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

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kgm
Hi,
mu 15 year old daughter is currently in her fourth week as a hospital inpatient. While she is gaining weight well (6kg so far), she has developed a huge eating anxiety. She hates eating anywhere that isn’t her room and refuses to eat if anyone other than her nurse is with her. For the last week she has been coming out with us and trying to eat. Big failure.  They really want her to get comfortable eating at home but we can’t get her through the front door!  Now they want us to bring her home for a snack and a meal everyday and she is hysterical.

Does anyone have any experience with this?  She has voiced her concerns around the home (2 fairly traumatic experiences) and they have a psychologist working with her weekly around that. I feel completely overwhelmed by the tasks ahead!
15.5 year old daughter diagnosed anorexic January 2020. Currently doing FBT after a 2 month hospital admission. Very very slow going.  
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. 

Unfortunately this does sound normal. It is great that she is gaining some weight, anxiety about eating commonly gets worse in this phase rather than better. It is unpredictable but there are many parents here whose kids have refused to eat with someone, someone looking at them, and many other variations. ED often uses it as a way to control the situation. 

Given the issues, perhaps you could start with much smaller baby steps - for example - insisting that she eat with you and the nurse in the room. Initially you could be out of site and not watching, then you could be watching and even eating with her, you could eat with her in the hospital then move towards eating at home. As much as possible ED trying to control the situation which would lead to not eating or chances of reduced eating needs to be stopped ASAP. 

Please read widely. It is very overwhelming at the start but slowly but surely change happens. Never fast enough but it does happen. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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ValentinaGermania
Yes, it is normal that anxiety increases and that she makes herself "rules" to follow that avoid to go back to a normal life and it is a good sign that the team does not give in to that and that they want her to tackle that anxiety and to learn to eat with you.
My 2 cents:
Maybe you can talk about a laddered approach with the team?
At the moment it is safe for her to eat in her room with the nurse.
So maybe she can
a) practise to eat in another room with the nurse
b) practise to eat with the nurse in her room and YOU sit besides

Then a next step could be that she eats with you in that room and the nurse sits besides. Then the nurse leaves the room for a minute to answer a phone call or so. Do you get what I mean?
It is maybe too much at the moment to ask her to come home and eat there with you. But it is important to work on that and push her slowly out of her comfort zone.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kgm
Thanks guys. We have been doing the baby steps at the hospital and have become stuck at her eating with me in the room. She has eaten outside the hospital once, sitting in the car and us outside the car. Now doing this everyday and for two meals just seems like a massive leap, but I guess we just try what we can each day and build in it. Seems like we’ll never eat in our own home together ever again though!
15.5 year old daughter diagnosed anorexic January 2020. Currently doing FBT after a 2 month hospital admission. Very very slow going.  
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Barberton
kgm it sounds like you are trying everything you can. Good job. Don't forget to tell your d that she is safe. I found this to be really awkward at first (who tells their child that it is safe to eat), but it has made a big difference to my d to hear me say it to her.
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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ValentinaGermania
kgm wrote:
Thanks guys. We have been doing the baby steps at the hospital and have become stuck at her eating with me in the room. She has eaten outside the hospital once, sitting in the car and us outside the car. Now doing this everyday and for two meals just seems like a massive leap, but I guess we just try what we can each day and build in it. Seems like we’ll never eat in our own home together ever again though!


Try to continue with these baby steps and a slow moving forward will bring you to your goal. Even small steps are steps forward.
I also thought we will never be able to eat normal meals at home totally relaxed but here we are!
Try not to see the whole mountain in front. One day after the other. One meal at a time. You will eat at your home together again, but not today and not next week. AN recovery takes a lot of time. Try to be patient and move on. That tunnel is long and dark but at the end there is some light!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
This is a long shot, but ... I wonder how you feel about bribery?  Is there something she REALLY wants?  (A puppy? A car? A vacation?)  Some here have dispensed tokens of some sort (or straight-up cash) for each meal eaten as prescribed, to be used toward the puppy, car, vacation, whatever.

Hang in there.  Thinking of you. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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MKR
kgm wrote:
... seems like a massive leap, but I guess we just try what we can each day and build in it. Seems like we’ll never eat in our own home together ever again though!


Those are indeed baby steps, just like with a newborn - will the baby ever sleep through the night?
I remember the hardest dinners when I thought "Goodbye normal..." but slowly, one meal at a time, the normal is coming back.

At the moment, weight gain is priority. I hope she will soon be able to eat with you in the car and then at a table.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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