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

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Hi. Yesterday my 16 yo o-d ed on panadol after extreme ed related anxiety. She's been treated the last 24 hours, and has not eaten anything. At first the antidote made her vomit, but this has settled. I am more worried about the effect of not eating than the suicide attempt. This is because it is all tied together- her ed restricting has been getting heaps worse in recent weeks, and she has begun binging, cutting and purging. She's been having a form of therapy called adolescent focussed therapy (aft)- also is now on Prozac, olanzapine ( anti- psychotic) and ocp (the pill) . In some ways she's been seeming better, less withdrawn, happier with friends, then boom! This.
But- ed has not been letting her eat with family. It has been causing her to obsess about her younger sister ( herself only recently out of ed treatment, doing well I think, but still touchy with food matters). And it has Precipitated the binging and self harm.
Her overdose was set off when I caught her purging, her dad then took her computer and phone away. I didn't stop him- we are concerned about calorie counting apps she uses. But, what a terrible mistake- her friends are her lifeline when she is anxious. Thank fully she got her phone back, told a friend, who told her to tell me- in time to get her to hospital for treatment.
I am tired and mixed up. What do I do now? I am afraid of bringing her home to watch the awful self- harming begin again, but of course I will. Have checked and cleared room of sharps and alcohol ( drinking). Will talk to psych and therapist about plan to go on with for ed counselling. I should add we did fbt with both girls and it worked ok for the younger, but my elder girl is so resistant. She refused to go to the fbt centre after her second inpatient hospital stay, hence our trying AFT with a private therapist.
How do others manage to survive, emotionally and financially? I have to work tomorrow, and wish I could just run away . I can see that people on this forum are immensely strong and Have weathered years and years of ed stress. Has anyone any wise words, please? Especially to do with having one girl Newly recovered, yet touchy, and the other strong willed but struggling ? Also to do with the self harming and purging, which is relatively new.
Thank you.
So sorry to hear this has happened to your D. I notice you have been reading for a while, but this is your first post. Welcome. 

To be honest the situation you describe sounds serious and very worrying. I can see why you are feeling so distressed. 

You report your D has had a suicide attempt and that she did not admit this to anyone in the family. It was only by luck that she was able to contact a friend who in turn told you. She remains unwell, not eating and has been vomiting as well. Her eating disorder remains active and is currently not under control. Your D has been discharged from hospital with no clear plan of management.

Has your D been assessed fully psychiatrically for her suicidal intent. Is there an emergency plan in place for her so that you know exactly who to contact should things deteriorate? Who is responsible for assessing your D is medically stable?

Sorry about all the questions but in the current situation I would be refusing to take my D home until all of these things were in place. If I could not stay with her, or someone else was unavailable I would not be taking her home either. 

It sounds like your D requires a higher level of care than she is receiving at present, to keep herself safe both from her ED and her suicidal thoughts. Is there any chance of this?
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Oh dear, so sorry your family is faced with so much difficulty. Sandwiched in between all the heartache and concern are some positives to take stock of: You, her parents, have learned a lot about EDs already, having made such good progress with her sister. You are alert and aware so that her purging was noticed and interrupted. You have been reading around the forum, which is a tremendous source of information and support. Those are powerful items in the plus column. Good work!

I'm glad you're giving us a chance to help. But I agree with FoodSupport that it sounds like your d requires additional professional support right now.

rehema2 wrote:
is now on Prozac...

My d never actually attempted suicide, but her suicidal ideation seemed to get stronger during the short period of time she took Prozac. So one of the first things I would do is arrange a consultation with the psych in charge of her meds. 

Once things settle enough to address non-crisis items, I would reach out to your d's friend who convinced your d to tell you about the overdose. And the friend's mom, if you know her. This girl may have saved your d's life ... and, unfortunately, may be called upon to do so again in the future. Please be sure she gets a lot of positive reinforcement for being such a great friend to your d.

Hang in there, and please feel free to ask as many questions as you like. We're with you in spirit. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Hi Rehema,
I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Very difficult. In addition to the excellent advice you have been given already, I would recommend that once she's stable you pursue DBT therapy for your d.

My d has had some of the same issues as yours: self harm, sucidality, drug / alcohol abuse, purging. She is in a dialectical behavior therapy outpatient program and it is helping her and she likes it.

DBT is found to be very helpful for the sorts of things you are describing. I don't know if it's available where you are, I am hopeful that it is. I searched and found a couple of links re: DBT in NZ: https://www.dbtnz.co.nz/ and http://www.adhb.govt.nz/balanceprogramme/

It says DBT is for Borderline Personality Disorder. (Here is a link for you: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/a-z/resource/22/borderline-personality-disorder). My d was notdiagnosed with BPD (she has a couple of the symptoms) but it is helping her with everthing, including the ED.

You can search DBT on this forum and you'll find that other caregivers have mentioned that it is helpful.

All best to you. XO


Our daughter too suffered (still does at times) from suicidal ideation and is impulsive and self-harms. She now has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and is awaiting assessment (again!) for Aspergers.  FBT was stressful and ultimately unsuccessful for us, largely I think, because of these comorbid conditions. OK, we made plenty of mistakes along the way too, but I really do think that the biggest hurdle for us was the comorbids.

There were many times when we begged for IP, especially after her second most ED related OD. We didn't get it then and only did get it when she was an adult and very sick with the ED. I'm not sure where in the world you are, but certainly in the UK IP beds are very very hard to come by and getting one where they can deal with both impulsive behaviour and restricting AN almost impossible (the ED unit were GREAT with d but they found it a challenge).

Ideally you would get more support than you are now, either by way of an IP bed or day centre place for d, or with paid time out of work for you so that you can have time to care for her, or both, but so often parents don't get either. What you are doing in terms of removing sharps, keeping her as safe as you can, engaging with the therapy that seems best for her at the moment is great. If you can get professionals to do more in terms of supporting you then fantastic, but if you can't you can come here any time you want to vent, to ask advice or just to be with people who get it.

Our d isn't fully recovered. Again the comorbids have made that very difficult. However she has a relationship, a shared home with her partner, a beloved cat, and studies and hobbies. We didn't do everything right, and we didn't have the help that we needed when we needed it, but we've muddled through. She tried DBT quite recently and although the set up was ultimately unsuitable I think that was also very helpful and might be a very useful adjunct to your d's treatment too.
Fiona Marcella UK
Dear Rehema,
I would really push for in patient treatment. Your d sounds like she needs 24 hour 1-1 care to help her get through this terrible patch. Hospital can do this by switching nurses/carers every hour. You can't stay sane and maintain that level of care. When it was that stressful, I couldn't go to work. Your employers should understand this. H and I took turns and each employer allowed us half the week off to care for our d until she got a place IP. Is there any way you can let your younger d stay with trusted family/friends who will keep up the amazing work you have done getting her to a safer place? That would remove her from a very stressful situation and also remove a stress for your other d? It would allow you to concentrate on your struggling d without the extra worry. I found it very traumatic looking after my d when things were so bad and it impacted heavily on my other children. Be kind to yourself. You are really battling full on and it is tough. I hope my post doesn't sound harsh. Exaggerate the ed/suicidal threats-although they are very real, to get her IP in ed unit. They should put her on 1-1 and that helps with the suicidal ideation, self-harming, purging.  Another thing we did was put spyware on our d's computer and phone to check which sites she was using to try and address the use of those an sites. You need their password to do this. She never knew but we could tell quite a lot from the pattern of websites she used. It was not as bad as we had feared and helped us. Totally unethical but we did it for her to help fight the illness. Sending a big hug for strength.