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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KClaudia
We are brand new to this.  In a nutshell, our 16 year old daughter has been struggling with anxiety for a  few years now.  She has been in therapy and was placed on medication which showed some improvement.  But my gut told me that something is not right still.  To make a long story short, we confronted her about her behavior and sharing what is going on with her.  That is when she reluctantly said that she has been either not eating or binging.   I immediately sought an expert in eating disorders, made an appointment and she has had one session. The therapist will not disclose what they discuss.
I am struggling to find a local support group for parents.  Her therapy is expensive and we can't afford to pay for both her and ourselves and she is clearly the priority.
We are also struggling with what to do in the here and now.  We didn't recognize some warning signs, such as her eating a lightning speed at dinner, or "not being hungry," or dismissing dizzy spells, and we do not know what is the right or wrong thing to do with these instances now that we see them for what they are.  We are trying to remain as unemotional about this as humanly possible and be as matter of fact as possible, but it is hard and I know that I can't stuff my emotion away completely forever.  At the same time, I am so fearful of saying the wrong thig and reinforcing her negative thoughts which we cant' begin to understand.  It seems no matter what I say, she will hear something negative in it. I hope someone can offer some concrete advice.  We would be very appreciative.  
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Enn
Welcome!
I am glad you found us and so sorry you needed to.
I hope you find the support and information you need to help your d.
A couple of questions if you don’t mind.
Where are you located? Others who live near you may be able to offer specific advice on places to go or avoid.
is this specialist a team with medical personnel as well?
Do you have a diagnosis?
Usually the parents ARE part of the team and treatment plan as they are at home with the child to feed them and support them. I find it odd that this specialist did not include you. 
Are you doing FBT family based treatment? 
That would be the most evidence based treatment to date. 
And please know that many of us did not see ED taking over our kids until it was a crisis. It doesn’t matter now. What matters is getting her help now and moving forward. Many here thought it was a great thing our kids was eating healthy! (That happened to me) 

It truly is an emotional time. So please don’t feel you need to bottle it up. Vent here we have been there, for sure. 
Try to keep your emotions under control in front of your d as best you can.

I will try to post some book recommendations for you a bit later. 

Also so please ask questions. We are able then to reply to specific concerns you have.
We do try to share what worked and sometimes more importantly, what did not work for us in order for you to see all the different paths out there and pick what suits your situation best. There is no one way, the right way will be what you create based on suggestions you get here.

i am glad you are here. 
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
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. A diagnosis of eating disorder always comes as a shock, and most of us know very little about them until our child gets sick. Reading up about eating disorders is a good first step. If you haven't already I would recommend reading our Family Guides  along with https://www.amazon.com/When-Your-Teen-Eating-Disorder/dp/1684030439 . 

One of the first things to address is her irregular eating pattern. She requires regular nutritious meals. She likely needs to gain some weight.  
It would be a good idea if she is seeing a therapist that you ask to have a combined session - whole family to discuss how you can help her, raise your concerns. A therapist that offers no feedback or refuses to include you I would see as a warning sign. Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and having support people / carers is often the key to recovery. 

Mostly it is hard to say something to someone with an ED that makes them feel worse. They usually feel terrible already, and often can be very self critical, including finding criticism in positive statements - "you look well" = "you look fat". So avoid comments on appearance is probably the most important but over all I think being aware that things will not always be received the way they are intended. 
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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Enn
That book that Foodsupport suggested is great! It is highly recommended by many members of the forum. 
Eva Musby's website may also have some information you may find helpful
https://anorexiafamily.com


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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KClaudia
Thank you.

We are in Cincinnati.

She had one session and we were told she needed to meet with her one more time before she gave a specific diagnosis but that she did have an eating disorder. Her website reads that she has been a pioneer in this field for 30 years, and that she individualizes therapy.

I guess right now I am even just wondering if we should stay quiet when we see :
1) her gobble up food at dinner
2) not eat much because she "isn't that hungry"
3) her feeling bad and she says she is fatigued but "fine"?
4) her deciding that she is going to make cookies  (she has been very interested in food recipe sites, etc)

These seem small in comparison, but I am realizing that these are warning signs and I don't know how to react to them in a way that doesn't add to the situation.

We are supposed to travel to a family wedding soon, too and I don't know what I should or shouldn't say,to whom to say it, what to expect or do to try to support her without calling attention needlessly, etc

Thanks.

scaredmom wrote:
Welcome!
I am glad you found us and so sorry you needed to.
I hope you find the support and information you need to help your d.
A couple of questions if you don’t mind.
Where are you located? Others who live near you may be able to offer specific advice on places to go or avoid.
is this specialist a team with medical personnel as well?
Do you have a diagnosis?
Usually the parents ARE part of the team and treatment plan as they are at home with the child to feed them and support them. I find it odd that this specialist did not include you. 
Are you doing FBT family based treatment? 
That would be the most evidence based treatment to date. 
And please know that many of us did not see ED taking over our kids until it was a crisis. It doesn’t matter now. What matters is getting her help now and moving forward. Many here thought it was a great thing our kids was eating healthy! (That happened to me) 

It truly is an emotional time. So please don’t feel you need to bottle it up. Vent here we have been there, for sure. 
Try to keep your emotions under control in front of your d as best you can.

I will try to post some book recommendations for you a bit later. 

Also so please ask questions. We are able then to reply to specific concerns you have.
We do try to share what worked and sometimes more importantly, what did not work for us in order for you to see all the different paths out there and pick what suits your situation best. There is no one way, the right way will be what you create based on suggestions you get here.

i am glad you are here. 
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Kali

Dear KClaudia,

I'm sorry you have to join us here but want to extend a welcoming hand. Knowledge is power and I hope we can help you prepare yourself and offer
support to help you to be able help your daughter. 

I'll try to give you some feedback on your questions...

Quote:
I guess right now I am even just wondering if we should stay quiet when we see :
1) her gobble up food at dinner
2) not eat much because she "isn't that hungry"


For the first two questions the eventual goal is the same, to work towards normalizing eating. When you see a behavior that you want to work towards changing you do not have to stay quiet. Staying calm and compassionate and loving but at the same time being able to set boundaries about what and when she needs to eat is a skill which can be acquired along the way. 

Quote:
3) her feeling bad and she says she is fatigued but "fine"?


Acknowledge her feelings. If she is fatigued it could be because she is not eating enough and in that case have her sit down and have a snack.

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4) her deciding that she is going to make cookies  (she has been very interested in food recipe sites, etc)


As long as she eats the cookies it is totally fine. If she has an issue with binging, you could try giving her the portion you want her to eat and then putting the rest of the cookies away.

Another book which you might check out is Dr. Lauren Mulheim's book, "when your teen has an eating disorder". 
  
https://www.amazon.com/When-Your-Teen-Eating-Disorder/dp/1684030439

warmly, 

Kali

 

Food=Love
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ValentinaGermania
Hi KClaudia,
a very warm welcome from Germany and sorry that you need to join us here.
My d was 17 at diagnose so I can imagine how you feel now. To give you some hope, she is in year 3 of recovery and doing well now. Recovery from an ED is possible.
Here are my 2 cents to your posts/questions:

"The therapist will not disclose what they discuss."
If that is going on, that the therapist does not talk to you and does not include you in therapy, she is the wrong person. It is very important that the family is included and that the therapist helps you to stop her ED behaviour. If not, that leads to nothing.

"I am struggling to find a local support group for parents."
There is an ATDT facebook group, maybe there is somebody from your area? If not, we are open 24/7 here and there is always a nice parent from anywhere in the world here to help you. We have been in your shoes and know what you are talking about and would love to support you.

"We are also struggling with what to do in the here and now.  We didn't recognize some warning signs, such as her eating a lightning speed at dinner, or "not being hungry," or dismissing dizzy spells, and we do not know what is the right or wrong thing to do with these instances now that we see them for what they are."
That is totally normal, we all missed the early signs and did and said the wrong things at the start. Try not to look back, look forward. You can help her now and you can be her best help to find the way out. Read all the books recommended above, learn here (did you already see the Feast Family Guides?) and start TOMORROW. There is no time to lose. The earlier you stop the ED behaviour the better.

"At the same time, I am so fearful of saying the wrong thig and reinforcing her negative thoughts which we cant' begin to understand.  It seems no matter what I say, she will hear something negative in it. I hope someone can offer some concrete advice.  We would be very appreciative. "
That is also totally normal. Her brain does not work normal any more because it is malnurished. She does not understand what you are concerned about, she cannot see logically that she is doing something wrong, and ED tells her that he is her best friend and all the rest of the world is against her and hates her. She turns everything you say into the opposite so better to say nothing and not to engage in ED fights at all.

"Her website reads that she has been a pioneer in this field for 30 years, and that she individualizes therapy."
If she offers only individual therapy and not FBT (family based therapy) she might be the wrong person for you. Ask for FBT and for evidence based treatment. FBT is gold standard with EDs. She should at least know it if she does not offer it. To be a poineer for 30 years does alone say nothing. Here therapists are doing the wrong things for 30 years now as they did not see all the changes in sciences that were made in the last 30 years. Your d needs up to date treatment and not 30 year old things. Ask for FBT.

"I guess right now I am even just wondering if we should stay quiet when we see :
1) her gobble up food at dinner
2) not eat much because she "isn't that hungry"
3) her feeling bad and she says she is fatigued but "fine"?
4) her deciding that she is going to make cookies  (she has been very interested in food recipe sites, etc)"

Here are my 2 cents about that:
1) and 2) are to solve when you start to plate all meals like in the restaurant for the whole family. If she eats that quite quick and gobbles up try to ignore it. If she says she is not hungry try to encourage her to eat and finish that plate with the tricks you have learned in the books mentioned above or in Eva Musbys wonderful Youtube videos. The goal is that she eats regular (that keeps her blood sugar level constant and helps against ED thoughts that are highest with low blood sugar). 3 meals 2 snacks. If she is binging not more. Lock all food away so she cannot binge.
What about purging? Vomitting or secret exercising? Anything you can definitivly exclude? Check the bathroom, check her room for hidden food or hidden sickness.

3) Take her to GP asap to make sure her heart, bood and bones are o.k. Find out how much weight she has lost. She might be in a bad state already and need IP/hospital stay. Do not accept that she says she is fine. They can feel fine and be dead the next day. If she refuses to see a GP say that she needs to proof that she is fine. Is she still going to school? Maybe it is needed to find out if her state allows her to go or she needs to stay at home for some time x.

4) Many ED patients engage a lot in cooking, baking and reading recipes for hours but do not eat anything from it. My d did that to not feel hungry. She baked and cooked for us and did not eat anything from it. So if your d does that stop that asap. She can bake if she eats from the cookies. If not, she is not allowed to bake. If she starts binging on the cookies serve some as a snack and lock the rest away for tomorrow.

"These seem small in comparison, but I am realizing that these are warning signs and I don't know how to react to them in a way that doesn't add to the situation."
That is the biggest problem. You cannot bath her without making her wet. When you start to fight the ED behaviour it will "add to the situation". She will react very bad on that. She will hate you for some time. But that is needed to stop that bad behaviour. And it gets better again when ED is eliminated.


Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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