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

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I know how nice it is for me to read someone else's baby steps towards recovery and since we finally have had a couple of our own I feel compelled to share. [smile] Back story:

D has always been a healthy eater, runs cross country and track, in the fall started focusing on healthy choices such as adding more fruits and veggies to her meals. Still eating everything we do.

Christmas Eve - huge meltdown in D's bedroom as she sobbed about hating her body and wanting to die. Had already been in therapy for 10 months and things had been going so well we were caught off guard.

January - request to become a raw vegan, of course denied by us. I begin to have a sense that things are a bit out of control. She is no longer wanting to eat any meat. I allow her to make her breakfasts and lunches which at the beginning were well rounded - smoothies with yogurt, peanut butter sandwiches with salads for lunch. Dinner is whatever I make and non-negotiable.

February - Now begins restricting - dairy, bread, meat the usual. I do not allow any other option for dinner so this meal now becomes a bit of a battle. Get call from therapist that she feels we need to seek the assistance of a psychiatrist. Exercise really ramps up - running on the treadmill etc. Huge rages every single night for hours on end. We request an emergency meeting with her therapist February 18th which shows to us her sincere desire to die. Therapist thinks she needs hospitalization. Her annual check up the next day reveals that she has been cutting herself. Near end of month we make the first trip to ER. They do not admit her as they do not feel she is in immediate danger to herself or others. We can not get in to see any child psychiatrists - either waiting lists of 3 months or they will not work in partnership with another therapist. We add our name to the wait list for the DBT Center but that list is 4 months. Finally find a psychiatrist who could see us March 31st.

March - 1st hospitalization as she indicates in ER that her plan to die is by hanging and that she had the supplies in her top drawer of her dresser. We have to accept a crummy place as it is the only bed available in the state. Food restriction is huge at this point although because I knew the warning signs (best friend in high school almost died from AN) I manage to keep her at a fairly decent weight in spite of things. Do this mostly through peanut butter and nutella which believe it or not she did not give up. Hospital was horrible as they only focused on the self harm and let her drink Boost to keep the calories going in. When I questioned them on this they clearly stated they did not work on eating issues. [frown]

April - released just before spring break so we still go on family vacation. Eating wasn't too terrible and no cutting the entire time. Hospital started her on Lexipro which did decrease the intense raging. We finally get in to see a child psychiatrist who will monitor the medication. Eating better but not great and track has started. I finally find this site and begin to educate myself and my husband. Suspect her purging based on information from this site so I spend a complete Saturday stalking her to catch her. I am unfortunately successful so new house rules put into place regarding bathroom use. Use this site to set the new rules.

May - We now see full blown eating disorder due to late night track meets. May 2nd brings our first refusal to eat anything meal due to a very late arrival home from track meet. Painful for my husband and I. he handled it way better than I did. She starts the in take process to the DBT Center as she was bumped up on the wait list due to our therapist having connections. We feel hopeful that this will be the magic cure. May 18th, she shredded her arms, thighs and stomach. We discover this the next a.m. Horrible bloody mess and very frightening for all of us, brothers saw it. H takes her back to ER where she is admitted to their psych hospital which was so much better and both issues could be addressed. They decide that the eating disorder is the number one issue (which I had been saying) and move her to the top of a wait list for the partial hospitalization program. We let school know that she will not be returning for the remainder of the year. We set up a mattress in D's room with one of us sleeping with her every night. She starts ED Clinic June 1st.

June - Eating is a bit better but still a lot of resistance and ED behaviors such as tiny bites, breaking food into tiny pieces, drinking lots of water after every bite. Still very edgy and hostile to all of us. Still seeing an occasional rage or horrible depression with thoughts of dying. She shares this with psych at the ED clinic, they want us to think about a different program. [frown] Psychiatrist has us try Zyprexa to help reduce her anxiety. I resist moving her to another program but agree to try the new medication along with upping her Lexipro saying that this all started with body image issues and an eating disorder. I learn from this site that while her weight might seem fine for her height, her body may require more calories so I now start boosting those with the plan of adding another 10 pounds. June 22nd she cuts her arms pretty severely again. We do not take her to the hospital as it looked less than she had done before and she did not try to hide it, she told us immediately after she did it. ED Clinic meets with us and says she must go back in. She has not been great in groups at all and has been sabotaging it for the other participants. They feel she should go to another program to address the depression rather than come back to them after being hospitalized. Since it is the same hospital, she is immediately admitted. D is not happy. She finally sees that she has a true eating disorder and realizes that unless she makes an effort, this cycle will continue. She knows she must prove to everyone that she is willing to work or she can not go back to the ED Clinic. She works hard to be a good participant. We have a great family meeting prior to her discharge. She asks to meet with the SSW from the ED Clinic which she does and is accepted back into the program.

July - Do not go up north for 4th of July weekend due to a big meltdown over a snack on the Saturday of that weekend. She finally works herself through it and we have a friend over instead. She is a good participant in the ED program and works hard to eat everything put in front of her in a reasonable time.  Last week they recommended moving her to the 3 day a week step down. She is excited. She goes to friends houses over the weekend and eats great both days including ice cream, milk shakes and even chips. We decided on Sunday to tackle the last of the fear foods - cheese sticks (she will eat cheese in dishes or on a sandwich), regular yogurt (not the almond kind) and eggs. She eats 2 bites of eggs (that was all that we had given her). We were thrilled. Know we need to do it again but saw it as a victory. We are linking these challenges to her social activities as she does not want to miss any of those. 

Last night I saw the happy daughter we used to have for the first time in a long time. She actually went in the hot tub with her younger brother and then they would get out and go on the slip and slide. It was awesome. She is now actually feeling hungry and while this might be in part due to the side effect of Zyprexa, I'll take it as she has gained the 10 pounds I was hoping. Today, we tackled the darn cheese stick. While she refused at the clinic and it got returned to me, I told her that she could eat it in the car on the way to meet her friend. I said if she did not, then i would have to call the friend's mom and cancel the fun playdate. While the car ride wasn't pretty, we both survived it and could even joke about it after. I know we still have a long ways to go with these last few foods but for the first time since January, I feel there is some hope for our family. Yes, we are still sleeping in her room on the floor but she no longer resists this and we hope to develop a plan to begin to give her back some of her independence. I again used this site and found a Wellness Plan from someone else that we plan to modify for our needs.

I am sure that I will be posting at some time in the future about something that does not go well but felt it was important to share good news too. I truly could not do this without the support and ideas from all of you and for that I feel very blessed that I stumbled onto this site during the wee hours one morning when sleep was just not an option. I have shared this with all of the families in our group in the program. So thank you all. [love] - Lisa

Always wonderful to hear of progress and glimmers of hope!

Kudos to you & h for supporting your d through this challenging illness.

There may still be bumps in the road ahead, but you've learned skills and tools to help get d back on track if so.

Great news!
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
So much progress in such a (relatively) short time!!! You and your d are doing a fabulous job! Thanks for sharing. xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
I know we still have a very long way to go but it is so nice to see a peek into a healthy girl again. [smile] Makes me very determined to develop a strong plan for fall when we return t school and activities.
Great update lnickel! Great job with the fear foods and getting the nutrition in. For us, the Olanzapine (I think that is the same as Zyprexa?) made a huge difference in getting over the initial resistance. You've got all summer to solidify your gains so that is great. It's really tricky when there are comorbids like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, cutting, etc. to know what to tackle first and what is the main issue. Keep going and thanks for the update.
Well done and sending good vibes your way to keep things moving in a a positive direction.

"Lineage, personality and environment may shape you, but they do not define your full potential."    Mollie Marti  


15 yr old d diagnosed with AN late December 2015 at the age of 12 after a 23 lb weight loss during prior 3 months. Started FBT/Maudsley at home on Christmas Eve with support from amazing local nutritionist specializing in ED and trained in FBT. WR Feb 2016 and pushing our way through puberty and rapid growth.
Wow!! Sounds like a lot of progress in a short time (although I know the months each seem like decades when your kid is suffering).  I am extremely impressed that your daughter was able to turn things around so the ED clinic kept her.  That is truly amazing and shows just what she is capable of.  I would not be surprised if you do get her back to school and normal activities!!!