I'm new to this and this post will likely look like my mind right now. A bunch of "stuff" that's being thrown around. I just feel like there's so much on top of the ED to deal with and I'm so concerned I'm over- or under-doing whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing to help my D. So here goes - apologies for the length!
I've noticed that my 14 year old D (weight restored since July) has highest levels of anxiety and body issues in the morning, right after waking up. She cries, says she feels so fat and is so unhappy with how her legs look. She also tries to hide her breasts - albeit, that's likely what many teenagers do when they first get them. I've also noticed that when she gets anxious about her body, she starts getting pale in her face and hands become cold. She follows this with comments like: "I'm not worth anything," and "Therapy is not helping at all. It doesn't make a difference." She now wants to shave her legs every other day - because it makes her feel better. Really? Or is that OCD? I'm letting it go - maybe I need to give her space to be her?
She did a session when in hospital to see if she had body dysmorphia. They said she did not - to which she commented: "See, I told you I see myself exactly the way I am - FAT and ugly!"
I often sit with her for a while when she's down like that - we do the breathing box exercise, sing or whistle, listen to music, read...anything to calm her down and get her mind off things. Lots of validation although sometimes I get the dang words wrong and it has the opposite effect - good thing is she lets me know right away how bad I messed up. For about 2 months now, every day she tells me she has a "bad body image." We tossed old clothes, bought new clothes (many times) and every other week, those clothes are either too tight, too short or too "something." I spoke to the therapist about it a few times and she says we just need to hang in there and it takes time - a year or more, for her to be in a better mindset of accepting and appreciating her body.
Is anyone else experiencing higher levels of anxiety and body image issues in the morning as well? Any suggestions? Is there really nothing we can do about body image right now?
Lately, she's also having a harder time falling asleep. She says she "has soooo much energy" in her body. We started calming oil and short, slow walk in evening. But she's still saying she has all these thoughts and I've noticed it's her worrying about the next day and other things (because she'll call out from her room saying she forgot to do this or that, could someone remind her tomorrow). She didn't have this before ED. She would hit the pillow and be asleep right away. Therapist says this is another area that will get better over time. I need to let go.
One other question I have is around executive functioning. At early age, my D was diagnosed with executive functioning issues. I met with another therapist the other day who was working with kids that have a lot of anxiety and she said many had exec functioning issues or ADHD - at least the ones she was working with. She said that learning to be more independent, learning to have a voice and organization and study skills help kids with anxiety. While my daughter is a very good student, it takes her many, many hours of work to get done what others might get done in 30 minutes. So I asked the therapist if I should also do work on studying/organization to reduce school stress she was feeling. The therapist said that until my daughter was in a better spot, I should not consider working on any of those as the ED needed to be the primary focus right now and any additional therapy could actually be even more stressful for my D. I wonder though: Is there any correlation between executive functioning and ED?
D started "healthy / organic foods" eating after Christmas 2018. Became more selective Jan/Feb and in March started restricting quickly including water. Took to ER because she looked and felt weak - her heart beat was down to 31 bpm, her blood pressure was very low. We stayed in hospital for 2 weeks until heart was a bit more stable. Then to ED hospital end of April - July; she didn't eat for 2 months and was fed with IV food and hydrated. Transitioned to Partial Inpatient (all day hospital, home at night) in July, then to Intensive Outpatient ~2 weeks in August and home since. Weight restored in July - has maintained weight since. Still seeing Ed behaviors like "accidentally" dropping food on floor or off of plate, leaving 1 spoon of whatever on a plate for meals, etc. We are working through those behaviors one day at a time and I've put a behavior plan in place for home to keep the behaviors out.