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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Mph
my d was do with AN at 12 yrs of age and was hospitalized for 16 weeks within weeks of being dix and was not fully WR. she saw psychologist for about 8 months post discharge and then support was discontinue because the psychologist assessed d to be doing well. Fast forward to the present, d. Chose to be hospitalized over the summer and managed to reach the expected BMI to transition to the out patient ED clinic where she participated daily in various therapy session along with continued weight restoration and monitoring and learning life skills to refer self. What we did not realize is that she chose to engage in tx  because she wanted to restore her weight in order to return to pursue her third yr of university. We were not sure she would be able to complete her second because she was so sick but she did while she was waitlisted for IP. She has been in school for about 5 weeks now and has lost weight which she is well aware that she has and feels disappointed that this is happening but has no motivation to do anything about it like she says nothing has changed and I have resumed the same anorexic related behaviours. She has been told that she would likely be able to complete her degree with AN because she is very intelligent  but will never be able to use it and also given that she has been dealing with this illness for so long the likelihood of ever recovering from it is very slim. She does not live with us and lives 2 hours away to attend school. She is very anxious with school on top of the anxiety associated with AN. As a mother I feel helpless to help my adult d. While I believe that recovery is possible if she would be willing to take a yr off from school (she has 5 yrs left in her program to complete 2 yrs of schooling) move in with us where we could support her in her recovery, but she is not willing to do that. She has always succeeded in school and being in school makes her feel that she is normal like her classmates. So we watch, we support, and wait for her to come to the realization that long term txs are needed which we hope happens soon before she depletes her health further. Thank you reading this and any feedback and guidance is welcomed. PS we were able to restore her weight using the Maudsley approach but it’s like she said I may have been weight restored but my brain has never been rewired.
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scaredmom

Hello and welcome! 

I am sorry you needed to find us, and we will be honoured to help you in anyway we can.
I do not have an adult child, so I cannot give you much advice. There are quite a few here with adult children. I have seen contracts used for uni/college, where the parents have leverage ie the bank accounts and payments for living expenses and university. Many have had to take their kids out of college. (Kali's story comes to mind here). 
Is she under the care of a specialist ED team? She will not have motivation when ED has taken over, unfortunately.
She is still quite young and I would hope that you could take her out of school to recover the lost weight and get things in place before she goes back to studying. Is there any leverage you have, financial or otherwise? If she has a ED team, do you have access/ consent to discuss her issues with them? Are you able to go to where she is a few times per month to help her with groceries, cooking, frozen meals, so that she does not have to think of it? If she needs meal support, can you FaceTime once per day or so? 

We are here for you in anyway we can be. Please ask all your questions, we truly do wish to help.
One big thing I wish to say: No matter how many years it has been there really is hope. She can still recover, please remember that. It may take longer for some, and recovery is a realistic goal ALWAYS!

There are many on the forum just like you- you are not alone.
 
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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scaredmom
PS
Being the parent/caregiver of someone with an ED is gruelling and can really bring us down. Please take care of yourself. You deserve some peace and support and fun in life too. 
Sending a big hug!
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
Welcome to the forum, though sorry you have a need to be here.  It is most definitely a 'different kettle of fish' to be trying to help your young adult d, instead of a pre-teen.  It does take a somewhat different skill set, though parental support can be incredibly helpful even at this stage.  I think of Carrie Arnold, who wrote Decoding Anorexia, and who received help from her parents to recover when she was in her 20's.  Also, Tabitha Farrar is another individual who recovered as a young adult and does recovery support.  Perhaps it might be helpful for you (and possibly your d) to read her blog.
The Center for Balanced Living runs a 5 Day Intensive program for those 18-35, and includes a support person.  I have heard some really great feedback from those attending the program.  Our family did a similar program at UCSD for adolescents, and it was extremely helpful.  
Is your d financially independent, or does she rely on you for tuition, living expenses, car, phone?  Finances can be a useful leverage tool to help a young adult engage in treatment.
Sending warm support, and feel free to ask any questions you may have so we can help you to brainstorm some strategies for moving your d forward into a strong recovery.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Mph
Thank you for all your suggestions and support. She is financially independent except that we pay for her groceries. I have been cooking meals for her and she freezes them and she also makes a few meals for herself, however she only buys what she needs for the week because she finds it too stressful when she has too much food in the house. She doesn’t necessarily eat what I cook and freeze for her unfortunately, she restricts so much. 
She is seeing a psychologist once a week, it s a 2 hour drive each way to access this support but not attending is not an option for her, her faculty has made it a requirement for her which is a good thing. i have read Tabitha’s book twice and I see in my daughter the migration that is so well narrated in her book and I did share with my d some of postcast. My d is very insightful about the illness, her fears and feelings and how they all impact on her health, life quality and social life. she seems stuck and scarred. we are grateful that we have a great relationship. 
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Kali

Hi MPH,

So sorry you have to join us here and I hope you will be able to get support for yourself as well as some ideas about how you can support your daughter.

My d, who is 21 has also been living away at college, and became ill at 15. She has had ups and downs as far as weight goes. I think that one of the things she has found to be supportive is her living situation. Her roommates know about her illness and they do eat together (although not every meal but regularly enough). Sometimes if she was feeling unable to cook for herself she could call one of her roommates and ask her to pick something up for her on the way home. And sometimes her roommates cook food and they share it or they cook together. They do part of their shopping together and share some of the items. So just as we as a family were supportive of normalizing food and eating when she was at home, she managed to find a living situation which could be supportive. There were also some times when she came home for a few weeks and we refed. That might be a good option moving ahead also since FBT worked well for your family.

Who does your daughter live with and how are meals handled where she lives? 
Now I don't mean to suggest that there should be a friend responsible for her eating, what I mean is seeking out a home life where there are people who eat together sometimes, cook together sometimes, and share some meals and understanding that that can be a supportive way for her to practice self care as far as her eating goes.

warmly,

Kali


Food=Love
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Mph
She lives by herself because there is only two other classmates at the location  she is studying. we suggested that she invite her classmate for a meal but she argues that she is too busy to cook. We suggested that she face time with us at mealtime to provide support and distraction which is something she yet to do. I also prepare a weekly menu along with recipes to do meal prepping and preparation on Sundays for the week and grab something for lunch and a quick reheat for supper, which  is the intent but doesn’t always translate into reality. Her school days are long sometimes 12 hours with limited to no opportunities for a snack during the day, hence skipping snacks further contributes to sustain her ED. Being in school is very important to her it’s a place that makes her feel normal and she knows she can succeed which trumps any efforts or commitment to address her ED, she eats just enough to sustain her energy and her physical appearance to pursue school. The university program she is pursuing is her second degree which is a highly stressful and anxiety provoking program and eventual career so when she has to deal with additional anxiety provoked by ED this anxiety interferes with her ability to focus at school so she chooses to not eat in order to meet school demands which is something that predictably has not worked well in the past and present. attending school is an escape avoidance coping strategy and a place she feels she can succeed when she has conveyed many times feeling like a failure to manage her ED. She has been provided with care to take medications for anxiety, opportunities to learn and practice mindfulness which she has refused and instead has join a gym for daily exersice. there a lot of things we would do differently if we could back in time before adulthood. We are trying to remain strong and supportive but must admit that we are experiencing compassion fatigue; making it challenging to be supportive. 
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mjkz
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While I believe that recovery is possible if she would be willing to take a yr off from school (she has 5 yrs left in her program to complete 2 yrs of schooling) move in with us where we could support her in her recovery, but she is not willing to do that.


My daughter has been dealing with her eating disorder for over half her life so I feel for you.  I would approach her faculty and tell them how sick she is.  If they are astute enough to require her to be in therapy, then you have a good chance of getting them to tell her she can't do school until she is in recovery.  Whether or not you tell her you did this is up to you but if you really think recovery is possible with a year off and moving in with you, I'd move heaven and earth to make that happen.  That was what got my daughter into recovery.
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tina72
Mph wrote:
Her school days are long sometimes 12 hours with limited to no opportunities for a snack during the day, hence skipping snacks further contributes to sustain her ED.


To be honest, that will not work with an ED patient. That is not healthy at all even for a normal person. She needs to change that. Normally students with chronical illnesses have the allowance to cut the schedule. She needs to do that.
That was one of the rules we had on our contract to go to University: one warm meal in the cafeteria EVERY day.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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