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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi to everyone

This feels very strange. I have very little experience with forums and even less experience with, what is shockingly, looking to be more common than I ever imagined. I have been going through posts - part of me is saddened and horrified that there are so many families struggling and other part finally feels that maybe I am not so alone.

I have a 14 year old daughter (M) who we discovered was cutting and as it all unfolded has Anorexia and Bulimia. Our children are at boarding school because my husband's job takes us all over and the frequent moving was very disruptive for them all. My daughters friends at boarding school exposed the cutting to adults at school at the same time as my daughter admitted to her dad she was hurting herself. I got on the next plane and our nightmare began.

The last 3 months have left my head spinning and I am mortified that a child that is so sweet, kind, compassionate and loving can hate herself so much that she feels she deserves to be hurt and all this time we didn't see the pain she was in, she hid it from us so well for so long. Although intellectually I get that we are not too blame I am riddled with guilt and shame that it went so far.

M received inpatient treatment for a month and I am now caring for her at home. She hasn't been able to return to boarding but has gone back to school. I have moved to the town where school is but I am essentially without a support base with my husband 5000km away and I know no one here. We communicate with M's treatment team via Skype and email regularly but I have basically isolated myself so I don't have to face sharing the hell with any new people for fear that they judge us. M has made good progress but has relapsed once with eating and once with cutting and I am constantly waiting to deal with the next crisis. Not a great way to live. I want to be as supportive and useful to my daughter but I feel like I am in over my head.


Posts: 650
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, welcome to this forum and so sorry to hear about your daughter. This is a very isolating illness. This illness is hard on relationships. I only have a couple of friends left and the only family around here deserted us ๐Ÿ˜•.

It's great that you tackled this illness so quickly and that she is eating. Don't worry too much about a skipped meal now and then. I completely forgot about afternoon tea today, but made it up at dinner and supper. Hang in there, you're doing a great job.

Are there any clubs at the new town you can go to, like gardening, walking, yoga, book club etc, which might interests you? It will be good to have something that can give you a break from ED. When new people inquired about my d's illness, I just said she has a brain disorder. They usually don't enquire further.

Best of luck and sending lots of hugs ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her. Now working on intuitive eating.

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 

Thanks for the welcome and encouragement. You are right I do need to get out there. I will make the effort.

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Posts: 3,837
Reply with quote  #4 
Welcome to the forum. This illness can be very isolating both for those with the illness and for their caregivers. 

You don't mention where you are, but looking for local support can be a good idea too. Ironically eating disorders thrive on secrecy and shame and sometimes not sharing, being open can make the isolation seem worse. There will always those who don't want to hear or know about mental health issues, but I do worry that you are not telling people for fear of being judged. 

Is your daughter fully weight restored yet? The most important thing in initial treatment is weight recovery, but then after that there is the mental recovery which takes much longer. 

Please read widely around the FEAST website, there is lots of information in the learning center. 

D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.

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Posts: 448
Reply with quote  #5 

So sorry you are here, but thank goodness you are because the families on here are the absolute best and have been through so much of what you are facing. I find them invaluable. There are some great parent to parent videos posted on this site - the reason I mention them is that 1) they are so good at helping to understand this incomprehendible illness and 2) the doctor in the video clearly says that parents may feel guilty but they shouldn't and quite honestly, it's a waste of your energy better served to help your D. So, cheerfully telling you to let go of guilt.  You've moved a world away from your family to support your D. That is powerful love. She's blessed to have you.

19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.

Posts: 164
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi iamcubed
Welcome sorry you have had to join us here
It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with your d
It's a very isolating illness and I found even if I wanted to try do something go somewhere I was usually too tired or busy planning/cooking meals
I even had the shopping delivered a few times to save going to the shopping centre
I felt isolated and housebound
But it does get better, slowly and you will feel so much better once you start to see progress
Lots of info on the site to help you realise you are not alone or crazy and lots of videos that helped me so much to understand what my d going through
Good luck and ask questions here there is always someone who has an answer or suggestion to help x

Posts: 120
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi iamcubed,
I feel like your story could be my.  My d (now 14) started this journey  year ago with anorexia.  we later discovered she had been cutting and was very depressed.  I too had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my d had been in such pain and I didn't know.  The fact is they do learn how to hide it so very well.  It becomes second nature to them.  I am now a year into my journey, d has had multiple hospitalization (currently in care for depression/suicidal thoughts and ed).  I have spent so much time trying to figure out what happened to send my d spiralling so far down the rabbit hole.  I have come to realize that the why is not as important as the how we help her get back her life. 
I think you are doing an excellent job in getting you d back to her life!!  Keep it up!!  please do remember that you need to take care of you as well.  Reaching out to the community could help you more than you can imagine.  There may well be more people in similar situations than you realize.
the things I try to keep in mind through all this are:
we are stronger than ED and whatever other issues thrown at us.
Life never gives us more than we can handle (no matter how it feels right now).
There is always a light at the end of the just may be far away right now.
we WILL get through's just a matter of what the road is like along the way.
Wishing you and your D all the best.  Keep up the good fight!!
mom up north

Mom Up North

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Posts: 1,547
Reply with quote  #8 
Although intellectually I get that we are not too blame I am riddled with guilt and shame that it went so far.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with what I didn't know yet felt I should have.  My daughter was abused which came out but for years I spent so much time just asking myself where was I?  How could this have happened and I missed it??!

You did the best you could with the information you had.  Once you had the correct information, you have made huge changes in getting her treatment and making decisions to keep her on the right path.  When you truly had the choice with all the available information, you made the wise choice and that has to be okay because all you can change is the future.  Take the guilt and shame and channel it into resolve to get her better.

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Posts: 2,454
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi there,
Welcome from Dublin!
The first thing I will say to you is to read and learn as much as you can about this horrible illness.
There is a great community of like minded people on line.
This actual forum helped me get my kid back, and I will be eternally grateful for this. 
Post as much as you want, there is always somebody up, ask as many questions as you wish.
Do you mind me asking where in the world you are? 
The first step to recovery is weight restoration, have you managed to re-feed her?

Best wishes,

Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.

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Posts: 2,454
Reply with quote  #10 

Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.

Posts: 1,525
Reply with quote  #11 
Hi iamcubed,
welcome to this forum nobody wants to be member of!
I hope we can help you a bit against feeling so lonely. We all experienced that but with your husband so far it must be even harder.
Can you get a family member or a friend to visit to help you a bit? You need condition for a marathon and that is nothing to stand alone.
If you need someone to talk, here are a lot of very nice people almost 24 hours a day! Feel welcome to ask questions and even just to tell someone how bad your day was. We are here to listen. We all have those days when we need someone to talk and noone without ED in the house can understand what you are going through at the moment.
This is my first forum membership ever, too, but I am glad that I joined in and I should have done this much earlier (I didnยดt because its not my mother tongue).
It is great that you are there for her and that she can go to school! The guilt thing is something we all deal with. Do not look back. That is senseless and takes too much rare power. Look forward. Life is waiting there for you both. It will get better.
Where on her body is she cutting? What does she use? Did you find all sharp things to hide? My d even used a paperclip (and she got it from a paper from her therapist). If its the stomach: try to make her wear bodys. If its the arms: we bought nice wide bracelets which made it more difficult. And the best thing was: Buy a punching bag. Tell her to punch the bag when she is angry about herself. That worked very well in our family and I used it as much as my daughter I think [biggrin]. We have to get rid of all these agressions...
Send you a big hug from Germany,


Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #12 
A huge thank you for all the responses from all over. Everyone has encouraged me and I know I am in the right place with this forum.

I do have a question - is insomnia part of the territory with EDs? My d is really struggling to sleep even with medication and is up and down several times during the night. I always wake up too so there are 2 zombies in our house. ๐Ÿ˜ด

Posts: 1,031
Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Iamcubed,

Unfortunately, insomnia is absolutely one of the symptoms. In my son's case I feel there were a number of reasons. Firstly, a purely biological reason; melatonin is the hormone produced in readiness for sleep and it's manufactured in the body using amino acids from proteins. In the worst phases my son was simply not getting enough raw materials to produce it.

Secondly, the nights are rough psychologically. There is no distraction from the horrors of the eating disorder. My son was literally petrified. He would also wake up exceptionally early 4/5 am and have to get up.

What helped:
- melatonin is available on prescription and also over the counter in pharmacies or health food shops. We had to go to a very high dose for it to have any effects. We started low and increased until it had an effect. It is an exceptionally safe medication with no known side effects.
 - staying with him on the rough nights. I couldn't do anything to help but my or my husband's presence seemed to sooth him.
- increased intake and improved weight. It's been fantastic to see the change and he's now back to normal and will even doze for an hour after he wakes.

Warm wishes,


2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, tons of variety in food, stepping back into social life. Sept 2017, back to school full time for the first time in 2 years. Happy and relaxed, just usual non ED hassles. 

  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal. (but don't give up on the plan too soon, maybe it just needs a tweak or a bit more time and determination [wink] )
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.

Posts: 275
Reply with quote  #14 
Agree with Deenl.  Think of it this you have trouble sleeping when highly stressed? 

Try winding down the night with reading (not on a computer or phone as that is said to keep people up) or maybe a movie that would take your child's mind off of things long enough for the brain to say it's sleep time?

IAm3 - How are you sleeping?  [frown]  I'm so sorry you're going through this - I really really do empathize and know how you feel.  I still have guilt even though rationally I know it's unwarranted and unproductive.  I guess I'm just one of those people that have a hard time shaking it.


Posts: 1,024
Reply with quote  #15 
I think this is so normal and was a terrible issue for my daughter. Everything is harder when you don't sleep. We were working with a not good psych and he was prescribing ambien, which didn't even work. We too used melatonin and other natural supplements. The one that worked the best for my d is called Alteril and is available at most grocery stores or drug stores in US. It is all natural and non addictive and there is no hangover effect in the morning. I use it now for jet lag when I travel. We also tried to practice good sleep hygiene. This meant no computers in bed, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques 15-30 min or so before bed, etc. I too slept with her for months because it seemed to help. These things helped, but the thing that helped the most was weight gain. When she was recovered and would come home from college and sleep until noon like most college kids, it was joy to my soul!
Enjoying my 23 year-old daughter's achievement of active recovery that was made possible by the resources and education I found on this forum.

Don't give up hope!
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