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

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kkhrd
My non ED son asked me if I thought he was healthy yesterday....  I am sure others have wondered the same, but the thought of having to go through this a second time with a perfectly healthy boy scares the (insert expletive) out of me!

This is not the first time he has said something that scares me.  He's a soccer player, age 13 and practices 4 times a week.  He eats everything I give him and never complains, but this disease sneaks up on you, and having been through this of course I am on high alert.  He has commented on feeling out of shape when he's not practiced in the case of a school holiday break.  Like my ED D, he's small for his age, but steadily growing, just at a slower rate.  His dad was a late bloomer growing even past high school, and I'm only 5'1" on a good day, but rather than use this as a guide to expectations of growth I've adopted the feed now ask questions later philosophy while dealing with him, in the wake of my daughter.  I can see when he's about to have a growth spurt, his slight frame fills out, his face gets a bit softer, and then zoom, up he goes.  BUT, I can never seem to keep anything EXTRA on him as he's always so active, so padding his weight is hard, and I don't want to create something that isn't there.  I'm afraid to make food too important, too much of a big deal, as I can already see that he worries when he thinks I don't think he's eaten enough.  

This disease is so tricky, and I'm anxious by nature, so I often overthink things, but I need numbers, percentages...  How often or not are there cases of siblings with an ED??  I keep telling myself that this disease is uncovered when weight drops below a certain percentage, so I keep thinking if I can just keep him a bit above his curve, he won't ever develop an ED, but this seems counter intuitive, because what then? What happens if he gets ED later in life because then it is a harder battle to fight?  Also with growth spurts come brain growth and a change in hormones can affect the brain as well, so there is that to worry about as he's not gone through puberty yet.  

It is crazy how one comment can send you over the edge...  My D and S share so many similar personality traits that I once viewed as exceptional; single minded, focussed, driven, perfectionist, but I now know are markers for "a type" that can be a precursor to ED or other brain disorders.

Some times I need to be told I'm overthinking stuff, but I thought who better to ask than the experts! TIA
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ValentinaGermania
Sorry, I do not have any percentages or links to studies about that, but some few personal experience from families I got to know here and in Germany.
Try to breath through. 🙂
There is for sure a risk because it is genetic BUT it is very rare that families have 2 ED patients. I saw it here in a few cases but never saw it in Germany up to now.
His character gives him a risk, for sure. But as long as you can control his exercising and he eats what you serve it might be only a phase or his personal body that he is so slim. Does he eat burgers and other fatty food? Does he eat with appetite? Then just keep feeding and wait.

You know what ED looks like and you will know when there will be a problem and you have learned all skills to handle that in case you will ever need it so try to breathe through and stay calm and watch him develop to a nice young adult boy...🙂

Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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kkhrd
Thank you Tina, I can always count on you to come through with some sage words of advice.  He knows how not eating enough sets me off, and he has a healthy appetite, often rummaging in cupboards for a snack.  He has no fear foods and always prefers a juicy steak and french fries to ANYTHING green!😂  My concern is not as much about types of foods he will eat, but even with my D, fear foods were never so much the issue, but quantity or portion control.  But even there I'm not seeing much to concern me.  He eats till he's full and then asks me if he's eaten enough.  He often get praised when he can manage to wolf down a huge steak, and he likes that.  But again sometimes, I hear about things...  the other day they had a pizza party in school and he told me that his friend ate 7 pieces of pizza.  He was, I gathered, impressed by this.  When I asked how many he had eaten he said one...  This was disappointing, although he eats really slow, and he said there wasn't any left.  He had a nice snack at home.  I just wonder about other forms of ED, like orthorexia.  I think the way he looks at it is that he doesn't like healthy food, and as I'm sure you can imagine, I'm not pushing the salads on him, but he is very passionate about his sport, and he wants to know if he eats healthy enough to sustain that.  Of course I said yes, even more of a reason to eat larger quantities, and that seemed to have satisfied him.  I just worry about where his mind might be going.

Once touched by this dreadful disease, are we ever the same I wonder...  I am guessing not
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Enn

Kkhrd,
There is a higher risk of ED in another child. The stats say 7-12 x more in a sibling that not and you are aware of what to look out for just in case.
No matter what you are on it and watchful! 

sending my 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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Enn
Ps also remember that the risk in the general population is about 0.4% so low risk but multiplied by the fact there is one child already in the family. I am trying to be balanced here without frightening you but at the same time ensuring you keep wary.
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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MKR
Hi @kkhrd ,

No, we will never be the same. We don't want our families to relive through the ED nightmare. 

My younger one is in the middle of a growth spurt and I top up her plate until she is full. Also, when out and about, I keep an eye on the time and grab a big snack for her. I don't worry that it might spoil her dinner because she gets hungry again soon.

One thing I also do is avoid ANY food talk. Only occasionally I mention flavours, as in "These 2 flavours go so well together". Her ED sister started off with "healthy" and I will not allow food to be constantly assessed in the kids' minds.

I agree with @ValentinaGermania that you can support his growth and try to relax - at least on the outside, so your boy won't pick up any of your anxiety around his eating up.

Makes me wonder how much our non-ED children have retained from those days of battle. We as parents will never be the same. Dinner table was a war zone for a number of months and witnessing the unpredictable dramas couldn't have been easy.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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kkhrd
Thank you Enn, I will, of course, continue to watch him like a hawk.  I am hopeful that we can count ourselves one of the lucky ones, but I did suspect there to be percentages since it is a hereditary disease.  I often worry about my nieces and nephews, I also worry about the incredibly boney YouTuber I see online talking about cosmetics, I focus on skinny girls that seem much too young to be Freshman in my daughter's school.  It so hard to unsee this stuff we've seen and stay objective, so I hope that what I am seeing may not actually be there, but better to be safe than sorry.  My husband thinks I'm losing it again😩  
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kkhrd
MKR Agreed!  I think about what he has seen, the awful things that have dramatically affected him.  He had a bout of severe anxiety when we were in the thick of this with my D and it was near impossible to get him to do the one thing he loves so much, to play soccer.  Again, the anxiety, a lovely trait that I've passed down to both my kids has MY anxiety peaked because it crops up for him when he grows, this last one was nothing like a year ago... he really handled it well and brushed it off, but again, there are those markers that terrify!  I know that he doesn't want me to worry about what he eats, he has said to me "Mom I'm not going to stop eating!"  and I do believe he would never want what happened to his sister to happen to him.  I ask him every night if he wants dessert.  Most night he will opt for something, but some nights he just doesn't want any.  I can see on the days when he says no to dessert, he's watching me to see if I will be upset.  It is crazy how ED shapes each of us in different ways.
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sk8r31
I think it's great that you are aware of a risk, and keeping an eye out for any concerning behaviours. I think it is worth noting that if your s is involved in sports that he fuel adequately for that energy output.  And I think it's fine to let him know that.  There is a really great podcast, the Full Bloom Project, a body-positive parenting podcast that is so very helpful and insightful for parents.  It's moderated by two parents who are therapists working with an ED population. They have various guests who are quite interesting.  One that I just listened to recently was parenting athletes or sports-minded kids.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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kkhrd
That's great sk8r31 I will definitely check that out!  Thank you!
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Scaredmom2019
My 8 year old son has always been a picky eater but not as bad as some kids I have seen. Last night I mentioned to him expanding his palate a bit and he might like other things. He promptly said "mom, I have problems with food". Ugh!!! He is very aware food is a big problem for his sister. Hoping beyond hope that he's just talking. 
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MKR
Someone said on the forum that the siblings having witnessed the ED battles demonstrates to them that we'd fight as strongly for each of our children. 

I hope this message stays. But I wish I could have done it differently and had my other child eat separately or stay at a friend's house more often.  Luckily it was only for a few months.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Torie
I remember oh so well how I worried about my non-ED girls ... luckily it was nothing but a passing concern (for me) and an annoyance (for them).  It is correct that having an ED-sib drastically increases the odds for developing AN, but I hope you can take heart in remembering that the risk for boys seems much less.  So perhaps his likelihood is similar to "regular" girl?  In other words, the odds are definitely stacked well in your favor.

Of course, we couldn't stop watching our kids with a keen eye even if we wanted to.  For better and for worse. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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sandie
I know it is a slightly different but related concern. I wonder what the stats are for increased risk of any mental illness in siblings due to the impact of ED on family/home-life. My nonED D now receiving treatment for depression/anxiety. I think the needs of whole family need to be considered when treating a child with ED. Early intervention with siblings could build their resilience and emotional well-being and prevent them becoming ill. 
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
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Enn
HI @sandie,
I wonder if this may help as a start. I think that is a very good question to ask. My general understanding, is that yes there is significant impact on the siblings and that mental health issues do run in families as well. Ie chicken and egg situation. Was the mental health issues brought on by ED in the family or was it there to begin with?  My older d (non ED) has had mental health issues well before ED came to roost.  So is it a genetic increase in risk of mental health issues as a whole, (that would include having an ED as well)? 
Now you've got my curious mind activated and I will be looking that up. 😊
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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MKR
You are always full of good resources, @Enn! You must have an amazing library somewhere, a true treasure.

This paper and especially the quotes resonated with us, made me even more mindful of our annis horribilis 2018. 😢
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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sandie

@Enn  thanks for the resource. I suspect none of these things are linear cause and effect. We know there are genetic, psychological and social factors involved in AN and I am pretty sure for other mental illnesses also. My D may have had an increased genetic risk but the impact of ED here has made her ill. 

the AN gene study published last year found associations with schizophrenia, OCD and anxiety as far as I remember???

 

Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
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Enn

Yes I think you are right. I will look at that study again. Yes to OCD and Spz associations genetically. I cannot recall the anxiety. 

yes all of this is multifactorial! 

 

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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kkhrd
I have said this before, But I believe (not claiming any scientific knowledge of any kind) the majority of these illnesses fall under the anxiety umbrella.  Like in our situation, My D has always had anxiety, it presented itself in many ways as a small kid, kind of stim-like in nature, but never had any other mental health issues.  As she grew older she had night terrors and trouble sleeping, and eventually anorexia became a way for her to take control back.  All her other anxieties at time of onset anorexia went away and she became very focussed, appearing quite in control.  Once we challenged the anorexia all the anxieties came roaring back, including but not limited to the slim-like behaviors.  

With my son, his anxieties as a toddler were sensory... so much so that we had him tested for autism.  He would also head bang, and rile himself up to make himself vomit. He qualified for services but wasn't testing on the spectrum, so after a year of therapies he was discharged for services and eventually went to preschool a very happy little boy.  He still struggled with food textures but all other behaviors ceased.  He is crazy smart, laser focussed and has a photographic memory, which I always thought felt a little asperger-y for lack of a better word, but his anxiety was always in the background, until 2 years ago when my daughter was in the violent throws of her disease and his anxiety came to the forefront of his behavior.  

I definitely think that they are all interconnected.  Before my D was in treatment at Columbia University Medical center she needed to undergo testing to qualify for treatment.  All their brain MRI testing had to do with looking at the brain activity while making decisions about food.  There were also many questions about what other, if any, disorders she had, like autism, OCD, ADHD, anxiety disorder, depression.
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kkhrd
Thank you Enn for that article it was really enlightening.  While in treatment they told us not to involve my son in any responsibility having to do with D's condition, which seemed reasonable since we didn't want him to feel any burden, but they encouraged play, and distraction.  Of course in the early stages of this disease when we were in a therapy session he would often report that they had no relationship because she had changed so much, but as she became more nourished he was reminded of the beautiful fun and silly natured relationship they actually do have.
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