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

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Bailey2019
New members to F.E.A.S.T., though 4-year members of the caregivers-for-d-with-AN club. Our d, diagnosed with AN at 10 though symptoms were showing when still 9, has been a dancer since she was 3. The ED team has consistently encouraged us to stop dance, and for times we have, when things weren't going well - stopped for 6 months when first out of hospital, and have several times since removed a class or a week of classes when weight was not being at least maintained. She dances a lot, 6 days/week, and we are informed enough to understand the reasons for stopping. What we're looking for is experiences from other members here when they had to force-stop an otherwise beloved activity. For our D, dance is where she seems happiest (though we know full well it's also where AN gets to burn more calories), she smiles when she's dancing, and her strongest social support group are the other girls with whom she's sweat, cried, and even bled over the years. We've not been shy about sharing the situation with her dance teacher and the parents of the other kids - it takes a village right? And having taught for over 40 years, the teacher is fairly well versed. So in many ways we feel this is a supportive space, could be a source of emotional support, granted could also be a source of distress and disordered thoughts, but is for sure a source of strong support from other girls her age who she's grown up with. So, we know we need to stop it, but truth be told we're also scared. The teacher has described stories of prior girls with AN who were forced to stop doing that thing they loved, and they spiraled downwards (one even at least attempted to take her own life). It seems we're in a tough spot here especially since her identity is so tied to being a dancer - let her continue which is not likely helping recovery, or stop and, very likely, put her on self-harm/suicide watch for at least a while.

So we'd love to hear from others - how has the process of stopping an activity (dance or otherwise) gone? Any strategies to share on how to manage that transition? Regrets? Success stories? We know this isn't going to be easy, but we'd love to get any previous perspectives that we can so we're more prepared on what is likely to come. Thanks all.
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Ronson
Is she weight restored and maintaining weight restoration ? How are other Ed behaviours ? 
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mnmomUSA
My daughter was a dancer, from age 3 till she became sick at age 13. We withdrew her (she also danced 6 days per week).  It was brutal, but necessary.  She swore at us.  Said she had "no reason to live" if she couldn't dance, and on and on and on.  It was super hard.  Particularly because we were on the eve of the major spring recital, and it required her school to re-block all the pieces she was in.  Her school was, however, absolutely supportive of her withdrawal.  Sent her sweet notes and gifts.  I'm frankly appalled about "sharing" "sad" stories.  Ugh.  That is what no one needs.

After 9 months, when she was fully weight restored (put on more than 45 pounds), she was allowed back for ONE class per week.  ONE.  Not six days per week.  And, she had to eat an extra snack to compensate.  This was a condition that was placed on her.  Obviously, at first, we kept a very close eye on her.  I slept with her for weeks after she was out of the hospital.  It was a slow process, but I gradually saw her start to explore other, related activities.  

Want to know something interesting?  She took that one class, and never took another.  Instead, her focus became theater.  Turns out, that once she was no longer allowed to use dance as a calorie burning exercise (because we very carefully made her replace every calorie she burned, and then some), it wasn't all that interesting to her.  She still dances a bit (she's in college now, and takes a class here and there), but for joy only.  This has been the experience of more than my family.  Others have seen the same thing.  The allegedly "beloved" activity isn't all that beloved anymore.
D, age 18, first diagnosed March 20, 2013, RAN, at age 13 Hospitalized 3 weeks for medical stability. FBT at home since.  UCSD Multi-family Intensive June 2015. We've arrived on the other side.  :-)  D at college and doing great!
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Bailey2019
Thanks mnmomUSA, that's actually quite comforting to hear. You're quite right, if there's one thing we don't need more of it's sad stories. I guess I'm hoping to hear that, despite what we may intuitively think (or what we're being told by some people), stopping an activity through which she seems to form her identity and strongest friendships is at least doable and that there is a light at the other end. And I suppose, if anyone has gone through it and can offer any 'if I had to do it again, I would have done...' (which is maybe, I would have done the same thing I did), then that may help prepare us and others who are facing one of the many difficult decisions that need to be made thanks to this terrible disorder.
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Bailey2019
Ronson wrote:
Is she weight restored and maintaining weight restoration ? How are other Ed behaviours ? 


Had a team visit today, their perspective is that she's not yet weight restored and we accept that. Other ED behaviours remain strong - compulsive activity, rigidity around eating, that sort of thing. Weight is slowly creeping upwards over the past few months after a dismal end to 2018.
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scaredmom
Hi Bailey2019, 
Welcome to the club no one would wish to join. I am glad that you found us and hope we can support you. 

My d did soccer and wanted to be the fastest runner prior to her ED diagnosis. As hard as it was to do, we did have to stop it all for a while ie 4-5 months. Now she does play a few team sports and knows she has to eat more for those days but that is 2 years in and 1.3 year post WR and an extra 10 kg +. She was almost 12 at diagnosis now aged 14. It was hard to hear her begging to go and do gym (we took her out of all nonessential physical activities). But we had to tolerate her distress no matter how hard it was. 
Now my d stood all the time and it was ED behaviour and now my d says she hates cardio! We all find our way through this. 
She is not obsessive with exercise or sports and was so at diagnosis.

Although it feels you are taking a huge, positive part of their worlds away, right now, it may not be forever and her health comes first and foremost. Right now it is hard to do but looking into the future it is short term pain for long term gain. 

I too agree with the sad stories bit - I wish that you were not told things like that... We can tell you here some good stories where we tackled the ED behaviours and things got better even when they said they could not "live" without soccer, running at the beginning. There may be some difficult times to come tackling this but it is worth it. 

How can we help you to get the weight on? Do you have a specialist ED team and are you doing FBT? Sorry so many questions, just asking so that we understand your circumstances better so we can help you . 😊

Welcome again
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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sk8r31
We had a d who was a competitive figure skater, and moving up to an 'elite' level when AN struck at 14.  Started out with 'healthy' eating, and wanting to work out more to make herself into a better athlete.  It all sounded positive...she did not have a slight build, and we never talked about weight or even had a scale in the house.  Long story short;  very precipitous weight loss over 4 months, the last month while we were doing an international jaunt while h was on sabbatical.  I had to return home early, & d was hospitalized for medical stability.  She was never 'below' a normal weight range, but the rapid weight loss was disastrous.  
Our d considered her sport part of her identity, and where she was happiest, with friends.  She claimed it was a motivation to get better, but what we witnessed was the inability to fuel enough to be able to participate, despite her overwhelming desire to continue. 

We stopped all skating, and other physical activity, for close to a year.  It caused a lot of anguish & tears at the time.  But the coaches were very supportive and told d that skating was just one small part of her life and that health was the most important thing, and they wanted her to be able to join them to coach someday.  As she really looked up to them, this carried a lot of weight, and she was able to finally accept this reality.  When she was able to return to skating, the 'competitive' window was pretty much closed, and so the focus changed, to be able to complete skill levels and to do more artistic, less competitive skating. 
 
We are a number of years out now, and d has been able to enjoy skating through the years and has qualified to judge tests and some competitions.  She did have the opportunity for a competitive year last year in synchronized skating at the national level, and that was a thrill.  But it has been relatively easy to move on to other roles within the sport, and to continue her schooling.  She still has great friends that she keeps in touch with from her sport but has a much broader and more enriched social life.

In short, we agonized over withdrawal of a beloved sport, but it was totally necessary.  And we also knew that she would have to rejoin the sport in a much less competitive way if she were to return.  I fully endorse a complete break from competitive athletics until well down the recovery road.  At least a year of being back on growth curve, and of course, being able to fuel for any increased activity.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Bailey2019
This is empowering information and I appreciate you all for sharing these experiences. sk8r31 you mention agonizing over the decision, and indeed we've been doing so for some years now. There's that tension - do we attempt to address all other aspects of her life, her eating and behaviours but leave her this one thing that at least gives her that semblance of a 'normal' childhood, or cold turkey the whole thing and deal with the fallout, accepting that a normal childhood has long since passed. So far we've attempted to keep the dance and the connections it brings, sometimes using it as a carrot for improved behaviour, but I think what I'm hearing, and having now read through some other threads on this forum, cold turkey is what we're going to have to do. Hard on all of us though it will very likely be.

This condition is so hard.
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kazi67
Hi Bailey
our experience (and my much older than yours) so take or leave what you like as everyone does what they think is best with the information and professional help (which in the beginning we had non) except the wise owls on this site.... 
SO our d was a dancer 
the members here advice was to stop but our GP (who was clueless on AN but we didn’t know this till my d was later admitted into IP)  said it was fine for her to continue to dance, so we monitored her weight weekly and if she gained she went if not she missed that week of dance
she got to WR, (or so we thought, clueless GP didnt get off his backside to check the scale (can you believe!!) honestly if only I knew then what I know now 🙁
as my  d was older and I was made to feel like a helicopter parent for being at the appt with her plus I believed her at that stage (I have since learned how manipulative this illness can be) plus my kid like many others I have now read about was the most honest, perfect child you could know
so long story short she had lost weight that week at GP appt and then continued to and ended up in IP very very ill and  past year has been in an out of IP and OP treatment only just recently been discharged 
it wasn’t until my d was admitted to hospital and under specialised ED professionals that the illness seemed to be able to be beaten, but I feel if we had stopped the dance sooner it wouldn’t of gotten to that point 
but as she was lying (or AN was) she had us all tricked, I was exhausted, and at my wits end trying to cook, montitor her appts etc, I was advised to go back to work, during her treatment process she has taken ownership of her recovery but I think her age and maturity has much to do with this.......
oh it’s a balancing act of support/guidance/independence 
it’s been a nightmare to say the least!!!

if I could offer any advise stop the dance!

Any exersize for that matter (once in IP my d wasn’t even allowed to walk anywhere except to the dining room to eat)
my d has had to have 1 year off dance and only very gradually been allowed to return to gentle 30min walk once at a certain weight and now one year later is allowed to participate in 2 dance classes 
she is deciding on wether to enroll in a dance teacher course 
it has not been easy let me tell you, much like your d her social life, friends, everything revolved around dance 
she felt her life fell apart, had no reason to live, felt she had no purpose, it has been so heartbreaking to watch her go through this
she has had to reinvent herself, find new friends, learn about balance in life and self care, being a woman, buying girls clothes 
as hard as it’s been she has learnt she is a very STRONG soul and I see her grow each day/week and see her help others which makes me so proud
it still has been incredibly hard on us all as a family to see her struggles  her frustration as she watches her friends “get on with life”
this past year has been the worst I would not wish this illness on my worst enemy
you d is younger I hope my d story can make you see if you don’t step in now it can effect them so much later (not getting work, not being able to work, not making connections through work with new friends/people, not knowing what other parts of life they need to focus on) when their sport consumes every minute of their life
its sad that an illness can take away from them what they want to do/be
but I CAN see the growth in my d and we continue to support her
she has good days and bad, she returning to her old self, funny, chatty, helpful, I LOVE that she goes out buying pretty dresses and is exploring her feminine side, (she now has boobs)  before it was just leggings and dance tops, we are so close it’s not funny we have had the fortnight from hell with her discharge recently but the growth in this last week has been incredible 
sorry if I’m rambling, just want you to see that if you do the hard work now you may save your d some incredibly hard days later 
we thought we could kick AN butt early and I guess a combination of the poor advice from GP plus the manipulative, obsessive, traits of the illness confused me
once my d was IP she had no choices but she was very sick by then 
thats our story I know you will make your choice on what you think is best for your d as we did too
if only we could turn back time 
i think I made every mistake possible and continue to tbh but WE are getting there
good luck, I wish you and your d well
hope some of this may be helpful
x
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edengirl
We tried to let or d keep the normalcy of activity at first. She was a runner and soccer player and this was such a large part of her identity and of course friend base. We made little or no progress and it was painful and terribly stressful. After going to UCSD for a week we took their advice and went “cold turkey” on activity. It too was painful and stressful but at least we started making progress. It was a life change for our  whole family but we spent months watching  movies, putting puzzles together, doing board games, crafts...etc.  we tried any and everything that was not sports/activity related. Slowly, daughter began pulling out of the abyss.  5 months  after being weight restored we let her start doing soccer drills on her own for 15 minutes a day. Oddly enough, some days she doesn’t even bother to do them (keep in mind this was a daily activity for her before AN). I think in our case, the AN had been lurking for possibly years before it firmly took hold. Some of her obsession with sports had to be rooted around that even though we were clueless. I am curious to see what role sports will play in her life going forward after AN is in our rear view mirror for good. I out case, one thing I can confidently say is there is no way we would have made the progress we did at the rate we did if we had not stopped the activity- at least for those critical months.
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Kali

Bailey 2019 Welcome. You have gotten excellent advice here. Just wanted to mention that If you want to use the search function and enter exercise, I am sure you will find many threads discussing this since it is a very common issue. 

Are there some other activities you can get your daughter interested in aside from dance? Does she like theater, or art, or music? Volunteering with animals? Something that doesn't involve movement or exercise and can replace her feeling of belonging to a group and having that social interaction?

warmly,
Kali

 

Food=Love
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KLB
Hello Bailey2019. I saw this thread last night but was a tad reluctant to post as this is a topic that we have struggled with hugely, and we are going down a different route to many others, which I know others here do not agree with,  some even having voiced concerns about our parenting. Although very hurtful I have chosen to ignore it and take it as advice that is not relevant to us. 

Our son is an elite level competitive swimmer, was on track to qualify for junior world championships this year and had a very slim potential of Olympic qualification. Trained twice a day in the pool and in the gym 3 times a week. He then decided he was going to expand his sports and started football, cricket, trail running and boxing on various weeknights after his swimming. We didn't know it at the time but this was the start of his exercise compulsion and he developed huge calorific deficits by overtraining and not increasing his calories. He actually decreased his calories and ended up with relative energy deficiency in sport syndrome, which developed into full blown AN-R. 

He was diagnosed early Sep 18 and spiralled down very quickly, ending up in hospital for medical stabilisation. We stopped all sports and exercise, including swimming, and then his exercise compulsion really started to show. 

Whats different with us is that that he has struggled so much with not swimming that it was starting to negatively affect his motivation and progress. Like your d with her dancing, his whole identity is caught up in swimming. He's been on a performance pathway since he was 7 and he just couldn't cope with not being able to swim. To us, swimming is not ED driven....there may be elements that ED took over but his motivation to swim is not ED. All the other sports/exercise absolutely was/is ED and since stopping them he has barely mentioned them. So, what we have started in the last few weeks is prescribed, supervised exercise, which includes some swimming related gym work twice a week and one 20 minute light session in the pool. There are strict rules associated with these and overall he's done ok. He's not weight restored yet and we are gaining very very slowly but it has helped quiet his compulsion to move and like your D, when he's in the pool he's happy. He has a renewed motivation to get himself weight restored so in general is eating better than he was. We still have a long way to go and things to work on and address but for us we believe this is going to help, not hinder him, especially mentally. 

As the weight goes on his exercise prescription will slowly increase albeit within very strict parameters and heavily supervised, with the eventual aim to restart his performance training at some point in the future if he wants to.

This is just our perspective and we have chosen to do things very differently, rightly or wrongly. It is still early days but so far we believe, for him, it's more helpful than not. I just wanted to offer a different perspective for you. 
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tina72
My d was/is a standard + latin dancer. We had to stopp all dancing 2 years ago until WR because of severe malnutrition and we did not allow to do it for some time after IP (3 months) because it was not possible to get her WR with that activity.
She cried a lot because of that. It was hard. It was in addition her only social activity besides school where she had no friends.

After WR we started on a total different state. No competitive dancing, only 1,5 hours dancing in a club a week. She loves that now and does not want to do anything else. She today says that it was necessary to stop that and that she has much more fun with no competition.
She is more than 2 years in recovery now and WR for nearly 2 years and doing well. She is back to her old normal, no ED thoughts (if eating enough), maintaining her weight with little help and at University now.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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tina72
Bailey2019 wrote:


Had a team visit today, their perspective is that she's not yet weight restored and we accept that. Other ED behaviours remain strong - compulsive activity, rigidity around eating, that sort of thing. Weight is slowly creeping upwards over the past few months after a dismal end to 2018.


Do I understand that right: they said she is not WR and you should accept that??? Why???
Her ED behaviour cannot get better bevor WR because then the brain recovery will start. You lengthen the pain if you accept a malnutrition and being underweight. It is dangerous for her health.

The big question about dancing/not dancing will be:
Is she able to eat enough to compensate that? Will you get her WR soon although she is dancing?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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HopeNZ
Hi Bailey

My d, like yours, has been a dancer since she was very young.  In the years leading up to becoming ill, she somehow managed to juggle dancing and swimming (both several times a week) along with all sorts of other commitments.  It really was not sustainable, even for a healthy 13-year-old, and we were putting pressure on her to choose one or the other.  A new interest in running on top of everything else was one of the factors that led her down the rabbit hole.

Immediately on diagnosis she stopped all physical activity.  As she approached wr several months later, we broached the subject of giving up one or other of her two main loves, dancing and swimming, for good.  She couldn't decide so we decided for her, and we decided she should give up swimming.  At 95% wr she was allowed to return to one dance class a week, and later another, always on the understanding of replacing lost calories.  While many were surprised we chose dance, it was where her social group was strongest.  Also, we liked the fact that dance classes have a start and end time, and at her level it's difficult to practice outside these hours without the correct sprung floor etc. 

I'm sorry to say that even though she's doing well now (2 years later), and back to taking several classes of dance a week, she has never really forgiven us for making her give up swimming.  I think she'll always wonder how far she could have gone with it.  I’m grateful she’s been able eventually to return to dance but we were careful not to promise anything at the time. 

Good luck!

Warmly
Hope
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Bailey2019
Just need to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who has provided their experiences and perspectives on this. While no two people or circumstances are the same, reading these stories has clearly revealed some consistencies that, if I can sum them up, are something like this: yes, it will be hard to take away something from your child through which they find meaning, joy, and purpose, and yes a loss of meaning, joy, and purpose can be potential precursors to other mental disorders like depression and as such replacing that void with other constructive things that can provide other sources of meaning while upping the level of supervision (to the degree it can be for a child who is currently supervised every minute of every day other than at night) will be critical to keep her safe in the short-to-intermediate term. But, from what I'm reading, to a person (and again recognizing we're a somewhat select group here), the child eventually emerges on the other side with a renewed sense of meaning, joy, and purpose that come from other sources. So, thank you all, this is so tremendously valuable - and I'd think this general perspective would go for anything whether it be dance, soccer, swimming, running, or other activity (exercise related or otherwise) that may be maintaining an unhealthy relationship with a child's sense of identity and self-worth.

So if I may, and at the risk of over-extending the good will that has already been shown, I'd like to ask one other perspective on this issue, and that is that during the 2 hours she's dancing, the two of us as parents have been able to use that time to address the other critical parts of being adults. Not the least of which is addressing our other D who is just turning 16 (very healthy, thankfully), and also things like paying bills, booking appointments, meeting with school teachers, strategizing for the week ahead, home maintenance, and every now and then just sitting together on the sofa and being an actual married couple. While we do have support in town in the form of both sets of grandparents, they are both in their late 60s/early 70s and are not nearly as involved in the day-to-day workings of our house, so it's hard to put supervision of our D on them. So if anyone is willing to share further, any strategies that they've found to be effective in their own dynamics as a couple/parent dyad to ensure all of the daily responsibilities that come with being an adult can be accomplished while also supervising a D with AN on a full-time+++ basis.
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sk8r31
Bailey2019, thank you for summarizing & synthesizing the different responses on your thread.  Knowledge is power, and gaining perspective from others' experiences with sport and exercise can help you feel more confident in whichever direction you choose to go on this issue.

Something else that I thought of in relation to a beloved sport, is that sometimes, through accident or illness or injury, an athlete has to give up their chosen path.  If any of our kids broke their leg, for example, there would be a required period of time away from the sport, and perhaps they would not be able to return, or at least return at a competitive level.  This perspective helped me when we were agonizing over the decision to stop d's skating.  Sometimes one has to 'take a left turn' in life, through no fault of one's own.  I truly believe that my d has a very healthy perspective now on her goals in life, and the ability to accept that life doesn't always go to plan, but it can be rich and rewarding in ways that one cannot always foresee.  A perspective that is difficult to hold as an adolescent, but that we as parents can hold for our kids, and remind ourselves that there is a meaning, purpose and much joy ahead for each of them when they are healthy.

Now to your latest question...how to maintain a relationship with a partner, and keep all the balls in the air in terms of daily responsibilities.  It was tough for us.  We ended up spelling each other off to get some time to 'recharge'.  It meant that we were more able to maintain equilibrium as individuals, and not lose our cool with the kids or the challenging situation of dealing with ED.  But it meant that there was little time 'together' and our relationship did need time to get back in balance once we had kicked ED to the curb.  If we had had relatives able to step in for meal support or respite that would have been ideal.  But we did not.  So I can't offer any great strategies, but we did pull through the illness together, and our family is all the stronger for it now.

Sending warm support,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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scaredmom
The grandparents can spend quality time with any of your children to provide respite for you. They don’t need to do too much but maybe just playing games, movies or just talking may be helpful.
Many families have one parent who may take some time off work to support caring for the child with ED.
i took that time off as needed and do work full time. But as self employed I did need some days off.
For my h and I thinking back it was hard hard hard to have time together. I was so focused on ED d there was no time for me let alone other relationships. For us I think if we were both sharing care of Ed with the same mindset about everything ED related  ( we struggled with that tbh) , I think our relationship would have been better, during and after that time. It can be a strain on all our relationships. So that is as a piece to work out after d was doing much better.
All the best
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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debra18
I did not get involved in the exercise discussion because my daughter was not involved in a physical activity. But I can say that keeping her distracted and getting involved in other activities has been very important. I got her hamsters which she loves and started her with piano lessons. Could you daughter take music lessons and while she is busy with the lesson you could pay the bills? My daughter was always in school and they provided meal supervision there. So while I had a baby to take care of at home I did have some time for myself. Are you going to work? Can you take some hours off or spend time during your lunch break doing things for yourself? My kids go to bed before 930 so my husband and I spent time together from 930-11 at night every night as we always had. 
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tina72
Bailey2019 wrote:
So if anyone is willing to share further, any strategies that they've found to be effective in their own dynamics as a couple/parent dyad to ensure all of the daily responsibilities that come with being an adult can be accomplished while also supervising a D with AN on a full-time+++ basis.


I asked that recently in a thread "How did you safe your marriage/partnership" and it lead to a discussion about sex so I hope this will not happen again.🙉
It is hard to stay a couple when some family member needs help 24/7. It is like having a baby again in the house.
We tried to ask grandparents to take her out for an hour now and then (which is difficult as the inlaws are over 80) and we had some time for us (and used it) when she was off to school again (half days first). And now she is in good recovery and at University and we are a normal mid aged couple again...😁
Try to take that time. It is important. AN destroys so many families and marriages. If we were not together for more than 30 years this could have happened to us, too.
Take all time possible for you and hubby as a couple. If it is only a few minutes kiss in the porch that is o.k. And try to keep the bedroom an ED free zone. No talking about ED and d in the bedroom. That helped a lot here (although we were not always successful with that).
And there are no questions that we are not willing to answer. Even if it is about sex. 😂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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edengirl
Like most things involving AN, how to keep a household and marriage afloat during this is complicated and sometimes feels impossible.  My h and I took different shifts of preparing food, doctor's appts, handling the other kids in the house... ect.   It all feels like a blurr at this point but it did take a toll on our marriage.  I was/am empty most of the time.  Every waking and even non-waking minute (I would dream about all this!) was spent on AN and how to defeat it.  Sometimes I would just stop and hug my h to have someone to cry on.  Thankfully he understands how my mind works (I think AN d gets her OCD focus from me unfortunately), and he knew he had to just let me do what I had to in order to keep my sanity.  For me it was reading every book, forum, article and listening to every Podcast I could get my hands on to educate myself on this monster.  When we did have a minute to ourselves it was spent with me "downloading" everything I had learned into his mind so he could help me process it.  I distinctly remember the day when some normalcy started returning to our lives as d began pulling out of this.  We bumped into each other in the kitchen (of course) I hugged him and said, "Can we breath now?"  He said, "I think we actually can." 

Since then, little by little, we have started putting our lives back together.  For us, friends have been much more understanding and helpful than family.  Our parents are older and can't wrap their minds around AN.  They say things they think are helpful but are more hurtful than anything.  I am beginning to understand how scared our family was as they stood idly by and watched this disaster.  H and I were too busy trying to save our d than to spend hours trying to educate them on AN.  Since I couldn't trust them not to say something to d that could set her back, we really became reclusive as far as extended family went out of necessity.  I know they felt helpless and isolated but I just didn't have the emotional resources to face their worries also.  Our friends on the other hand (maybe because they have kids this age too right now?) asked few questions but instead took cues from us and just helped with whatever we needed.  No long explanations were demanded.  They just asked to let them help and we did.  Looking back I am sure they sensed the urgency in me and h and knew how bad we were struggling.  We were blessed to have these folks in our life. 

On the positive side, me and h pulled together to save our d.  We were a team from the very beginning- each playing our own role.  It wouldn't have been how I chose to strengthen our marriage but it is what we were faced with like all you.  With have come out stronger and little by little we are piecing our lives back together. 
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HopeNZ
A quick response to your second question, Bailey.  I think many here have found it difficult for elderly parents/in-laws to step in to take the load of some of the practicalities of dealing with the ED, for the reasons you give and also because they are generally of the era of the bad old days of blaming parents or family dynamics for the ED.  However, I wonder if you could engage the oldies to play a sort-of non-ED related role?  Like a weekly visit to the library with Grandma, or an hour spent working on the garden with Granddad.  As well as giving you all a break from one another, this might help you and your d to maintain the ties with extended family which can become so strained in our situations.  And also a reminder of life outside the constant meals and battles around your own dinner table.  This might require some coaching beforehand as to what is/is not appropriate to say to an ED-sufferer!  (We had some absolute howlers with my very elderly in-laws!). There are some great guidelines to this on the FEAST website and in a recent thread here.
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Jojo2271
I would say unless the grandparents are unwell or particularly doddery late 60's early 70's is not that old nowadays.
You say you can't ask them to supervise but have you asked them... Is there a easy meal or snack that they might be able to do?
Are they looking to help? In which case practical help might be best.. I got my parents walking the dog and doing gardening etc. While I was in hospital with d.
Interestingly my d seems to accept the foot in mouth my 79 year old father comes out with, with much amusement 
Somehow grandpa committing anorexia faux pau is funny. 
I love that he doesn't worry too much about what he says. 
I think its finding what grandparents or friends want to do to help.. Some are scared of getting it wrong but would do shopping or cleaning or life admin stuff.. Others might be good at supervision. 
I am so proud of my dad... He has read Eva M book cover to cover in preparation for when my d is discharged from IP. So he can do his bit at meals 
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Ronson
Jojo - your dad sounds amazing 
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tina72
Jojo2271 wrote:

I am so proud of my dad... He has read Eva M book cover to cover in preparation for when my d is discharged from IP. So he can do his bit at meals 


What a great dad, jojo, he really seems to love you, that is a great help!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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