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

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rays

Hearing this a lot lately.

Here's the story: my roomate and I found each other and came to room together through a shared diagnosis of PTSD. It has been highly beneficial to us both in terms of the peer support it offers. However she has been going downhill for months, getting worse and worse, in my mind somewhat abruptly. Last week we got her in to see a therapist we both have a relationship with, who also is one of the state's leading experts in EDs. She came back with a diagnosis and we rushed to get her on a waiting list for inpatient the same day. On the one hand I am understandably relieved as much of the backsliding I've had to watch her go through is now explained. On the other hand, we had built up quite a rapport over time and suddenly it is all gone. We have a week to go before she can get in to treatment and get the help she needs. I feel like I should be relieved but there are things to discuss: how to prepare, and how to pay for the treatment. She is estranged from her parents whom she has had an extensive abusive relationship with. Going to them for money would be a disaster, but when we talk about other options, all I hear from her is, "I don't want to talk about it right now."

Well, ok. When then?

It doesn't help me that my father committed suicide while waiting to go to treatment for PTSD. Two days before he was set to leave in fact. I realize we are in the home stretch here but some things need to be talked about and when I get hit with that line, "I don't want to talk about it right now," I can't help but be scared to death. I don't have much left in the way of family now but I love this girl as much as any of them, and more than most. She is the little sister I never had. Then I read the statistic about EDs and suicide. She has discussed suicide with me before, as have I with her. It is common for PTSD sufferers to occasionally go there. But at this stage, in these circumstances, I don't know what to do here. I remember my mom during my father's final weeks, and how she couldn't sleep a wink. She did everything she could to get him safely into treatment. In the end I know her vigilance didn't matter, but I don't want to lose another person I love this way. I don't know what to do. I feel like I'm smothering her and I know that doesn't help. But we have to talk about these things and her pulling away like this reminds me so much of Dad.

Anyway, I haven't slept enough, I can't think straight, and I need guidance. Any help is appreciated.

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mumto3
Sorry you are here, but glad you found this site.  What are the options for payment right now?  Can you let the treatment place have that discussion?  Remember that her brain is really not functioning well right now, so she just may not be able to deal with it at all.  What kind of outside support can you get?
worried mom
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Psycho_Mom
Hi and Welcome to the Forum.


This is your roommate who has an eating disorder and PTSD also? 

And there is a medical professional who diagnosed ed and has gotten her into IP treatment, which will start next week?

And your question is, how to keep her alive until next week?

The answer to that is:
1. consult or inform either the medical professional who diagnosed her, or the proposed treatment facility where she is waitlisted.
2. If that isn't immediately satisfactory (ie doesn't immediately instigate action that helps guarantee her safety) then take your friend to an emergency room or call 911.

We aren't medical professionals here and can't diagnose. I haven't any idea as to the physical or mental situation of your friend.

I can say however, that it sounds like you need help to handle the situation and your own anxiety about it.  Do you have skills and techniques and support to handle your own anxiety? IF so, use them, use them all, use them for yourself. Take care of yourself, so that you can better discern what may or may not need to be done for your friend. IF there isn't any family or other support, for her or for you, then don't hesitate to call professionals.

The question of how to pay for her treatment is frankly, not your responsibility, unless you are in some way responsible for the care of your friend. (Are you? I'm not clear on this. And don't need to be, of course.) Again, the proposed treatment center should be able to advise on this.

As for her statement "I don't want to talk about it right now," oh boy, I have heard that a LOT over the years from my daughter (in recovery from an ed). It is extremely frustrating!!! What I did was I sat my d down at a calm time and said something like, "when I ask you to talk about something hard, it's because it's something I believe we really need to talk about. I promise to be as brief as possible, and to not talk about anything I don't think is really necessary.  But when I bring something up, you need to either talk with me about it, or tell me a specific time later in the same day when it would be better for you to talk about it. If you do not do that, I will not stop talking about it and I will badger and badger and badger and I will not do anything else until you answer.....etc......"

Sometimes, making an appointment for a specific time not too far in the future to talk for five minutes about x, and knowing there will be an immediate consequence if it doen't happen, helps bring down the anxiety.


best wishes,

D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
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Torie
Hi Rays - So sorry you needed to join us as members of the club no one wants to belong to. 

I think it's fair to say that when one tries to get help for an ED sufferer, the relationship takes a hit. BUT once the sufferer has been restored to health, the relationship usually gets back on track. She is really lucky to have you in her corner during this difficult time. Reading posts from people like you always warms my heart and givers me hope my d will find supportive friends who will help watch out for her when she has "flown the nest." So thanks for that.

If you feel your roommate is at risk of suicide, I wonder if you would feel comfortable disappearing medications and sharp blades. We parents are often in a position to do that even though, as you have so sadly witnessed, it's never possible to remove all risk. 

As far as preparing for IP, I'm not sure how much preparing is really needed. I've heard many cases where the sufferer went in for testing and was admitted that same day with no real chance to prepare - you might ask if she'd like your help packing or preparing, but if she can't face doing that in advance, maybe you could take her things in to her as she asks for them after admission?

If she sees the therapist regularly, perhaps the therapist understands her situation wrt healthcare benefits/coverage. Hopefully she is referring your roommate to a facility that will accept whatever form of coverage she has. If you're comfortable sharing your geographic location (general area), someone here can probably chime in with suggestions for addressing payment issues.

I'm so sorry I don't really have any good advice for you. But at least his gives you something to read. Please keep us posted and feel free to ask all the questions you would like. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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rays

Thanks all for the responses. I was pretty distressed when I wrote that and have taken some steps to calm down. It is true I am not in the best position to be a good caretaker. We have had a relationship as peers in support of one another and that has changed, leaving us both with less support than before. It is the lack of communication that is getting me. There was a period not too long ago where she was immanently suicidal but she would talk to us (myself and her brother and sister-in-law) about it. Too much in common right now with what happened to my father. However, after taking my own steps to get out of fight-or-flight mode (very frequent PTSD problem), I can see that this probably isn't the same situation.

I am realizing now that the hospital is not going to turn her down if she can't cover the co-pay on the day of admission. That gives us options. My worst fear is that she goes to the parents for money, but I suppose we'll worry about that when we get there. 

It is a relief to be able to talk about this. Thanks all for listening.

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Psycho_Mom
Hi again,

That you were able to take steps to manage your own anxiety is ...frankly effing awesome. Good job and please take a bow! (And a few more deep breaths.....)

I do understand, I think, about the lack of communication. My d also, when distressed, does this shutting down thing. "I can't talk about it now," is something I really, truly have heard a lot in the past years. as well as the going-into-her-room-and-shutting-the-door thing, and the not-answering-anything thing. What happens with no communication is that you fear the worst, right? You imagine all the horrors that might be jumbling round in her head.

Here's some ideas I've come around to, in my years of trying to communicate with my d. Maybe some would be helpful. Again, this is about communication. If there is a fear of imminent self harm or evidence of same, communication isn't what you need--you need action then.

First, be clear, succinct, and respectful. Sometimes it took me a whole day to prepare a one minute conversation with my d, because I had to figure out what I really wanted, and what I really needed TODAY, and then let the rest slide. 

Then, choose the best (or least worst) time. If your roommate suffers anorexia, this would be when there is no food in sight.

Then, give warning or make clear what your roommate can expect, and give her some control. This helps anxiety a lot, I think. Say, "I have one thing and one thing only that I need to say to you today. If now is not a good time then tell me what time today would work better. But it must be today or else I will just keep talking at you and bugging you (or some other logical consequence). And if the conversation takes more than two minutes you are free to leave the room."

Stick, as much as possible, to the concrete. 

"When you don't say anything to me, I fear the worst, that you are thinking of suicide. It would help me if, when you are in your room alone, you at least kept the door open. I promise I won't come in and bug you, but this would help me to know that you're safe."

Please keep us posted, and keep breathing!


D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
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deenl
Hi rays,

One thought and one tip!

I wondered when I read you post why your roommate's brother was not the one sorting out the insurance coverage?

We cannot speak to our son about his ED but we email and he reads them when he feels calm. I think the choice of being able to read in his own time and when he is not stressed really means he can listen to our message.

Warm wishes,
D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly gaining at home, seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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rays
Thanks again to everyone for the support. We got her to inpatient yesterday, one of the highest rated in the US and insurance is covering 90%. My body let go of the anxiety and I am so stiff today I haven't gotten out of bed. Given the circumstances it is actually a wonderful feeling. Best wishes to all, I'm sure I'll be back for more along the way.
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deenl
Hi Rays,

Glad to hear your friend is in a safe place. You are a wonderful friend to go to such lengths to help her. Hope you are able to recharge your batteries now.

Warm wishes,
D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly gaining at home, seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight. 2020 Off to university, healthy and happy.
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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