (her therapist) and that I am there for her if she wants to talk.  I'm not much for advice but I want you to know I certainly sympathize with how you are feeling.
Caroline
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w_swainson
bks76 wrote:
I have appreciated the feedback and advice I received on another thread about our journey overall but wanted to ask specifically about the current situation. Son is almost WR (within a few pounds of target range). He's been very good about the refeeding process. Eaten everything. Gained consistently and quickly over the last 7 weeks. But in the last few days there's been a dramatic shift in his behavior. He is suddenly withdrawn and sullen. Barely talks to us. Goes to his room instead of staying downstairs to do homework etc. Doesn't talk at family meals. If he answers questions only one word answers. Doesn't smile. He's also started strange eating, shoving food in his mouth angrily. Picking his plate up and shoveling food with almost angry tears welling in his eyes. He did tell me two days ago I ruined his body, he trusted me and I failed him. I made him gain too fast and if I would have just listened to him and did it slow everything would be ok. He's been very body obsessed through the process, talking obsessively about keeping his abs and how important they are to him. They "show all his hard work." And he's texted me pictures of him before ED and now as evidence of how I ruined him. I'm very worried because even in the worst of before he was always talking to me. Now he won't even look at me. He had appointment today and was told he's almost there, we will be slowing down and he's done great. But he still won't talk. I've read about extinction burst, and of course hopeful this behavior shift is part of that. But honestly, I'm scared. This silent stuff is way harder than being yelled at. And way more concerning. I guess my question is has anyone experienced this kind of dramatic shift? Were you able to get your child out of it? And how? I want to give him space, but at the same time his complete change in behavior literally overnight is so scary.
Wendy Swainson
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w_swainson
Don`t despair with your son he is still having to fight the anorexia. Just having weight on is not enough. He now  feels guilty for putting weight on because he has disappointed the anorexia or the voices and he has to blame someone and that is you.  You have to be patient and tell him how much you love him and he needs to love you and family more than the anorexia and this takes time.

My daughter has gained her weight 1 year ago and is still going through similar attitude to me. She would be lost without me but I feel like a punch bag. She is angry or in deep depression and tells me she has made a mistake in getting in her words fat. She is size 12 and 31 yrs old. Her illness started at 17 years old so she hates having a womans body because she has been so used to having no breasts or curves.  It is very difficult. 

Just keep strong you are doing a fantastic job. Good luck

Wendyx
Wendy Swainson
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Boysmum
Yes we definetly saw this as he neared weight restoration. We had to remove mirrors from his room to stop the 'skinny pack' obsession - we are in a rented house and that room had mirrored fitted wardrobes along one wall. We applied to the landlord to have them removed on the basis of safety (they were a bit rickety!) and then I made curtains for the space instead. Yes we will do anything as mums to help our ED children!!

The other thing we did which was helpful was to remove all talk of a weight figure. We had him blind weighed and we asked Drs never to mention the target weight. It was just so triggering and torturing for him. The Dr would write his weight down on a post it note for me. One time he was fighting me physically to get it out of my hand and I had to pretend to eat it to get him to stop!! That was a stellar day [wink]
I am so glad we did stop talking about a figure because it turned out that the weight target they set originally was very quickly moved when his body began to grow and that would have been very upsetting for him. He's now 8kg over where they originally said and has signs of puberty at last!

It's been 6 months since he hit the first weight restoration target, and I can say that whilst he is still not free of ED thoughts, still needs support to eat, still needs regular meals and snacks, still needs additional calories to other children his age, his mood is so much better. Also although he still does not want to talk about Anorexia when a mealtime is coming and he knows that life stops until you eat, so that he must eat it before he can do what he wants to do, he will prompt me to go get his meal ready and sit with him whilst he eats it so that he can get it done. Unfortunately if we try him eating without support ED will not let him and food is put in many creative places around the kitchen! I think we are all hopeful that this is the next stage. The psychiatrist has us encouraging him to make small steps of independence - pouring out his own cereal (very hard, ED only wants a very small amount in the bowl), and making a choice between 2 items of equal calorie at snack time. (Often makes a choice of perceived lowest calorie amount rather than what he actually wants).
This is such a long journey made of very tiny steps.
13 yr old son diagnosed April 2015 with Anorexia.
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