Hi everyone, I have been a lurker for several months now. I’ve never written before because I’ve always found the answer to every question in one or many posts of this wonderful forum. I want to thank you all for that. I have read all hall of fame and almost everything from 2015 to today; some older posts too so I have many people to thank, some of them no longer posting, some still around. I’ve also checked videos, blogs, articles, books, etc. recommended here, it’s been a life saver. You don’t know me but I feel supported and less alone thanks to you all. I was lucky enough to found FEAST and the forum right at the beginning, I feel blessed for it.
I’ve finally found some people in my own country (we are so few and not close but I feel so much better knowing that I can reach out “locally”) also through this forum.
So just to share my story and get me started as a contributing member of this god send forum, here it goes: my D (13 yo almost 14) started eating “healthy” at some point after summer last year. I’ve always been careful with food because I have a family history of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol, but I didn’t want my kids to ´get overly concerned about body shape, or weight or anything like that so I never ever talked about diets, calories, being fat, never commented on anyone’s body shape, but was careful to eat enough fruit, veggies, not so much processed food, you know the drill. D became anorexic all the same (sigh). I think for her it was a combination of eating “healthier” after the summer and Christmas holidays, a growth spurt and a tummy bug that caused her to lose enough weight for ED to get activated. She started to say she wanted to eat less meat and more smoothies, my mom has been a vegetarian since before she was born, I have been one on and off (obviously off at the moment) so that did not ring any alarm bells. Actually alarm bells did not ring for me at all even when my husband said she only wanted smoothies for breakfast, nor when my mom said she didn’t want to have crepes for dinner (she had something else, that was adequate and normal but not a treat), it was only when my sister said she took her to eat sushi and she just ate a miso soup that alarms started ringing loud and clear (february 2019). We later learned (when I went to talk to the school director, who is a psychologist ) that she had been eating very little or nothing at school. This psychologist is not really up to date about eating disorders unfortunately, so she told me that EDs were always about mother-daughter dynamics, I felt terrible but I knew she was not up to date in other issues so I was not totally devastated. That night I started searching the internet, I stayed awake until the wee hours and found FEAST, that same night!
Luckily for us this person was caring (although said a lot of stupid comment out of sheer ignorance, I was ignorant my self but she is a psychologist and works with adolescents! scary) and she was adamant that my daughter had to eat at school so she was not completely useless, and my daughter was able to continue school. I even let her go to a 3 day camp the following week (I was still in shock I guess, I would not do it now, I really don’t remember much of that first week). Anyway those 3 days allowed me to prepare properly, and she ate every meal and snack while away supervised by the psychologist (turns out in the camp they were given 3 meals and 2 snacks!), no doubt not the proper quantities but at least the routine was set.
I showed my husband a lot of what I read and thankfully he was totally on board, we started refeeding quite aggressively with magic plate (shakes and smoothies with lots of calories, cream cheese, canola oil in everything, etc. thanks to all the advice in here) the minute she arrived from camp and haven’t looked back. She responded well, although of course there were really horrible moments, I had the bruises to prove it! I’ve been kicked at (she missed luckily), yelled at, cursed at, you know the drill (luckily little brother has only witnessed one mayor meltdown and only heard some screaming, I took him outside while hubby dealt with d). I got Eva Musby´s book and found it very useful, things deescalated a bit and then a lot, she is back to her historical curve and a bit more. We had a travel we couldn’t possibly cancel (long story, I won’t get into that this time) when we were only a month into refeeding, we were lucky that she never feared eating out or with others, very few fear foods and we survived; it was tense the first couple of days but the buffet at the hotel was adequate and we settled into a routine. We were prepared to take turns and stay with her in the room but it wasn’t necessary.
My main support is my H, he works a lot but helps in every way he can and we can really talk to each other. I can also talk to my brother. My dad kind of gets it, he takes my kids out sometimes (not enough but every little helps) and my d eats well with him. Others help in different ways, sometimes without even knowing like my friends, that don’t even know what’s going on but provide a ED free time once in a while, or my FIL that provide a perfect environment for my daughter to eat and enjoy the company of her cousins (we eat with them once a week, delicious, old fashioned food, full of sauces,oil, protein, carbohydrates, everyone gets their plate served and my sisters in law are always asking their own children, some of them mild picky eaters, to eat a bit more or have pudding), I have some domestic help (paid), my working hours are very flexible, and I attend an alanon group (pre ED), on the other hand money is tight, we don’t have insurance, medical help is scarce and expensive but luckily we haven’t need much of it.
We are in that tricky phase of refeeding where everything goes pretty well (yellow, even green days, thank you Tina for the idea) for a while , even weeks, and you kind of semi relax (not the supervision or the meals, just the feeling of panic and stress) and suddenly there is another meltdown (less intense and shorter, no more kicks or punches, “only” screams and tears and you treat me as if i’m sick, leave me alone), and it is exhausting emotionally (how did I cope at the beginning?) I can see the progress, but I know ED is just behind the surface ready to strike at the first opportunity. Some days I feel like cr.p , self-pity strikes and I hate/envy everyone. We are in very early days (started refeeding the 1st of march, WR mid April) sometimes I can’t begin to understand how will we possibly live like this for years. Some days are better, I can enjoy the good moments, I read and read this forum, and see how many of you have done it and that keeps me going. I’m thinking of helping the group in my country to translate more of the info to our language, I don’t really have the energy right now but I look forward to that, to contribute and repay and support others.
Thank you all so much!