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PurpleRain

WARNING: IT’S LONG!

It’s a year since we started our journey, D has been wr+ since the end of June 2019.

It was February the 9th, we went to a restaurant to celebrate my SIL´s birthday. My D (13 at the time) did not want to come; that in itself was weird, but I let her, I thought it was a teen thing. Luckily, my sister, much younger than me, the cool aunt, took her to eat sushi. She called me next day, worried: my D didn’t eat or order anything but miso soup WHAT?! sushi was a favorite foo d.D told her she would rather not have to eat, EVER. My sister has a friend who suffered anorexia long time ago, before they met, but they have talked about it, she (sister) said she was worried about D. We’ve had signs before; my husband mentioned something about breakfast (she wanted nothing but fruit and vegetable smoothies), it kind of sounded normal to me (teen thing, healthy, let her be, blah , blah). My mother said ONCE that d didn’t have much for dinner at her house after dance class, didn’t think much of it (it happened only once and she DID eat one of the choices grandma offered). Sushi however, made alarm bells ring LOUD and together with grandma a dad observations, I knew we had a problem.  The Sushi meal was on February 9, Granma and dad observations, on January. At that point I remember older brother (my stepson), mentioned something in December, D and him were in Starbucks and she said she wanted to be as thin as X. Mid February D had an interview in a new school she wanted to attend. The psychologist called me to say she wanted to meet, she said my D was very bright but had social anxiety through the roof (on hindsight D has all the personality traits that may put you at risk for ED, perfectionist, anxious, people pleaser, etc). I called the psychologist from the school she attended at the time and went to see her. She told me my D wasn’t eating at school, WHAT?¡ WHY NOBODY TOLD ME??? She said D had an eating disorder probably anorexia and that it was ALWAYS about the relationship with mom (argghhh), but not to worry she would talk to her, she herself (the psychologist) had had  a bit of bulimia (sic) as a teen but talked herself out of it (I know!!). I was beside myself, that same day after dance class I bought my daughter a brownie (I had recently discovered the best brownies in a café nearby). I told her that she had to eat some, and she did. We had a little talk, I don’t really remember much of what we said, but she admitted she wasn’t eating at school/breakfast (only fruit and vegetable juice). The psychologist told me my daughter would be required to eat at school and they would supervise, for this and despite everything else she said, I’m grateful (she delivered). She told my D too, you have to eat, PERIOD. Interestingly, my D replied, my mom knows everything now, so I´ll have to eat.

 I remember feeling devastated. I stayed very late looking for information online, I have a PhD in biology so I know how to do research, but luckily I also found the forum (that I wasn’t looking for) that same night! Honestly I don’t remember exactly how a landed here but I remember the immense sense of relief. After a while (a few hours of reading) I actually was able to sleep, and the next day I had a sense of purpose instead of  hopelessness (little I knew what refeeding really meant, and all that we would go through). We started to give her a proper breakfast, lunch, etc. However she had a school trip the following Wednesday and we let her go (I know, I know), the school psychologist was going with them and she assured me she would supervise (she did, obviously she didn’t worry about quantity or cals). In hindsight, it wasn’t so bad that D went to the trip. I used that time on my own (younger S went too) to read EVERYTHING I could, and I could read a lot in 3 days. I did NOTHING ELSE but read (ATDT, FEAST EVE MUSBY, watched C  & M videos, researched meal plans etc.) so I was much better prepared when she came back. The minute she came off the bus I started refeeding properly. My husband was away, he came home that night, I had been sending him bits and pieces, we talked and talked about that night, he was totally on board. I had order Eva Musby’s book and read everything that was on her website in the meantime. Refeeding started. We kind of ripped off the band aid. I was yelled at, kicked, bruised, you all know what I’m talking about. I read and read at night; just knowing that what was happening was “normal” in the ED world and what others had done helped immensely. Talking to my husband (he was away often, she would be more violent when he wasn’t around), telling D that if she was violent I would call my brother (he lives nearby, is tall, and thank god gets it!) also helped. There’s no FBT where I live, so we weighted her at her pediatrician and read ATDT. She put on weight. We had a trip in April that we couldn’t postpone (we were prepared to take turns in staying with her in the room, but it wasn’t necessary), we took the risk and went. First day was difficult, second day tense, the rest not too bad, better than at home actually. She never missed school; they did supervise and made a good job at it. The lovely lady who was in charge of supervising actually called me a couple of times to say D was giving her lunch away to friends and that she (the lady) would give her something else (she told me what she gave to her and saw her eating it).

The weight kept coming up, the meltdowns and violence became less intense, less frequent. We let her keep dance class (only twice a week, she was never obsessed with exercise, I watch her like a hawk nevertheless, day and night). In June she got a tummy bug, I panicked but luckily she sprained her ankle in dance class (this funny illness makes you consider “ good luck” that your daughter gets injured at class!) and she had to be at home resting for 2 weeks, she was practically in bed watching tv all that time. We took advantage of that and were able to take her above her growth curve (after the tummy bug, I wanted some cushion). We were lucky also that by the time ED showed up in our lives my D had had her period for a year (she never missed one), so no more growth spurts (she has grown a bit more, but slowly). She was in the 50% percentile from 7-11 yo, with puberty (11-13 yo) she was between 50-75% percentile but was always lean (height 75-91%), she started eating “healthy” a little bit after her 13 birthday. We took her to the 91% percentile in weight during the time she had to use crutches and stopped going to dance class. She wanted to go back to her class ASAP but took it well when I said she couldn’t, so eventually I let her go back. By around that time I let her go to a sleepover (best friend’s birthday), the mom knew, the friend knew, they promised to supervise and I guess they did a good job because she was in a good mood when we picked her up (with snack in hand). I can always tell when she skips due to her mood (especially if I offer a snack straight away). She had been to another birthday before, only for a few hours, and the first thing the mom said (in front of her) was, she ate nothing. D was furious but I was ever so grateful to that mom for informing me. D didn’t do much more socializing after that for a couple of months. She went to a drama summer course in July, and ate her snack everyday unsupervised. Things have been going from good to better since then. She is homeschooled now (not our choice and not ED or bulling related, but it turned out to be a blessing re. ED recovery). She eats snacks unsupervised if I’m not at home, or semi supervised if she is with her tutor (this tutor was a teacher at her school last year and was one of the teachers who reported that D was not eating). D’s birthday (October) was tricky but ultimately a success, and from then on, our lives are almost back to (the new) normal.

I was very tense around Christmas and January (it was in January last year when she started restricting, started eating “healthy” a few months earlier).  The weight redistributed 6 months after WR+. I panicked because she looked a LOT leaner. We weighted her and she was still above her growth curve, phew!.

February has been great! I had a bit of PTSD at the beginning of the month, remembering everything we went through last year but the last couple of weeks have been really good. I still worry every day, she still doesn’t ask for seconds, I’m scared of her going back to school in August, I grieve for everything that got lost in the battle (significant birthdays for both my husband and myself, once upon a time I was planning a big trip for my  Ds 15 birthday, you know, dreams, hopes, plans).

Stage 2 IS HARD (we don’t really do stages since we didn´t really do FBT although a few months after WR, I was lucky to find in my country, through ATDT, a wonderful pediatrician who does FBT and recently become part of FEAST. She lives hours away but we communicate by phone or WhatsApp). What I mean by stage 2 since I don’t have to do it by the book, is slooowly (and I mean slOOOOOOOOOwly) giving back options to my D (flavour, sweet or sour), sometimes she prepares her snack with supervision, sometimes she eats at home and I’m not sitting next to her (I come and go). Me or H ALWAYS sit with her for breakfast, main meal (not dinner around here), and dinner. But, we are able to let her sleep in and to sleep in ourselves on weekends; she was able to go to six flags with friends for many hours and she ate with them, she participated in a film and had many meals there, sometimes I was around, sometimes I wasn’t. Because of the film, she missed dance class for a month, not an issue. Sometimes she balks at something I give her or I say about food, but not frequently. Yesterday, I offered banana with cream, she didn’t want it, she said she preferred berries with cream, perfectly acceptable answer BUT something within me tingled, so she will be having banana with cream SOON.

Me? I AM A MESS, I have read A LOT about STAGE 2 in the forum, and about PTSD , and I know is normal to feel this way once the emergency is over, once things are slowly going back to normal. I feel depleted.  I feel like fun was sucked out of my live, joy was sucked out of parenting. I used to love being a mom, and I hate to feel like this. I have a younger S who deserves to feel that I enjoy being her mom; that I can be/have fun, but I just don’t have the energy, sometimes I just don’t care anymore. What helps me is coming to the forum to read, others have come before me and prevail. I do small things for me, but it’s hard. Today I’m enjoying (yes, actually enjoying)  my day (its school trip time again, my younger S is away, my D is going to stay with her best friend for a couple of days, I have reminded the mom that D is still on a 3 meals 2 snacks, we never did 3), thinking how long we’ve come in a year.

I plan to keep her in a 3 meals 2 snacks regime for a LOOOOONG TIME. I plan to have her on maintenance (not same weight, same growth curve, since she is only 14). I still cook with lots of canola oil, cream, butter, I still give her my magic shake ( berries, granola, canola oil, nuts/peanut butter/nutella, lindseed, honey, full fat milk, Carnation milk, HWC/ice cream, banana) every morning, and plan to keep doing it when she starts school next academic year. I plan to keep watching her like a hawk during that transition, snacks and lunch at a new school can be difficult. She will be starting high school; she has some friends in the new school but not the ones who were at her side during refeeding, so I can’t really relax just yet. What I can and will try very hard to do is more self-care, more time with hubby, more fun with younger S and in general. Something that really helped me (I read it in the forum, as most of the things that have been  REALLY useful) is the term Radical Acceptance, I haven’t read the book but the concept, just to say it, really helps me.

My D was anxious since the day she was born, so I’m looking into CBT or something like that in my city, it’s expensive, far from home, the insurance won’t cover it so we’ll see. We are still not at 12 months after WR, so we’ll wait and see. I use exposure therapy with her, not only for food (also social things, heights, etc.) and it works really well. The other day she asked me, when can I start to learn to drive! (At 15 where we live) she used to be terrified, she used to say (before ED) that she would never drive; now she is asking when she can start! She changed her WhatsApp profile to one that has PINK FLOWERS! (She was all black during ED, and hasn’t wear anything remotely girly in more than a year) I almost cried. Nobody but you guys would understand things like that (and my wonderful H, he was also ecstatic about the profile). Clothes wise she is also doing sooo much better, used to be dad’s t-shirts EVERY DAY. She still wears sweatshirts (at least her size, some are not black, and some are cute and short), we yet need to get her  a new swimsuit, but we are moving forward. And it’s all thanks to FEAST and ATDT, I have no doubt in my mind and heart, FEAST and ATDT saved my child, my family, my sanity. Thank you all, thanks to Laura Collins, and the many, many members that have shared their stories; every time I had a question, or something  happened  that made me doubt myself, I would find the answer here, I would find support, hope, strength.  Writing all this helps me so much! I hope it can be useful to some of you out there in the trenches. ATDT rocks!!!

13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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Enn

Purplerain,
What a  heart wrenching story and great outcome! 
Yes you all have been through so much and it is great how well she is doing. The deflated feeling we get when the storm passes is common and difficult. 
I am so pleased for your d at this time. And I think you are doing such a great job and hope you know how your efforts saved your d's life. It really is because of you and your determination that she is doing well. 

Are you able to take care of yourself too? I know how hard it is to get back to normal life and fun things and you have plan with h and your son. That is great. 

Your story will give others inspiration. You story shows the struggles clearly and how parents are the key to treating ED and forging the road to recovery for them.

This is so good to see today- I am just loving it!! Well done.
xxx

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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mamabear

Awesome update! 

biggest mistake parents make is backing off too fast too soon. Sounds like you understand this! Good job mom! 

Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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sk8r31
So very pleased to hear your update...you are a true warrior-parent, and have made it possible for your girl to be where she is now.  It's a long while since I've been where you are, but one never forgets...I am so thankful to the parents who were there for me, shining a light when I couldn't do it for myself.  And you are shining a light for other parents who are just beginning this journey, and are scared, terrified, and just gathering courage to step on the path to helping their kid move towards recovery.

Keeping up the vigilance is important, but this is also the time to really show yourself some compassion, and truly take the very best care of yourself that you can. A wise friend (also a therapist) told me, when I was in your shoes, that I should do as much of the things that used to bring me joy as I possibly could.  It was good advice...and so I'd like to say that to you too.  Whatever brought you joy prior to ED wreaking havoc in your family's life, I hope you can indulge as much as possible.

Cheering your family on, and wishing for as smooth a journey forward as possible.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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teecee
Great update...so many positives 😊👍🏻
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PurpleRain
Thank you all your replies, I plann to regaine my joy and capacity to have fun, it takes time but I have learn a lot of patience! So I'll have patience with my self and start doing things that I used to enjoy (fake it till you make it ha ha)
Mama bear said: the biggest mistake parents make is backing off too fast too soon. Sounds like you understand this! Good job mom! Yes mamabear and it is in great part because of your posts that I do know and understand this,thank you so much, you are an inspiration.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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MKR
Thank you for the awesome summary @PurpleRain!  I was especially moved by the beginning, when you saw the first signs. It is chilling how something big and dangerous is building in plain sight. Almost like a monster in the room that your family members saw glimpses of. I had to fight off PTSD and read on, because I knew there was going to be a happy ending.

I love how you followed your instinct - allowed dancing but strictly watched everything else. And we can still hear your determination!

Your success is an inspiration 😀.

I hope you recover soon and enjoy what the coming days offer you. There will be lots of fun stuff, and you should be able to relax at some point. It doesn't need to come all at once. Five minutes here and there at first.

All the best,
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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PurpleRain
Hubby and I went to the cinema tonight, we had some "us" time, we deserve it! What a difference a year ightcan make! 
Thank you friends!
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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ValentinaGermania
PurpleRain wrote:
My D was anxious since the day she was born, so I’m looking into CB or something like that in my city, it’s expensive, far from home, the insurance won’t cover it so we’ll see.


Thanks for that wonderful update!!! You are a warrior!

RE the anxiety, I wonder if you have already tried to work on that like fear food by slow exposition. My d was born very anxious too and I see great development in the last 2 years with that method. We did not want to send her to another therapist here due to the risk of saying the wrong thing here and then started to not give in to all these anxieties any more but work on that like on the bungee-jump with food. She could not use public transport 3 years ago - she goes by tube to University now. She could not phone strangers - she can now. She could drive the car alone - she can now. I could add a lot of things...So if you have no CBT available there or no money to pay for it, maybe worth a try to do it at home?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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PurpleRain
Thanks Tina, that's kind of what we do, with heights (it started after an earthquake) I naturally though I needed to take her to tall buildings again and just did it kind of naturally (as part of an activity that was going to happen anyway like shopping or cinema or doctor appointment, I just didn't avoid high buildingsif she was involved). And then of course ED came along and we did food exposure, so now I do it more systematically with other things (including clothing) thanks to some of your posts and I believe we might be able to take care of most thing ourselves and just observe if it's enough. The thing about calling strangers strikes a cord, I will focus on that one. The other day D said she wanted to "practice" public transport, so we are also starting with that.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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ValentinaGermania
PurpleRain wrote:
The thing about calling strangers strikes a cord, I will focus on that one. The other day D said she wanted to "practice" public transport, so we are also starting with that.


We started with asking her to call an aunt to ask for something (I think it was a recipe). Then calling the dentist (she likes the woman at the desk) and ask for an appointment. And so on. Now she can call everybody, she is still excited and stressed when she does it but she does 🙂.
Public transport: we started with a route that she knows and a short one and I fetched her up at the exit station and we drove back by car. Then we slowly increased the routes and the length. We started with times when there are less people in the bus/tram/tube, most days directly after lunch was a good idea. Now she can go although it is busy times, no problem. She even found out new ways to get to University when one line is blocked by an accident. And she got on the wrong tram one day to the wrong direction and managed to get back without having a meltdown. 🙂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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KLB
I had a tear in my eye reading this. So many things resonate with me. It really hits home when you read someone’s story from beginning to present just how much trauma we all go through, our kids and us. You’ve done such a brilliant job dragging your d back from the hole and I’m really glad you’re starting to think of yourself a little more now. 
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PurpleRain
Thanks KLB, you are one of my hero's in this forum!
Valentina, thanks for the ideas! So glad your D is doing so good!
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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Bobs

Dear PurpleRain, I feel we have so much in common! My D fell down the hole January 2019 unbeknownst to us. We found out late March and she started getting help early June. We have done FBT at home with weekly CAHMs sessions but 90% of what I’ve learned about this illness has been on here.
We are turning a very slow corner. She has just over the past week started to enjoy some foods. She preps her own supper ( she’s been doing this for a while as I’ve been so knackered by 9.30pm!) We still do full supervision as she magics away food but this is also improving with two very half hearted crisps being found in her room during the week. She has mentioned wanting to come down and eat the kitchen! I nearly fell over when she said this! 
She is so much happier in herself, wearing tighter fitting clothes, loves her friends, nervous about exams but in a usual non-prepared teen way.
As she improves I feel so happy for her but completely spent. My energy levels are low, during all this I lost my dad and my mum has been in and out of hospital recently. I also have a younger S who I would like to have more energy for. 
CAHMs have been great. She was always the smallest and slimmest in the class so I’m not overly working to a growth chart. I’m just enjoying seeing her lovely figure bloom and her cheeks filling out ( both sets!!!!) 
Anyway thanks for your story PurpleRain and onwards and upwards! 

15 year old D. Started to feel low summer 2019. Fall out with friends October 2019. Depressed, self-harming and suicidal from January 2020. Diagnosed with AN July 2020. Slowly coming out of it and feeling hopeful for the future.
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PurpleRain
Bob's, so sorry to hear about your dad's passing and your mom's health problems on top of ED, no wonder you feel spent! I hope your d continues to improve and you can enjoy her more and more. As you say, upwards and onwards! Virtual hugs!
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
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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