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.

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Torie
I will never know why my kids picked this year to send a family photo and letter for the first time ever. They told me I needed to write two sentences about my year ... as if I needed a reminder that I have no life. Here's what I would say, if the goal of the exercise were to help recipients understand my year:

Although we're not out of the woods yet, I have kept D alive another year. This vile illness has taken a terrible toll on both of us, and I am aging at about 5 times the normal rate.

There. Happy holidays to all. Thanks for being there and understanding.

xx

-Torie

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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daffodil_UK
I find it soo hard to communicate to others, relatives, friends how this entire journey feels, but I found your words very well choosen. The message is that you are fighting and you are paying a price but you will keep going on because there is no alternative. I think most friends are grateful if they get a little bit of information, because they might simply not know how to ask.

I tend to overdo the information bit, which backfired twice in a very unpleasant way and literally ended or at least seriously damaged two friendships which I thought to be really deep and lifelong. But then I often feel that the alternative is to put on a nice face or just say nothing, which damages friendships and relationships equally. So I guess going for the middle, as you do, seems a good choice!

Daffodil
AN D began at 11 1/2, after full recovery self-harm and now (16 years) severe sleep issues, slight AN relapse but she manages herself, getting full assessment on ASD now.
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Rayney
Spot on Torie, could not have put it better myself, stay strong.x

17 years old, well into recovery and taking full control of food herself and gaining weight, she's loving life at the minute, it does get better!!
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iHateED
This is how I got through my year-- I kept this saying in my head at all times!

[image]

Torie, Here's wishing you and your family a Happy and Healthy 2016!
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FaithKeepsMeGoing
To Torie, and all of you struggling to drag your children back to health~

Torie, you said, "I am aging at about 5 times the normal rate."

I've thought the same many times these past 6 years, but most especially in the first couple.  I understand exactly how you feel. But this year is different for me.  My daughter gained 15 pounds in the past 18 months, her periods have returned after all these years, and she's beautiful and in better spirits.  I sleep better than I have in six years, my mind is easier, my heart lighter.  Every day I give thanks.  And I don't feel older than my years anymore.  (At least most of the time.  [smile])

Things can get better.  You are all wonderful parents doing a hard job, and you can get your children through this illness.  I pray for all of you. 

Blessings on all of you this holiday season.

The Irish tell the story of a man who arrives at the gates of Heaven and asks to be let in.  St. Peter says, “Of course. Show us your scars.”  But the man replies, “I have no scars.”   St. Peter shakes his head and says, “What a pity. Was there nothing worth fighting for?”

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Elena

to quote:
"Here's what I would say, if the goal of the exercise were to help recipients understand my year:"

So Torie, what did you actually say? Did you chicken out and just send platitudes? It is hard to really communicate with others honestly. I often don't say anything, or I just hint that things aren't too great, or I say far, far too much. Once I get started I need a plug to stop my mouth.

It is almost Christmas, but it doesn't feel like a happy, jolly time for our families. I'm not sure if I can 'christmas' this year, please don't make me 'christmas', but we will anyway. Somehow we will trundle out to shops and buy a few presents with not enough money, as it has all gone on treatment, we'll pull out the old decorations and put up a tree. We'll even go to the supermarket and buy food that d will not eat, and spend hours cooking stuff that d will still not eat. For one day we will try to pretend that life is normal, and try to ignore the fact that d is just photographing her food and not eating it. 

But this Christmas for my family is a little better than last Christmas. And one year in the future Christmas will be normal again, I'm almost sure....

So here's to future, happier Christmases.
Cheers!
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Torie
Elena wrote:

to quote:
"Here's what I would say, if the goal of the exercise were to help recipients understand my year:"

So Torie, what did you actually say?


Here's the thing: DH is willing to stay on the same page with me regarding almost everything to do with Ed, except discussing it outside the immediate family. No one on his side of the family has the slightest clue anything is wrong. (Well, surely some must suspect something is amiss.)  When we get together with them and they ask, "So Torie, what have you been up to?" I sound like the #1 top slacker of all time as I really spend all my energy worrying about D and getting nothing done. I used to tutor in math (and occasionally science), but had to quit that when I realized I couldn't trust anyone else to keep my d safe (i.e., internet, etc.) for even an hour at a time. So I said I've been gardening and mentioned my volunteer position that requires one meeting a year. (Didn't mention the one meeting per year part.)

Yes, I know we should make his family aware for oh so many reasons not the least of which I'm curious if his sister suffered from AN as a teen (he doesn't know, but non-Ed d thinks so) and also I think there might be a cousin on that side. Luckily, all our nieces and nephews are grown so I don't have to worry about them ... except one nephew who is 8. Maybe in a few years DH will relent and warn them to watch out ...

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Elena
Fair enough. There is often a huge gap between what we would like to say and what we actually can say. Really every family has to work out for themselves who to tell and when. I do see secrecy as being part of the disorder, so I hate it, and prefer to tell it as it is when I can, but it is not always possible.

When people wonder what on earth you have been doing with yourself and you feel that they imagine you are just lazy, just know that you are taking one for the team, and that the work you are doing is vital and harder than any paid job. Undercover work is not easy, but in fact you are doing heroic stuff. 
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Torie
THanks, Elana. I appreciate it. I really don't much care what my in-laws think of me ... but it does bother me when I get these questions that drive home to me the fact that I need to get it together more. I mean, I don't, really, but I wish I would. It scares me sometimes.

xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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K63
Hi Torie, well said that's how I feel also. This time last year was ip wasn't allowed home for Christmas was too unwell it was heartbreaking trying to get through it some family were so supportive and some just didn't get it and still haven't. We have a long way to go on our journey but we are in a better place this year. I have given up work to look after d she is last year before college fully supervising all meals with help from h. I used to work 12 hour shifts and 2 hours travelling time but I can honestly say I feel more exhausted at night now than when I was on the 14 hour days. But it has been worth it as things are better far from normal with an 18 year old but in ed land better. Take care of yourself .
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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Norah_US
Oh Torie, the holidays are so hard when you are in the thick of it. The time of year when you tend to encounter old friends and acquaintances and everyone asks "how have you been?" Not usually the time or place for an honest answer. The holidays are when we are most acutely aware of the passage of time and how our year has or hasn't lived up to our hopes and dreams. Try if you can to surround yourself with people who get it, people who support you, people who have at least a little inkling of a clue of what you are going through. Know that you have the love and support of the virtual community. 
Daughter dx at age 14 with AN and depression. Currently 19 and experiencing a relapse.
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enoughalready1
Everyone's comments ring true.  I ran into a cousin I hadn't seen in quite a while, and she was sharing stories about her kids and grandkids (I asked.  It's the polite thing to do.)  I did not discuss my daughter.  I became so sad on the way home.

What do you say?  So, I asked my daughter, "What do you want me to say when people ask about you?  They are asking."  She said to tell them she was half-heartedly looking for a job, and of course nothing about what's really going on.

You all have my best wishes for a peaceful holiday.  My thoughts are with you all.
Mother of 21-year-old
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Everhopeful_12
This Forum is so great when you read about the family life of others. It feels so lonely thinking about Christmas and how to manage another year, then when you read and remind yourself that actually you are not alone, and plenty of people have problems, then it does start to feel different. To read of the same problems, of how to answer questions from family and friends, and how others cope, does give strength and support.
I booked tickets for a show today. A Christmas Carol. I was taking my daughters and they were looking forward to it. Then last night, a fight followed a messy purge..so once again the relationship is off. Now brother and sister both not speaking to troubled d once again, and the planned theatre is cancelled. Why do I keep trying. I should know that I can't plan anything around this eating disorder. We have thrown so much money at it over the years..a puppy, an iPhone, and recently a drum kit...and today theatre tickets. What would happen if I just accept the misery and don't try to make any plans for positive outcomes. Maybe I need to step back and give in. Would that be her chance to realise she has to dig herself out of this hole, and not depend on others to keep offering plans and waste of time appointments.
Good Luck Torie..Thinking of everyone at Christmas..It will be just another day which we will get through one way or another
Tracey Golden
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rainydays
It takes time to recover. For us it's been a year since refeeding and amazingly my daughter has been more like herself. We're graduating from dbt skills class this week (1year) and d is still trying to find healthy ways of dealing with anxiety. But overall we are doing so much better.

I now need to recover. I've got a solid 20 pounds during my refeeding that needs some attention. I've added back monthly volunteering at my younger s school. I've got friendships and relationships with my other children that need nurturing.

Two years of learning and caring for my girl have been hard. I now know more about emotions and health and hormones and despair and darkness.

I am so happy she is healing and am hopeful that my healing will come along too. I give myself space and time to heal.

This community is so helpful and nurturing. Thank you.
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Elena
I want to reply to Christmas letters, but I can't, it is too depressing, and to be honest, I'm jealous of all these perfect sounding families with kids that do amazing things. This ED life really is isolating. It is hard to brag about how good your child is at starving themselves and throwing up etc. Hard to tell them how stressed and exhausted I am after two years of hell. 
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Seabird
To all the caregivers -

You are ALL angels of hope healing and light ... everyone here is fighting for their child/children/family and sacrificing pretty much everything to do so...

We just have to "suck it up" in that the outside world doesn't "get" ED, our wider families don't "get" our struggles and maybe think we are just overly protective demented neurotic creatures... my partner continues to think my S is manipulative and that I need to "harden up" my attitudes towards him...

My advice - just let all that go over your head, keep focused on the job at hand - that's our kids, ourselves, getting by, getting better, getting there if we can.

I have one friend who I've know for maybe 15 years through my work - she told me recently that I'm the only one she knows of who has successfully helped my child beat AN, and she says I have to write my book because there aren't many people who could have done what I did.  

This Xmas I will spend time with brother who was with my S at the time he became noticeably ill - he will need some time to talk about it, I picked up he feels a little guilty - did he do something wrong?  (as of course we all went through asking ourselves that question).   

I have learned so much from my experience with my S's illness and being his main caregiver through the worst of it.  I feel older yes, but mentally stronger hell yes.  At work I have much more confidence in taking the lead and making decisions.  I feel like I have something to say and the confidence to say it.  

the "perfect sounding families"?  Yes plenty of my family and colleagues have perfect sounding kids all out there taking on great challenges in study, travel, work.  But not all of them.    At least one close colleague is now dealing with a teenage D with an ED brought on by a head injury, and they as a family are struggling to deal with behavioural issues and now what seems to be an ED.  Perfect family no longer.  Will they cope?  They'll have to learn as we did.  

I love my non-perfect life, my wierd arrangements and unusual circumstances and all the benefits that brings to my life.  Because of who I am I have been able to help my S when he needed me.   If my S can accept himself and value himself enough to keep looking after himself, making enjoyment in his life through interests other than ED, then I'm ok with that.

Recently a 17 year old boy Jake Bailey won a "best 2015 quote" award in New Zealand for his final leaving speech at school.  He'd just been diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.   This is his quote:

"Here's the thing — none of us get out of life alive. So be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities that you have"

If you want to hear his moving speech here it is:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/75210565/schoolboy-jake-baileys-words-win-best-kiwi-quote-of-2015


We are all awesome parents and I believe we should take this time to give ourselves a break, reflect on our efforts and sacrifices and how much love there is around us, we are all living proof of that. 

Seabird 


Mother of 20 y.o. male diagnosed at age 16 with RAN, exercise compulsion, anxiety, depression & SH, FBT 4-5 mths to WR, WR now 3 yrs; suicide attempt 4-6 wks after WR,  IP 4 weeks.  Steady progressive recovery over past 3 years including support from psychologist on general wellbeing. Slow steady steps to success!! 

When your last bow is broken and your last arrow spent, then shoot, shoot with your whole heart
 [Zen saying}
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