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

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rose08
My 12 year old D with anorexia has on many occasions told us that she wants to die, and we are making her feel this way due to making her eat. Last night she said I must just kill her, that It would be easier and better than us trying to "change" her. She hasn't self harmed except for one occasion where she scratched at her tummy with her nails in the bath. Today she displayed some extremely erratic and dangerous behavior. I was driving and she suddenly unclipped her seat belt and said she has to get out - and started opening the door. I swerved to a dead stop and pressed on the hooter while grabbing onto her arm - it happened so quickly. We are in the process of facing food fears and I am sure this is what triggered it - she knows I have bought frozen yogurt and has been on about not eating this for 2 days now. What do i do??? I am so shaken by this, she is not on any medication, and sees a Dr and psychologist weekly and copes well at school. I feel her ED has kicked into high gear - do I ease off, go back to her safe foods for awhile or keep braving the beast as we have been?? This is experience has really shaken me. Xx
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Foodsupport_AUS
I know how frightening these things are. I am so sorry this is happening for you. It is essential that they are taken seriously, I had similar experiences on a number of occasions with my D. Unfortunately suicide is a common cause of death for those with eating disorders. It can be the case that the fear of eating/weight gain is so great that death seems preferable. 

It sounds as though you need an urgent psychiatric assessment of D to assess her safety. This may mean taking her to an emergency department or it may mean contacting an urgent help team.  If for any reason you can't get her assessed over the weekend I would still insist on eating but would definitely pull back on the challenges. 

This is not your fault. This is the fault of her eating disorder that feels under threat. Either way though you need to keep your daughter safe. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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sk8r31
Dear rose08,

So sorry that you've had such a fright, and that your d is in such distress.  It truly can rock a parent to their core to see such out-of-control and dangerous behavior.

Safety first.  Child locks go on in the car from now on.  You most definitely need to communicate to your professional team about the escalation of dangerous thoughts, and this episode with the car.

FWIW, other parents have had to deal with these actions and threats from their kids, and preparing for any such challenges is key.  

As frightening as this event was, I hope you can remain as calm as possible...at least on the outside in front of your d. Take whatever moments you can away from the fray to recharge your own batteries.  You need to be in the best possible physical & emotional state you can be, under the circumstances, to weather this ED storm.

There is a saying on the forum, "Don't be afraid of what the ED is afraid of".  In other words, your d is terrified of her fear foods, and totally backing off to provide her what is 'safe' might not be the best course of action right now.  You may want to alter how you are proceeding with the fear foods...perhaps moving to 'laddering' if you have been 'ripping off the band-aid'.

And you may also need to state at a calmer time...not meal time...that you will take her to the ER for evaluation if there is a need, such as her trying to jump out of a moving car.

Others have also needed to lock up the 'sharps' and sleep in the same room as their kid, in order to ensure safety.

Sending you strength and warm support,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Torie
I'm so sorry, Rose.  It is beyond horrible how this vile illness torments our kids.  Ugh.

You asked, "do I ease off, go back to her safe foods for awhile or keep braving the beast as we have been?" I can't really answer that because I can't remember what her safe foods are like.  To get past this terrible current phase, she needs to gain weight.  As they say, the only way out is through.  She might not need to tackle frozen yogurt just now, but she does need to gain weight.  The faster the better, to get her through this.

As the others said, lock up sharps and medicines, maybe also cords and ropes.  Consider sleeping with her at night.  If you're going to back off fear foods, please try to keep her from thinking that is due to the suicide threat.  If you're going to tell her she doesn't need the frozen yogurt just yet, maybe tell her you read that it is too soon for that.  Or that an expert told you to wait a while.  Or whatever explanation would keep ED from counting the suicide threat as a victory and useful tactic to employ in the future.

Hang in there.  And please remember that it does get better.  Really. xx

-Torie

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Mamaroo
Hi Rose, what a horrible day 😔. My d said the same thing: "I must want to die, please let me die". She said it so many times, I can still hear it. All part of the process. Have you read about the men in the Minnesota semi starvation project? It was even hard for them to refeed; their anxiety also increased, how much harder it must be for our children. My d wad refed on ensures, so no fear food in sight. It was the idea of eating and gaining which increased her anxiety.

Initially when we had our weekly hospital appointments, she would open the car door while I drove, so locking the car and the child lock is a good idea. If you can, avoid the triggers, if you think it's the frozen yogurt, ease off on them. I got my d to eat frozen yogurt by getting her to eat normal yogurt, then freezing the normal yogurt and then giving her frozen yogurt. Later I gave her frozen yogurt which looked like ice cream and later giving her ice cream. Lots of baby steps.

You can try over the counter anti anxiety meds, if your dr is not prescribing anti depressants. I used Ashwaganda, you can find this at a well stock pharmacy as well as 5htp, which is more difficult to find, but can not be used with SSRI medications.

Rose, hang in there. My d today is her old self again, laughing, making jokes, enjoying life and taking on fear food without complaining to much. You'll get there. Sending lots of hugs 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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rose08
Thank you. It has been the most awful, frightening day. She completely dug her heels in at dinner time (we had gotten to the point of an almost clean plate in about 30 minutes after months of work) and after a few mouthfuls declared she is full and will not under any circumstances eat more, would rather be dead and tried to leave the house. I phoned the only place in our area that is sort of equipped (a private psychiatric hospital that takes adolescents for a variety of issues but not ED specific) and was told she has to be 13. Our local hospital would need a referral or ER (for what though - what do I tell them? And what would they do?) and it's the weekend so here we are.... had her bags packed and ready and had to physically restrain her as she tried to run out the house. I am in pieces. I am trying so hard to keep her at home and on track with WR, and the effect on her younger sibling is just heartbreaking. I don't even know what good an admission would do at this point. It's completely psychological and non rational behaviour. As mentioned in earlier posts, we have no specialist Eating Disorder places to take her. I feel incredibly alone and without many options. Thank you for your support xx
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Kali
Rose08,

I am so sorry you, your daughter and family are going through this.
Take a deep breath and keep the meals coming tomorrow. Just because dinner did not go well today doesn't mean that it can't be better tomorrow. 
How close is your daughter to weight restoration? You mentioned in a previous post that you have been refeeding. Sometimes when they feel that they have started gaining weight they become very distressed. And even though the distress is awful for us to see, the only way out is through; to keep up the eating and weight gain.

In my house I made a rule that if she did not eat for 24 hours, I would need to take her to the emergency room. Can you call your dr. and find out what a referral to the ER would involve and how that would work?

Are you able to phone your daughter's therapist as soon as possible and ask what she advises in this situation? Is your daughter currently seeing a psychiatrist and if not can an appointment be made with one familiar with eating disorders for an evaluation? In my daughter's case, she has been taking a low dose of an SSRI since she was weight restored, and that and weight restoration and return to a life she likes does seem to have helped with the suicidality. I am not particularly pro medication but it was recommended by several members of her team. 

Threats of suicide or self-harm do need to be taken very seriously. Can someone be with her 24/7 until you are able to schedule an appointment with her therapist? I don't know how the system works in South Africa, but here if someone is suicidal or a danger to themselves they can be held at the hospital for 72 hours and evaluated.

Kali


Food=Love
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Torie
I'm so sorry, Rose.  This illness is so awful.

As Kali said, sometimes a good day will follow a bad one, so it's best to assume that tomorrow will be "fine."  The randomness is really bizarre.  

And if not - if she is still digging in her heals at breakfast - I would be inclined to insist that she finish her meal.  If she throws it on the floor (or at you), serve her another plate (unbreakable).  And if need be, another.  If she runs to her room, follow her.  Offer to feed her with a spoon.  Or read to her.  Try to think of something nice to do so you can say, "When you have finished your meal, we can do x."  

It sounds like the GP is pretty sensible.  I wonder if s/he would consider a change of meds to olanzapine.  Many here have reported good success with that as it seems to calm the ED thoughts significantly and also tends to calm them down in general.  Maybe worth asking?

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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EC_Mom
Sorry to read this. We had some similar stuff with the "Please help me die" talk. I stayed outwardly calm and slept in her room with her, played meditations for her at bedtime, etc. We put away sharps and pills and basically did not let her be alone. 

I also was in touch with local police, ours has a mental health liaison (as I discovered) and we talked at length so I would know what would happen if I called the cops on my own d. 

If I were you I would invoke genuine authorities when possible--police, ER, etc. I mean to tell your d you have been in touch with such types because you need to keep her safe. And have concrete plans for what to do if she isn't safe with herself. I actually think my d felt reassured (but didn't show it) when I told her about the cops etc., because it meant that I realized how "big" this was and it wasn't like a usual teenager/parent conflict, but a genuine scary thing. 
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Foodsupport_AUS
Sorry the night did not get any better. Hopefully a new day will be. Keeping her safe until you can get some help on the ground is essential. Her distress is real, as are those emotions she is feeling. One of the side effects of increasing food is the increase in serotonin which in turn can lead to intensified emotions. All the while we need to stay calm and insist on keeping on eating. 

If you can't get hold of D's psychologist who may have some knowledge of after hours services, it may be worth a call to your local ER and ask about psychiatric support. There may well be an urgent assessment team that comes to the hospital. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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mjkz
If you truly scared for her safety, head to the ER.  Child locks were a lifesaver (I had to have them added to my old car).  My daughter rarely voiced suicidal thoughts but I knew they were there so when she actually talked about them, I knew it was time to listen and take action.  One thing I noticed is that whenever a food was coming up that she was afraid of or didn't want to eat, the suicidal thoughts came up again and again.  I realized that pattern and knew to expect it but still took it seriously each time.  I didn't let it stop me feeding her that food though.  I would still give her the frozen yogurt and if she refuses tomorrow at breakfast, let her sit there until she eats.  If she misses lunch and is still dug in, I'd head for the ER and get her assessed.
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momupnorth
hello Rose,
My d did this exact same thing multiple times with myself or my husband in the car.  Child locks were a bit of a lifesaver, however my d actually tried to climb over into the front passenger seat to get out of a moving car on the highway once...I had to sit in the back seat with her and hold her until she calmed down.  Unfortunately this was just the beginning of a long road for us dealing with depression, anxiety, self harm, suicidal thoughts and behaviours and multiple hospital/treatment centre placements.  She has gotten to a point where the ed is fairly under control but the thoughts and self harm are still present.  They are toying with a diagnosis of boarderline personality disorder for her but because she is still young (14) won't do a firm diagnosis.
my advice would be to get her assessed psychiatrically asap.  go to the er or family doctor as soon as you can to assess how severe these harmful thoughts are. Our d has needed extended inpatient treatment for her issues as well has medication for a while now but I am glad we got her into the system when  we did.
hoping that this incident was an isolated one, but I would still get your d assessed just to be safe.
mom up north
Mom Up North
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Kali
Hi Rose08, 

How was today, did things go any better?

Kali
Food=Love
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rose08
Thanks everyone, my husband took over for most of today, I just did lunch and he did the shopping and made and supervised dinner this evening. I think my D and I just needed space as the last few days have left us raw. I spoke with her psychologist today and we are seeing her and our GP tomorrow for an assessment re her recent behavior and how to proceed from here , with medication also now coming into play. It's a whirlwind right now and I am feeling so manipulated by her ED.... it's hard to parent normally and this is such uncharted territory for us all. Thank you everyone for your advice, I hear It all and take it to heart. Will keep you all posted on our outcome tomorrow xx
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mjkz
How did it go Rose?
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HateEDwithApassion
Rose, 
It's so great that your H is dug in there with you. So you can get a little break. You'll need respite here and there.
I don't know if you have seen the video others have posted from parent to parent about what kids are thinking, but I just watched it today and I found it invaluable to understanding the distress and pain they are feeling inside which then helps to get why death seems like a possible solution.

I'm not saying that is what she really wants - I'm saying that she is in such distress that any escape from it sounds better. No advice for such a young one - other families are much smarter than me - but wanted you to know I'm sorry you are facing such hard days.

19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
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sandytoes
Hi Rose,

I'm praying the last few days were better for you and your family. I don't post much on here, I just read others' posts and ask the odd question. But I felt the need to reach out to you, as your post could've been written by me last year. NO ONE can understand what you're going through unless they've held their young child who was begging to die. I've been there. I feel your pain and I understand your fear. I hope you get the professional help you are looking for, but know that there is endless support on ATDT. I only wish I'd known about this forum earlier in our journey. I got as much help from these incredible parents as I did from any 'professional'. I'm rooting for you, from the other side of the world. You can do this, one day at a time, one meal at a time. xo
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rose08
Hello again, and thank you for your kind messages. I have been trying these past few days to find our stride again in meals and family routine / dynamic, some days went better than others! The upside to this (epic) week was a good 1/2 kg weight gain... also a firm decision was made by both GP and therapist and myself to incorporate medication into her treatment, Risperidol, to hopefully help with impulse control and anxiety. Also, a decision was made to include a psychiatrist on the "team" now that medication is in play. Also, due to her young age, and 13 being the of admission to the nearest thing we have to IPClinic, this could help our case if we need to admit her... so I guess you could say we have made progress? My D is very inwards looking right now, egocentric is the right term i guess - very all or nothing kind of thinking which is a challenge in a family of 5 with others needs to consider. But, she is safe, eating, gaining and still achieving super well at school and hopefully this crazy week is well and truly behind us. I know this probably sounds strange, but for the past few days I have had this feeling that she will beat this....
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Foodsupport_AUS
What a great up date. It is good that you have managed to get meals happening better with the weight gain happening as well. You have definitely made progress. Keep going. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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