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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anonff6
My daughter has been diagnosed with AN-BP type for about a year now.  We have gone through some ups and downs, thought we were out of woods, relapsed, came out and thought turned corner to experience more setbacks.  I find myself unable to be happy when my D is having a hard time or when I discover a new piece of news that shows me she may not be as far along as I had thought/hoped.  How do you pull yourself out of feeling so sad and hopeless?  I dont even want to hang out with friends or do social things anymore.  I have other kids I need to parent but I just can't be the parent or person I want to be when I am so consumed with my daughter's well being.  I obviously know that this is not right and I try to fake my way through but I just can't feel anything but depressed about how much our lives have changed and how so many of the things I wanted to do as a parent can't happen bc our family is on hold at the moment...
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sandie

I am so sorry you feel so rotten. It is really tough. I found I needed medication- sertraline. It really helped. 

i have also tried sometimes to write down things I am thankful for like some kindness shown to me or something beautiful in nature. 

i have found it helpful to talk. I am not great at confiding in people but I have found it essential to talk about what has happened/ is happening. I selected one poor unsuspecting friend I wasn’t particularly close to but who I knew would be a good listener and kind and I poured out my heart to her. I found it so helpful not to keep things in. I have turned to the forum a lot when I have felt desperate and in need to connect with people who understand. 

Enn has posted before about the importance of self-compassion- being really kind and accepting of yourself, and that helped me. 

sending you a huge hug. You deserve it. Xxx

Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
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MKR
Hi @anonff6,

Let's hope this feeling, too shall pass because I have been told the experience is akin to grieving. In other words, it goes through stages, feeling lost at the beginning, then it sinks in, then it heals.

I say I have been told, because I was lucky to have a very experienced HR person at work.  As soon as I announced our family's "little" health issue, this HR person took it very seriously and recited what's in store for us. The reality hit me then: oh boy, this is huge.

They explained the grieving process.  Mourning for the years of blissful ignorance, of changed plans for our child, for the drama around the most ordinary things like meals at the table, the fear for the future, the Why us?.

Grieving goes through stages: denial, anger, bargaining/ rationalising, depression and acceptance.

Looks like I'd gone through these stages. I am the sort of person that needs rational explanations, so I read up any minute I could, until I grasped that our child was still there and the illness was the invader. So we could regroup and come up with a strategy. Eva Musby's book calmed me down. 

At times it still feels like a bad dream or a bad joke. I wanted kids who enjoyed sport - ended up banning sport. Always had a nice relaxed bond with my child - ended in epic battles. Hard for me to grasp.

Over time, I got to see the blessings. The ED has struck while I am still the main carer for my children, while I still have the energy, stamina, financial ability and time to act. 

Another blessing is my new assertiveness. I am more of a loyal follower than leader and this has proved that in times of need, I've got what it takes. (Still, I'd swap my leadership for no ED this very minute!)

Another blessing is becoming more mindful towards others. Separating behaviour from the person. We all have something to struggle through and no one is just born lucky.  And the volunteer parents in my support group and at ATDT propped me up whenever I fell in despair. They have had enough on their plate, may have been exhausted, still - they offer support. I want to give back, or pay forward. 

Your feeling depressed is not surprising, hey who wants to be trapped in the vicious dance of ED mealtimes.  But your mind will move on, this new wisdom will build up and give you strength. Soon, I hope. And then rewards will come when your real child comes shining through! 🌞

Your other kids need a fun mum, fake it but laughs are contagious 😄. @deenl had a really great approach on taking care of siblings (I wish I'd read it earlier, priceless thread!).

Hang in there!
Mum's Kitchen

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

Oh that terrible PTSD that we get with ED inthe home, and depression!  It can be so wearing when there are ups and downs, and heartbreaking after doing well to go down a bit . Does it help if I tell you your experience is common and does not mean things will stay this way forever? That is the truth. Although you are not doing what you want right now, it is because there is a need in the family that has to be attended to and that is ED. 
Of course we all understand that. it is hard not to be overwhelmed and laser focussed on ED. I could do nothing but ED all day and night. I know now I was depressed and should have reached out for professional help, but I could not see the forest for the trees. After the acute situation settled like two years in, that is when I got EMDR and it was helpful.

Please talk to your doctor, get help, you don’t need to suffer. I too feel it is a grief reaction of what we think we lost,  but our futures could be even better than we thought. Life is still good and different. 

I hope today and the rest of the week, treat you with kindness compassion and love.🌺

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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Foodsupport_AUS
I think it is pretty normal to struggle with this, with large numbers of parents, myself included, using some sort of therapy, medication, mental health support. This is a long hard journey and much of it is not in your control. Ups and downs are normal. I found getting some support for myself invaluable - it was great to be able to talk to someone who understood eating disorders, could help me deal the the vulnerabilities and learn to manage the distress. Learning to take some time for self care is important, along with  recognising where your boundaries are. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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joanne34
I've found this forum invaluable and also having people to talk to - family, friends and work colleagues.   Sometimes as well just being able to laugh together (e.g. with your partner) about how ludicrous some of the behaviours are e.g. going hysterical if they notice a cereal bar has 50 cals more in it!  We try and get out a lot or break up the day so the day doesn't seem fully consumed by the ED.  Also making sure our other child isn't missing out on things because our family life is now restricted.   That's something we are finding difficult - we were a family who walked a lot, went out for meals etc and now we have had to curtail a lot of this.  Also, our daughter was very active and removing all of that from her, albeit temporarily I hope, is heart breaking.   The talking definitely helps and having a big cry while talking to someone even getting out with a friend or family member for a coffee or lunch.  Just having a break.  I also enjoy going to a dance/pilates class once or twice a week - again getting away from the situation and having time that is completely isolated from the ED really helps to calm the mind and re-energise.  Overall though it is horrific and it has made us all so upset so you definitely aren't alone in feeling this way.  It definitely appears to be the norm.  I hope things get better for you.
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ValentinaGermania
What helped me most is
a) talking to people that are in the same shoes and know what is going around at home and in my head
b) see progress with my d and know that this will not be our life forever

So if your ds recovery is going up and down, can we help you with ideas how to see more progress and help her to recover?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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cm72
The earlier post about this is a form of grief is spot on. I was in the same emotional state as you so from someone about six months ahead of you, it will get better.
My life is far from perfect and I swear everyday there's new battles. But this has taught me resiliency and patience. Self care is so important. What do I do?
MEDITATION-this has saved my life! Start out by doing one from an app. I like Insight Timer.
LAUGHTER-I love funny movies and comedians
OTHERS-Try to get out every now and then. Hang with friends, your husband. Whatever you can to show that life is still out there and it can be fun.
MEDICATION-If needed. For me, I was able to get by on making sure I took the right supplements (Vitamin B is the stress vitamin, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, CBD, Turmeric, Probiotic).
Please take care of yourself and know there is hope in the future.
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PleaseEAT
It’s a tough illness to beat and unfortunately takes it toll on the whole family especially as it can take some time also to recover with the two steps forward one step back dance 
As others have said taking care of yourself is of utmost importance 
self care, self care, self care!!
was drummed into me when I became physically and mentally exhausted 
If sleeping is an issue for you get some meds to help (I needed them for a while)
relaxation, meditation/deep breathing  walking, listen to music, get a massage, yoga anything YOU enjoy!

It’s so hard to find the time BUT SO important 
even if you can start with just 10 mins a day to take care of YOU! 
YOU deserve it!

all the best
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Sotired

A year in is a hard time. At that point you’ve realised that this isn’t going to be easy and that the journey is likely to be longer and with more pain ahead .
when I was where you are there were a couple of things I did to get things to a more manageable place.
i went to the doctor and went on antidepressants.when the first ones proved ineffective I went on to new ones.they worked- this process took around 3 months.
i committed to spending 10 minutes a day with each of my other children, playing a card game, reading with them, walking the dog.
i kept going to the gym.i went whenever I could.,I would leave d at reception and do a class as part of my self care.
if things are feeling seriously unmanageable and you are having suicidal thoughts( and we can all reach that point as caregivers) please make sure you see a doctor FIRST.
if it’s more of a feeling of weariness, then make sure you are eating, showering, and giving yourself 15 minutes a day for you. During that time you could sit with a cup of tea or coffee and just read.nothing educational-as trashy as possible lol. 
for this feeling to start being more controllable, you will need to take a couple of steps forward for you.
thinking of you 

Sotired42
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Barberton

Letting go of the idea that I have to be 100% to every project and person.

Talking to friends who are really good at listening.

Trusting myself more and listening to my gut feeling.

Being compassionate and positive in even the most difficult situations.

Reading this forum has been really helpful for support and as a sounding board.

D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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anonff6
Thank you all for the words of advice and actually just reading about your experiences and that many of you felt the same way has made me feel a little better. I will think of all these pearls of wisdom the next time I am feeling down...it really is all dependent on how my D is doing each day though ...just can't help it. Hugs to you all.
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teecee

I found it easy to be a ‘fixer’ and deal with a problem (refeeding) as I was in control of that. I really struggled with enduring my Ds pain as the poor decisions were out of my control. I like you found myself suffering with depression although at first I didn’t recognise it as such. I cried every day but thought this was normal and as a result of what we were dealing with and that it would pass. The longer it went unchecked the harder it became and I lost all feelings....becoming numb. 

Fortunately the doctor I saw was amazing and immediately offered the right support as did my workplace. Sertraline was prescribed and changed my life. I no longer need medication but for those 8/9 months it helped me start to live life and deal with her pain. 

A life changing moment was when I realised that my own self care was so important as my D needed a role model to emulate .... how could she practice self care if I didn’t show her what it was?
Since that time she sat up and noticed and wrote me notes telling me how it made her happy again, seeing that I was in a better place. I think that maybe she thought she was to blame for making me sad when the opposite was true. No one chooses this terrible illness...we as a family just got unlucky but it doesn’t define us. 

Virtual hugs and please reach out and practice self care. Start living again....you deserve to. 

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ValentinaGermania
anonff6 wrote:
it really is all dependent on how my D is doing each day though ...just can't help it.


So best help for your both would be to bring her into a better state. Can we help brainstorming ideas how to get there?
To see mine smile and laugh again and getting back to life and doing normal things a young healthy woman normally does was the best medicine for me too.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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