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

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salmy
Two days ago D connected online with a classmate and childhood friend who is clearly struggling with ED and is in the very early days of treatment (wants to keep thigh gap, not get fat... you know the language). D decided to engage her in conversation and share some of her own story. Initially, this seemed to be a pretty remarkable thing - she was sharing insight with us, realizations that she had as she was chatting with the other teen, thinking about how to keep herself from being triggered. D has shared her conversations, talked about how she might respond. I might also add, that D is logged in to this specific site on another device in the house and the notifications with the content of the messages is being seen by her father and I. I am concerned about what I'm seeing. We just met with her dietician today who asked D to be careful and make sure she had well established boundaries and that she remember that her own recovery is the #1 priority. This other teen is asking how much D eats, what she eats.... and in her response, she was not truthful about how much she is eating (apparently that evening snack is optional??? WHAT??). It's a delicate situation. I am seeing things she hasn't shared. I can't even feel bad about that because her recovery is 1,000% the MOST important thing happening here.  
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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Enn
How do you feel about this relationship? Do you feel your d is competing with this friend? I would be worried myself. But this did not happen here so not sure how I would deal with it . But from what you written above I feel a bit uncomfortable. 
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)
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salmy
I am really uncomfortable. This is not a true friendship, it is purely circumstantial. The teen is sharing her weights- and asked how much D had to gain/weighs now! I have this creeping, terrifying feeling that D is going to unknowingly get caught in the comparison trap and lose all of her progress. I can't sit idly by. Her dad is cautioning me to tread lightly. These conversations could easily go from Insta to SnapChat and then I wouldn't even be able to see them.
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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Enn
Could you sit down with your h and her and speak about your concerns in your loving way? . Let her know how you feel and what you feel the dangers are and that your main priority is her and her recovery. Could you tell her that you do not approve at this time and as she heals more there may come a time where she could be a good influence to others? But right now may not be that time.  Tell her to take what you said on board and make another time to discuss it further. It has only been two days and you are already feeling off. I think it needs to stopper but I understand how delicate this situation can be. You could take a hard line and demand she stop or take her phone etc... but I know with my d that would be just a horrendous situation. Just spewing stuff that is in my mind right now as I see your assessment. Hard stuff and i know you will find just the right tone and time to tell her. You know your d well and will know how she will take your concerns . 
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)
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Barberton
@salmy, I just heard someone give the advice of "avoid the quicksand" - those things that suck you into a vortex such as Instagram, Facebook, tv dramas, etc. Perhaps you could talk about this relationship in terms of "quicksand". Rather than tell a teen that you don't approve or like a friendship, talking about what you see that friendship doing to the person might be more effective. ??
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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Foodsupport_AUS
I can understand your discomfort, there is good reason to be wary. It does sound very much like this other girl is very ill and the trick is for your D to pull away from the comparisons. It sounds like your D knows that you can see what is being said? As well as knowing that you know about the relationship. 

A few thoughts. My  own D was very, unwell early on. She was the girl in hospital who didn't want to get better, who cause a lot of upset by triggering the other girls. The girls who just pulled away of course made her feel even worse, and even less deserving of anything. The girls that helped the most were the girls that set up clear boundaries, such as - I won't discuss weight, calories, meals etc. No comparisons as such. They could discuss how they felt, how to work at overcoming fears, challenges etc.. 

The problem with teens is if you tell them to do something, they often resist, as do many adults. You can block her social media access however she is likely to need to stay connected to the internet for school so you cannot have complete control or monitoring of what happens. Perhaps asking her to come up with some boundaries, what would make her feel uncomfortable. What would be triggers to pull back altogether from the relationship?
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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salmy
Yes, she knows we can see their conversation. If I block her social media she will just find another way and I'd rather keep the channels of conversation open. We did talk with her last night and are kind of tabling the conversation until our FBT meeting tonight. I like the terminology "quicksand" and also setting specific boundaries around what is off the table for chatting about. They want to get together to chat... I'm definitely not comfortable with that, but I am also wondering if I need to let her test her recovery just a little bit here. She's had an amazing month - the summer that never ends and having no where to go has been the very best thing for her, maybe it's good for her to push a little to see where she really is and what still needs to be worked on. I'm feeling much less anxious about it this morning... last night I felt the terror wave washing over me like from the early days. 
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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Kali

Hi Salmy,

I would say that it is important to tread lightly here. You can discuss the dangers of the relationship with the other girl and talk about boundaries. Is the other girl getting help for her ED? Maybe your daughter could help encourage her to do that. The teenage years are difficult even without ED and setting boundaries and discussing the consequences of certain actions are things which come up over and over again. If you forbid her from talking to the girl she will find another way to do so and the relationship will then become even more important to her. And she will probably be angry with you. These years, before she turns 18, are very important to solidify a strong relationship with your daughter so that once she turns 18 she will take your wise advice and counsel into consideration and you can be involved in her treatment. I would remain vigilant about her eating at home and make sure that she is steadily gaining if she needs to do so.

You say she was on a website, which one was it? 

My d. had relationships with some of the girls she met in treatment long after her stint in residential was over. She is still in touch with some of them. I can probably be sure that some things that I might have considered touchy or triggering were discussed with them. However I got to know some of them because I visited often and they were in general kind, friendly and intelligent girls who also happened to be unfortunate enough to be very very ill due to no fault of their own, and behaving in ways which were harmful to themselves due to the illness. 

warmly,
Kali

Food=Love
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Torie
Oh dang, sounds like a very tricky situation.  What I'm about to say is probably not pertinent to your situation, but I don't really have any advice for you.  My d had a problematic "friend" who caused me much lost sleep.  My rule was that D was not allowed to be alone with this friend - D was pretty angry about that but did comply.  This was during the high school sophomore - senior years (about age 15 - 18).  Please keep us posted. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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salmy
I've really made her mad now 😣 The two were making plans to get together and we just simply said no, that's not happening. She thinks I'm trying to be a control freak, but I actually just trying to protect her. Complete shut down. Really upset. Also, they did (as I expected they would) move their conversations to another forum that I can not see. 
When she tells me things like we talked about what we had for breakfast and lunch, should I just be a silent listener? Everything she says is giving me serious anxiety. I feel like we are on the edge of a cliff and hanging on by toe nails right now.
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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Enn

It does sound precarious. I don’t think you should be silent. I wonder if she needs it spelled out very clearly how serious this is. Would it be helpful to talk to your team first  about this  to come up with an approach and then with the team tell her straight up?
Right now I gather she thinks you are somewhat ok with this, and that she may be pulling the wool over your eyes at the same time. She tells you some of it which makes it seem transparent but now with another place they are chatting she likely knows this is not ok at all. 

I know this is so hard and frightening. I am sorry. 

 

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)
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Enn
You are truly trying to protect her. You are not at all wrong in any of this in my eyes.  ðŸ¤—
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)
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salmy
We haven’t had a meeting where we’ve been able to discuss this issue yet.  I’ve emailed and haven’t heard anything back yet either. Thank you responding and affirming me @Enn. ED has really rocked my sense of what is up and down, I’ve been fooled on more than one occasion. 
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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PurpleRain
So hard and scary! I'm really sorry. I hope your team has some strategies that help.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018. We found ATDT and started refeeding at home march 2019. WR+ cushion June 2019.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
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LaraB
Our therapist suggested I write a letter to my D about something I was concerned out explaining how I felt and why I was concerned (it was not ED related).
so I wrote an honest open letter to her, and it helped. I wonder might that work.
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PurpleRain
LaraB, that sounds really useful, I will borrow that suggestion.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018. We found ATDT and started refeeding at home march 2019. WR+ cushion June 2019.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
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Barberton
@salmy, I feel for you. Your d's reaction could also just be normal teen angst to a parent telling them what to do. But given her situation, it's really important to set boundaries so that you keep your d safe. So I might accept that she has 'shut down' but don't let it fester. Would it help to say something like:

"Darling, I can see that you are really upset that Dad and I have told you that you cannot meet up with OtherGirl. It is our responsibility to ensure that you are safe/engaging in healthy relationships/not doing stupid stuff and we think that OtherGirl is not a positive influence on your recovery. You  have worked so hard to get to where you are today, and we want you to spend time with people who raise you up/support you/encourage your recovery. We know you are disappointed, but we think we are doing the right thing for you and we love you."
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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Torie
Ugh.  A toxic friend is such a sticky wicket.  One complaint my d had about our no-being-alone-with-her rule was that I was "judging" her, and how would I like it if D's friends' moms said they couldn't be with D because she has mental health issues?  I don't think I have ever seen D as angry about anything as she was about our continued adherence to our rule about this.

FWIW, I explained to D that it isn't that I don't LIKE ToxicFriend; it is that right now, being together adds risk that neither needs.  Or some such.  I can't remember exactly what I said, just that I had to think about it a lot, and that D was furious with us.

I also want to say that D's therapist (who I was paying out of pocket) totally undermined us on this point and sided with D that she should, for example, be able to sleep over at ToxicFriend's house.  Ugh ugh ugh.  With the benefit of hindsight (7 years since the nightmare started), I still feel strongly that D needed us to require this bit of space between her and ToxicFriend.  I suspect that on some level, D knows we were right although she would not admit that.

The good advice I received here is that parenting an ED-kid is not like parenting a normal teen - in some ways they are much younger than their years and need to be treated as such.  Normal parenting goes out the window.

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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atdt31_US
Couple thoughts:
1.  does the other girl have an actual dx?  therapist?  involved parents you could confab with to see their take -- if they are on your same page, maybe together you work out boundaries ... they do or don't eat together, etc. -- although if like the parents in the similar-yet-very-different situation we encountered, you might find that they are very hands-off and not work with you .. but you never know
 
2.  it sounds like your d is at an age and point in new recovery that she has some insight into her own situation .... I might try to capitalize on that and appeal to her friend/protector role ... that she owes the other girl a duty to not impede her treatment and that at this stage in your d's treatment this sort of interaction would have likely been a negative for your d.  Maybe she can walk the line of being a friend that talks about movies and school, but not food or treatment just yet.  Be open ... you are worried for your d's treatment going backward AND you want to be sure the other girl's treatment is not unwittingly sabotaged (through the very good intentions of your daughter who can be a friend, but not treating physician to the girl).

Mom of either pre-diagnosis or non-ed underweight 12 yoa (as of March 2018) kid here to learn how to achieve weight gain.  BMI steadily in the mid 12's for nearly her entire life.  Born 2006. UPDATE:  April 2018 diagnosed ARFID, based solely on weight being less than 75% of Ideal Body Weight.  Mildly picky, but mostly the problem is a volume/early satiety issue, along with abdominal discomfort and chronic constipation, all present since birth.  UPDATE:  July 2019 diagnosed with PANS. Dr. said likely started first PANS episode at less than 1 or 2 years of age.  On long-term daily prophylactic antibiotics. BMI now about 16 after period of intense refeeding prior to PANS dx,  followed by stagnation as we sort out what is next. FWIW ED-D is a fraternal twin and we have no other kids.
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Enn
@salmy just checking in. How is it going? 
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)
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salmy
@Barberton, I think this might be what is happening....
Barberton wrote:
@salmy, I feel for you. Your d's reaction could also just be normal teen angst to a parent telling them what to do. But given her situation, it's really important to set boundaries so that you keep your d safe. So I might accept that she has 'shut down' but don't let it fester.


I want to clarify that the friend in this situation is not toxic, she isn't trying to drag D back down the ED rabbit hole and D truly wants to help her, not join her. I may have to back off to let D test the waters of her own recovery. I want there to be really clear boundaries, but realize I may not have the influence here to make that happen.
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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