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

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Hi...just wondering how long it took before you noticed any improvements in the state and mood of your daughters and sons while going through refeeding? 

Our D., just turned 18, has been compliantly eating 3 meals a day and 2 snacks for what will be 5 weeks tomorrow and seems more depressed than ever. She looks a little better, no longer as gaunt, but nowhere near weight restored yet. She seems very upset to be gaining weight even though she voluntarily went into residential treatment saying she wanted to recover.


It was up and down in the Torie household. First she got worse for a few months, then better, then the last 10 pounds was bad again ... then better. Also, it seems to be cyclical for my d - fall is the worst, then she does better oh so slowly through winter spring summer, with things starting to go south in late summer. It's actually hard for me to remember, amazingly. It's like when they're babies and it seems like infancy will go on forever and then bang you realize it's been two years and you wonder where all the time went.

And of course, everyone's mileage varies.

The important thing is that it DOES get better. Keep swimming.


"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
I remember wondering the same thing. Why was my d so much worse when I knew at some level she wanted to get better?

For us, it got so much worse before it for better. Like Torie there were lots of ups and downs, but we didn't see real LT improvement until she was properly weight restored.

The body checking and depression and anxiety were almost unbearable. Distress tolerance skills from DBT helped some as did zyprexa. She went off it when WR but it helped the weight to go on faster.

I know at some level my d did want to get better, but I think the ED voice is so strong to fight. I would say over and over again that I could see how impossibly miserable she was, but that the only way out was through!
Enjoying my 23 year-old daughter's achievement of active recovery that was made possible by the resources and education I found on this forum.

Don't give up hope!
Hi, ours was a bit like Torie's story, improved slightly but as we got close to the correct weight, it kicked off big style!! I would say my dd has been weight restored for 9 months and her mood whilst improved from about 3 months after this, we have had some dips in mood a really bad relapse in Sept 15.  I would say now her mood is much improved and she is back to her usual self most of the time (without the issues of me still giving her food and we are working on phase 2).  I will get better but it is very much an up and down path, you will see progress so just keep doing what you are doing.x
17 years old, well into recovery and taking full control of food herself and gaining weight, she's loving life at the minute, it does get better!!
One thing I noticed for me is that I was always thinking: "there is no progress" until I would go back and re-read my journal and realize there is a lot of progress.  I am committed to writing every day now so I can go back and see what is really going on. I just had this happen:  I thought "oh my gosh, she is NO better!" because she flipped out about a dinner!!!! But, she used to flip out every meal, and she has not flipped out in 7 days and it was the day before her period and she was emotional/hormonal mess that day because she was really tired - so this was not a "relapse" (she ate the dinner too) - it was just a bad day in an otherwise good and slow progress toward health.  So, it helps me to keep track of her mood/behaviors (just jotting down general stuff quickly each night) so I can see the progress over time.  I think it is easy for us moms to be hypersensitive and afraid of any signs that things are not getting better and we may not be able to see when things are actually getting better.

Good luck!!!!  I hate the roller coaster...  hang in there.
One day at a time...

daughter diagnosed 8/15 when she was 16,
wr through maudesly method 1/16,
currently in potential first relapse
Our d's descent into ED was so abrupt (about 10 weeks of serious restricting) that the personality changes were subtle. In many ways she seemed like her usual self. Once she started eating again - POW! Things got really, really bad. So depressed she literally lost her ability to speak. Suicidal thoughts. Almost catatonic, lying on her bed and staring at the wall for hours. As she gained weight and her physical health improved, she was filled with rage - mostly directed at me. It was a shocking change to the person she'd always been. It got better very slowly. It took about a year post w/r to recover emotionally.

It gets worse before it gets better. Once in a while we see a parent here whose child gets better with every pound, but it's much more common to see things really look awful as the ED is challenged. It's almost inevitable, so even though it is distressing, take it as a sign of progress.

Here's my analogy: restricting food is like restricting blood flow to a limb. You might not be aware that your arm is falling asleep. Maybe if you have arthritis or pain in your arm it may even feel better as it's falling asleep (people with pre-morbid anxiety feel better when restricting). Your arm can get so numb that your other arm has to move it (parents stepping in). At first the arm feels nothing, cold and dead. But as blood and oxygen return, there's a lot of pain. That terrible pins and needles feeling! There's no way out but through. Our kids go from numb to this pins and needles IN THEIR BRAINS! It must be a terrible experience, but health is on the other side.

I'd try to look at it as progress - because it is!
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
My d's recovery has hardly been linear. First of all it's not just a few issues that I could make a spreadsheet for and put each issue in a column and then put a date next to it to record progress (wish I could). She's been W/R for over a year (I no longer trust myself in giving a specific date, not knowing exactly what her natural set point is. I do know that she is at a healthy weight NOW, but am not sure when she reached this point.)

State and mood? She could be happily singing in the shower while self-harming at the same time unbeknownst to me. She could be civilized towards me (e.g. thanking me for fixing her hot chocolate) and then screaming at me for not agreeing with her on, say, what electives to take next year.

What I can say FOR SURE is it does get better as she maintains her weight (on the HIGH END of the range) for a looooong time. 

I am sorry; there is just no easy way, no shortcut to recovery. Do trust that your d will come out the other end, stronger than she ever was! 
18-y-o d dx RAN Mar 2014; WR in 3 mons but continued to gain for another 30+ lbs. ED is mostly gone though some minor remnants are still present; SH finally stopped after 2+ years; started DBT in Jun '15. "Voice in her head", OCD, body image, all slowly chipped away. I am finally breathing again and trying to enjoy life no matter what it brings me.