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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

ed_newbie

Can it really be that my beautiful d was diagnosed with anorexia one year ago? 

A synopsis for those who don’t know our story:  At 12 years old d lost 23 pounds in 4 months leading up to a diagnosis by a nutritional therapist on December 22nd 2015.  She had all the symptoms of malnutrition - low heart rate, low blood pressure, hypothermia, hair loss, social isolation, depression, obsession with calories, healthy foods, exercise, etc. 

Until it was given a name we had no idea what was going on.  Until it was given a name we had no idea what to do about it. 

I found support, guidance, and a wealth of information on this forum.  I cannot imagine where we would be right now had I not found this incredible group of people and the FEAST website.   We started the process of refeeding immediately and brought her back up to her starting weight in two months.  It was the most frightening and difficult thing I have ever done in my life.  Off the charts anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, decline in basic self-care, compulsive exercise in the middle of the night, suicidal ideation, screaming, crying and just awful distress on a day in / day out basis.  All while operating a 24/7 restaurant in our kitchen to keep up with the immense calories needed to restore her back to her original weight and then meet her growing body’s needs.  I’m exhausted just thinking back on it.  I’m also thankful for the help from others when I most needed it.

Today she is physically amazing.  Puberty really took back the reigns with consistent nutrition.  Catch up growth has been rapid.  She is up 50 pounds from one year ago and has grown about 2 inches in height and continues to grow.  A year ago she looked like a little girl.  Today she looks like a young woman with all the curves of a Kardashian – please accept my apologies for the poor choice in pop culture reference!   

No, it has not been easy.  We’ve had ups and we’ve had downs.  I recall one particularly awful vacation at an all-inclusive resort where she just could not eat despite the incredibly tempting goodies available at every meal.  I don’t think I’ll ever look at a buffet in quite the same way again.  I am still constantly on the lookout for uneaten lunches, missed snacks, etc.  We are only one year into this and I know we have a long way yet to go but it does help to see the physical results.   

Mentally she is a work in progress.  D still sees her nutritional therapist regularly.  We started cognitive behavioral therapy and stopped for several months. We are now re-starting, this time with a new therapist.  I can now see a trend with depression peaking during the winter months.  She takes 30 mg fluoxetine which has made a dent in the anxiety, depression and obsessive thinking.  She is still grieving the loss of her grandfather last year.

My hope for her is to learn how to cope with life’s challenges.  To recognize and value her emotions and manage them in a way that’s productive and not destructive.  To know herself better than anyone else.  To overcome the urges to restrict even when no one is sitting right next to her to help her. 

As a brain disorder I realize it will always be lurking in the shadows of her mind.  And I won’t be here forever.  Along with nutritional oversight my job is to help teach her the skills she needs to live a meaningful, satisfying life and grow into a confident young woman.  Could this be even harder than re-feeding?  Time will tell.

I feel like we’ve been through a devastating natural disaster.  We lost a lot.  We are picking up what’s left and rebuilding.  But it’s not the same home we had before the disaster struck.  It feels different.  Does anyone with a loved one in recovery feel similar? 

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

ed_newbie

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.
Quote
BattyMatty_UK
Dear Ed_Newbie, that is wonderful and encouraging news - and what a loving, caring and strong parent you are!! And, yes, in my experience life after an ED isn't the same as life before... but then it wouldn't have been anyway because our children would have continued to get older regardless. But I know what you mean... I know that I, personally, am a very different person from the mum that began to worry about her increasingly erratic son back in 2009. The ED has changed me for the better - and for the worse, at the same time, which - judging from what other parents have said about life post-ED - seems to be similar for many of us. I say 'worse' because of the heartbreak of those years and the effect of all that trauma on the mind and body, both for the sufferer and the parent. But your news is wonderful, and just in time for Christmas!!!!! [biggrin][biggrin]

Lots of love, Bev xx
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
 
Quote
OneToughMomma
Dear ed_newbie,

Firstly, congratulations on Kardashian curves!!! (resisted the urge to spell with K's!)  That home cooking really did the trick. You should all be very proud.

Secondly, let me wax philosophical about your question re life post-ED.  I think it's important to remember that as humans we are constantly changing, and none of us should be the same that we were last year. 

That said, having ED in the house is a natural disaster, and has a profound effect on us.  Both good and bad. An opportunity for growth, LOL!  I ironically feel, 1+ years post WR, strangely powerful and fragile at the same time.  I know I can do anything I have to do, but am also a bit crumbly around the edges.  Some of my resilience is used up, and it will take a while for my thick skin to grow back. Personally I haven't found therapy or medication to be the answer, but I may try asking again. (so many metaphors and cliches, but you get what I mean)

And let's not forget that life is still challenging.  Aside from everything else (work, friends, obligations, extended family, etc) our ED kid is still getting it all together, making up for lost time and repairing damage done, in some cases, over a decade.  We've put everything we had into their recovery and now have to take care of ourselves, decide what we want in life going forward and get that, and help our kid navigate new waters. 

It's a bit like the transition between parenting toddlers and children.  I remember thinking the hard part was over because my kids could in some form or another follow instructions, toilet, feed and dress themselves.  I think God actually HEARD me say that whilst sitting on the steps of church because it suddenly got much harder.

Each stage is different, with unique challenges and blessings, and we just have to keep going.

xoOTM
D in and out of EDNOS since age 8. dx RAN 2013. WR Aug '14. Graduated FBT June 2015 at 18 yrs old. [thumb]
Quote
bccka5
Congratulations on you and your D's success!

My D was a similar age when diagnosed with Anorexia. We lived a similar path watching her grow and change physically, emotionally, and socially. Because she was diagnosed so early, I thought that a goal weight was the end result. I didn't realize that we would have to continue to play catch up with her growth and age. That's a really good thing, but something I wasn't quite prepared for. We had to remain diligent and constant in her weight gain.

Her growth has slowed down and it seems as though things are starting to settle down a bit. I am still vigilant with her food but it's really feeling a lot more manageable.

When all is said and done, 3 years later, she is an amazing young lady. Where she was once painfully shy and quiet, had no friends, and rarely showed us love, she is now loud, connects with people and loves us like never before. It's not perfect, by any means, but she has truly developed into the person she was always meant to be. 

Thank you for posting your story with us. As parents, we are all connected to each other because of this dreadful disease. It is tremendous to share in your journey. 

-Stay Strong and Persevere!!!

Daughter diagnosed with anorexia at 12 in 2013 without having any image issues/concerns about calories or exercise. Hospitalized - 3 days. FBT at home along with outpatient therapy - 16 weeks. Recovered/weight restored - 4 years. Still gaining and growing but has no hunger signs yet.  
Quote
Torie
Thanks for your wonderful post.  You've come a long way in just a year!

My d, too, suffers from depression ramp ups in the winter.  But each year is is less bad than the previous year. We're two years ahead of you, having found out about d's depression, cutting, and suicidal ideation almost exactly three years ago.  (Took me a while to recognize the significance of the 20 pounds she had lost - that wasn't on my radar screen much in the early days.)

This vile illness has taken a toll on us all, of course.  But I have also become much more patient and better able to keep my priorities straight.  So there is a silver lining.

Keep up the good work! xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
melstevUK
Lovely story.  Great news.  Well done. x

Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
Quote
meadow
Hi ed_newbie, thanks for the encouraging and positive post. So lovely to hear x
Quote
SeaLion
ed_newbie, Thank you for the amazing metaphor of a natural disaster.  That is something I think I can use when I try to reconnect with friends and family members I've lost touch with while battling my daughter's ED in recent years.  It is so difficult to talk about, so hard to describe without giving "reasons" and "theories" in answer to their questions.  Going into detail always plunges me into guilt later, even if I know intellectually that it's not my fault.  "We didn't see it coming," I've said, and I have felt lousy about THAT... but what if it were just like a lightning strike or a tornado touching down?  No guilt, no blame.  Just putting all energy and focus on recovery.  Best wishes to you and your family, and thank you again!
Older and Wiser
Quote
ed_newbie
Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond. Hoping for a better 2017 for all.

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

ed_newbie

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.
Quote

        

WTadmin