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

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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yogimum
My 15 yr old D was seen by the GP last week & we are now waiting for our CAMHS referral for her recently diagnosed ED. She weighs 7 stone with a BMI of 18. She admitted to deliberately restricting her food- she only eats her evening meal (picks at it more like) which she has used to distract us from the rest of the restriction. I ploughed through Eva Musby's book at the weekend & planned everything with her dad- all the meals, snacks & how we were going to be calm & compassionate. It's worked so far & I have taken the lead with it because I am off with her at the moment.
Tonight's meal started off okay but ended in a spectacular fight with my eldest D leaving to 'go & live at her Nana's!' after I lost my temper with her. She kept undermining my efforts with D2 & even started to make her different food. I kept as cool as I could but D2 felt empowered & stormed off. It had been going so well until D1 chipped in. I ended up shouting at D1 in a psychomum moment. D2 joined in the fight against me and it was crazy.
D1 has now been collected by Nana, D2 has calmed down with a cuddle from Dad & I am sat downstairs by myself being the b***h of the family.
I took D2 a hot chocolate & piece of toast but she won't speak to me. I don't understand apparently.
As a newbie to this whole crazy roller coaster, is it okay to let D2 not eat the meal I've made & give her something else instead? I feel like I've been manipulated by the ED & it's costing me both of my daughters. I'm trying so hard not to let her see how hard it is or how hurt I am by the comments aimed at me. I'm prepared to be the bad cop & have compassionately told her I am doing this because I love her & want her well. I hadn't factored D1's rebellion in to it. What do I do?
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K63
Hi yogi mom, welcome to the forum this is the toughest job you will ever do and well done so far. I had many crazy moments I read the books and watched Eva Musby s videos and I know staying calm is the answer but we are human doing a very difficult job. The important thing is that the job of refeeding is left to you and your h and that her sister is her sister . She is hurting too to see her sister unwell my older d found the experience very traumatic and still cannot eat with ed d when she is home at weekends . Try to talk to other d and explain that you and h will look after feeding and if she feels she can offer help ask her to say it to you but not in front of ed d . If you can spend time with other d go for coffee or for a walk together. I would tell ed d that you know what nutrition she needs and you expect her to eat what you give her that food is her medicine .
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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yogimum
Thank you. I have just had a text from D1 apologising for how it turned out & maybe we can 'talk and listen (!!)' tomorrow. I feel bad for the text I sent back- it was rather uncompromising! Think I'll send her another having read your advice.

Thank you again. All help & advice is greatly appreciated at the minute.
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Penny31
Just a quick reply - you say you're waiting for a CAMHS referral, but some specialist eating disorder units let you self-refer. We bypassed the official CAMHS process and got my daughter seen by the Maudsley within days, after being told that CAMHS couldn't see her for a month. I simply phoned the Maudsley on the off-chance and they gave me an appointment straight away, even though their website suggested it was referrals from GPs and CAMHS only. We're very lucky in that we live near the Maudsley, so I have no idea what the rest of the country is like, but if you have a specialist unit near you it's worth a try. 
Best of luck with it all. 
14 year-old D diagnosed with AN in March 2016. Episodes of self-harming, anxiety, severe depression. Waiting for a CAMHS assessment to see if there's an additional diagnosis. 
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Psycho_Mom
Hi,

You know, early in refeeding my h, although an intelligent and caring and supportive guy, just was SO unhelpful during meals. He could only say one sentence, and that would just be...the most unhelpful sentence....I won't go into it. He just didn't get it. It ended up that for a time, he walked the dog during meals and ate at some other time (I don't know when, I wasn't paying attention.)

The point is, do what works. It is normal for D1 to want to assist her sister when she sees her distressed, and if her presence makes meals more difficult, then hooray for dinner at Nana! "Talking and listening" is ALWAYS something to be encouraged. Esp with teens. That is an excellent idea and I'm impressed with your D1 for asking for it. I'd reward that. She will also need to hear, however, that any suggestion, question or disagreement with you on how to care for her sister is welcome by you, but NOT IN FRONT OF D2. D2 needs to see a united front now.

As for substituting meals: Your main goal at this point is to get the food in. In the long run, that will be easier if your d is used to the idea that negotiating, arguing, fussing aren't effective. In the short run, if it seems to you that there is no other way to get that specific meal eaten, then yes, do what you have to do. Make it clear that it is YOUR decision however, and that your decision was not impacted by your d's arguments. Ie you could say, "oh, I forgot, I was going to give you this meal tomorrow, so you can have this other thing today." Or "Oh, I didn't realize there's not enough of this entree to go around, I will give you x instead,"  or even "This evening has been so stressful for everyone that I am going to feed you something easy."

best wishes,
D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
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Torie
Welcome, YogiMum. You've been given good advice already. I would just add this:

Try not to beat yourself up. Now or ever. That does you no good; it does your d no good - the only one it helps is Ed.

This is so hard. So very, very hard. You are doing hero's work so please take care of yourself as best you can. And always remember: It does get better. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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yogimum
Thank you all so, so much. I've had to come to the bathroom to cry so she doesn't see me. This isn't about me & I promised her it wouldn't be (she has a friend who's mother loves the drama of her d's ed) but it's a lonely place.
Thank you psycho-mum- I'm trying really hard not to be cross & resentful with H this morning but I'm struggling. I'm not good at conflict or saying what's on my mind but I'm going to have to start practicing aren't I?!
Ocean lover- the guilt is horrific. She was 8 the first time she said she was too fat & ive watched her like a hawk since then. But clearly to no avail- we're here anyway. She has manipulated it so that the only thing she eats is in front of me & even that was getting less & less. I'm scared the voice of the ed is entrenched & much more powerful than I thought. I will order the books today. I sent D1 to Nana's with Eva Musby's hoping that helps her see what needs to be done.
Torie- it doesn't feel like hero's work does it?! I just have to keep reminding myself I'm the warrior for her. She's not strong enough so it's up to me. But I'm only on day 8 & already feeling rubbish!! I'm keeping the 'fake it till you make it' in my head today.
Thank you all- waking up to this advice, support & understanding really has helped me. Thank you, thank you.
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deenl
yogimum wrote:
it's a lonely place. Sure is. I don't know what I would do without this forum where we all 'get' the big and the tiny things about living with a loved one with ED

I'm not good at conflict or saying what's on my mind but I'm going to have to start practicing aren't I?! Oh man, that's me. I'm the peacekeeper in my family since childhood but use a firm and calm voice, identify with the motivating emotion of the person opposite and use non-confrontational language and I've amazed myself what I can say when my kid needs me too!

Ocean lover- the guilt is horrific. She was 8 the first time she said she was too fat & ive watched her like a hawk since then. But clearly to no avail- we're here anyway. She has manipulated it so that the only thing she eats is in front of me & even that was getting less & less. I'm scared the voice of the ed is entrenched & much more powerful than I thought. Hey, maybe you prevented it starting earlier? We never know but you know now and are going to do anything and everything to get her back on track.

I love this quote from Eating with you Anorexic
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It had probably started (earlier): eating less, exercising more. There were signs, but I was not listening for anorexia. That was a language I had never studied. I didn't hear that conversation at the time for what it was. I HEAR IT NOW. I always will.


You were listening well but the ED is more cunning than I for one could ever have imagined. And it creeps up so subtley. I remember thinking for a long time 'am I making a mountain out of a molehill' Jaysus, if I knew then what I know now... We all have regrets but I don't feel guilty, I just didn't know better.

I sent D1 to Nana's with Eva Musby's hoping that helps her see what needs to be done. That seems like a good idea. Talk and listen to her side too. My ED son is 13, his brothers 15 and 9. I explained to them what was going on and our plans. I also said what they could expect in terms of freak outs and why they happen. What works for us is that mom and dad deal with the food/health stuff and the brothers act like his brothers; they hang out, play computer games, they are v. creative so help each other out there too, go to cinema, play board games, etc. But my guyswere always great friends so we are only preserving the relationship that already existed. Edit: It might be a really good idea to discuss the details with Nana too. It was very hard for my mum in the beginning to see beloved grandson in such a state and not to shake him and scream 'Just flipping eat!' But she understands great now. 

I just have to keep reminding myself I'm the warrior for her. She's not strong enough so it's up to me. But I'm only on day 8 & already feeling rubbish!!
 You will amaze yourself with what you can do just because you have to!

Thank you all- waking up to this advice, support & understanding really has helped me. Thank you, thank you. As I said, I couldn't do it without the support here. It's simply amazing and a literal lifesaver.
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly gaining at home, seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • 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.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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Torie
yogimum wrote:
This isn't about me


Hmmm ... Most here agree this is the hardest thing we have ever done. And lonely. Scary. Frustrating. Mind-boggling. So in a very real sense, it IS about you.

Please be sure to take care of yourself. It's true what they say about putting on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone else. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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deenl
I love Carrie Arnold's Decoding Anorexia

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

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • 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.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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yogimum
After such useful advice, I wanted to give you all an update!
D2 has eaten everything today without too much fuss & we've had a nice day together messing about & being daft.
D1 & I have met up & had a really good chat. She talked & talked about how she felt. She cried with her guilt & got it off her chest. I explained the refeeding process & that I wasn't prepared to compromise that. She got it in the end saying I should have told her all that earlier because now she gets it. We have agreed to come up with a code so that she can remove herself from dinner time if she needs to without undermining the effort. I've stressed the importance of her just being the big sister & spending time together.
D2 has to go for blood tests tomorrow as CAMHS have noticed a dramatic weight loss on her referral. Fingers crossed that means we'll get a quick appointment.
Once again, a heartfelt thanks to you all. Your advice & kind words empowered me & got me through a tough day.
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deenl
Well done.

Lovely to hear D2 has eaten and that you cleared the air with D1. In our experience, the relationships with his brothers has been the key positive in his life. Mom and dad have to play the bad cop role but the brothers only have the brother/friend role.

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

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • 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.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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K63
Hi yogi mom , good to hear you had a good day and D 2 ate her food which is the most important thing . Also I bet you feel happy after speaking to D1 and she understands. This illness impacts on the whole family so it's a difficult job to keep everyone happy. I find spending time with my non ed d great and sometimes we will talk about other d and how she is doing but I also keep that short and focus on how tlife is for her and not talking about ed d too much . Take care of yourself too.
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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