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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cherryblossom
Hi 
This is my first ever post here. My daughter was admitted to inpatient care for anorexia after a recent diagnosis. 
Due to the coronavirus lockdown we have not seen her since admission a few weeks ago. 
Her one younger sibling is really struggling. School is closed, he can't see friends ,we can't take him out. He is only 10 and doesn't really understand why she is there and what is wrong. We have had lots of reassuring chats trying to explain things in an age appropriate way. Nothing seems to work and he is so incredibly sad. 
Is anyone else going through this and able to offer words of advice? All the advice articles I have found for siblings of children in hospital do not seem to be at all relevant at this time - eg recommending keeping to a normal routine, visiting the hospital to see their sibling is OK - we can't do any of those things.
Thank you for any help.
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teecee

Welcome here to the club no one wants to join but nevertheless I’m pleased you came 😊
I have no specific advice to give as my AN D is an only child but I wanted to send virtual hugs and reassure you that there are so many wise carers on the forum who I’m sure will be able to provide you with lots of support and ideas. 

This vile illness really impacts all and learning to find the new ‘normal’ for each of us is incredibly tough early on. However a new normal you will find, I know that. Everything changes....even those horrible, gloomy days....I hope you have some rays of sunshine very soon. Xxx

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Enn

Hello there! 

EDs hit the family so hard. Every single family member is affected. 

For your son allowing him to grieve at his own pace and talking to him as you have already by explaining his sister’s issues is the right way to go. They know and feel so much. He will process this in his own time. I am not saying that things will be great for him. Time and open dialogue would be my suggestion. 

Can he have a FaceTime his sister or have play date with a friend or family member on a regular basis? Is she allowed phone calls so he can call her and connect? 

I hope your d is gaining while in IP. I can imagine how much the family misses her. 

Please ask all the questions you have.
🍃 

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

Here is a nice thread. I hope there are some ideas you can use. If not now, maybe when your d gets home.
🌿


https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/supporting-siblings-10268886?pid=1310665991

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. At this time things are even more difficult than usual. Explaining eating disorders to others is incredibly difficult. Even those who have lived with them for some time find it hard to explain the seriousness and the whys. If you haven't yet already found them these are some resources for siblings on the FEAST page. https://www.feast-ed.org/what-about-the-siblings/

It is normal to grieve with this illness. There is genuine loss of health, of relationships, of dreams. We need to come to terms with the things that are changed irrevocably but at the same time work towards a new future. Your son is grieving too, and his sadness is natural and expected. Spending time with him, listening to his fears and helping him to stay busy will help. Using technology to stay in touch with both his sister and others. 
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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PleaseEAT
Hello cherry blossom 
in our case my 2 older kids are adults and both are completely different in their reaction to ED d

my adult d doesn’t want me to talk about the ED d at all with her even though I did try to EDucate her in the beginning 
I think she needs me to just be her mum and take notice of what’s going on in her life 
her words were “I’m not the mum”
it sounds so selfish and I couldn’t understand it in the beginning but now I just take her for her and not expect anything of her

my adult s on the other hand has been my rock and whenever I’m having a mental breakdown 
or when things are too much (or ED d is driving me crazy) my s is always there for me like a big bear to hug me and calm me down and tell me everything is going to be ok
I know our situation is different with the ages of siblings but I just wanted to give you an example of how my two  kids are so different in how they react/help/support me 
I also find it very weird that it’s my s that’s more supportive than my d of me 
although she supports and loves ED d very much 

anyway I’d say just try to love and enjoy and spend as much quality time with your s as possible whilst you d is in hospital 
let him know they will take good care of her and all he really needs to do is love her and treat her as he usually would 
as it can be quite hard work once they get home too, unfortunately they don’t come home cured 
all the best
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MKR
PleaseEAT wrote:
anyway I’d say just try to love and enjoy and spend as much quality time with your s as possible whilst you d is in hospital 
let him know they will take good care of her and all he really needs to do is love her and treat her as he usually would 
as it can be quite hard work once they get home too, unfortunately they don’t come home cured 
all the best


The best advice!

The ED is an event in all your lives, like any other illness. Your young son deserves a childhood, too.

You can give him lots of support and praise for his show of love. 

My non-ED child was 10 as well when we got struck by ED. While there was no hospitalisation, she missed her "normal" sister (who is now thankfully slowly emerging back). For that first year, she was also witness to horrible scenes of ED rage, something I compensated by allowing more playdates at friends' houses (not an option during lockdown, I know). 

I made sure that every night I had a chat and a cuddle with each of my children, regardless of how the day went. So both got their feelings heard and validated in some way.
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
Hello and welcome.  Your son (and the whole family) are really faced with a double whammy.  Families without ED are having enough trouble finding their way in this odd new world.  If your d is likely to be IP for some time, I wonder if the best thing at the moment would be to minimize the talk about his sister for the moment and focus on helping him adjust to the changes in his own life.   At 10, the world does pretty much revolve around you or so it seems.  

Please let us know how we can help YOU.  I bet you feel like you have entered the Twilight Zone. xx'
-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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cherryblossom
Hello everybody 
Thank you so much for your warm welcome.I'm sorry its's taken me so long to reply. I'm struggling to get my head round so many things right now. Every little thing seems to be taking me so much longer to do.

Thank you also for your advice, whether than be your own experiences or links to articles. Its all invaluable to me.

What one of you mentioned about grieving rings very true. I wonder if he is grieving for his whole old life - his whole world changed in the space of a week. Maybe we are all grieving in some way for our old life. 

I think he knows I am here to listen but I am trying to balance listening with taking his mind off things. You are right that he deserves a childhood.

Online gaming with friends has been very helpful as a way of keeping in touch with other kids from school and giving them something to talk about. I'm trying to bite my tongue as this was something we were trying to limit before all this! Family movies in the evenings are a nice way to spend time too. I think he is even enjoying some schoolwork as it makes things seem more normal!!

I hope you all have a peaceful weekend and thanks again 
x
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teecee

Your update seems a bit more positive..I hope you are finding your way. What many find is that normal parenting rules go out of the window when ED moves in. 

The clinician who diagnosed my D told me that binging Netflix was an absolute must! Also I, like others, celebrated when my D ate at a well know fast food chain for the first time in 2 years....I never thought I’d be encouraging that 😂


Conserve your energy...the little things don’t matter any more. Xbox is a great distraction for my D and I’m sure your son will be so thankful for it during this uncertain time. 

Virtual hugs to you xx

 

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EmC
hello, I am so sorry that you are going through this painful process.  I have a daughter currently in a clinic in SA and unable to get her home but for now i feel she is in the right place as i knew she was at high risk if she contracted the virus.  Also her OCD was driving us all and herself literally mad.   Could you explain that side of things to your son explain that she is in the right place at this time being protected from Covid, Maybe use Covid as the reason she is away to protect her.  In my daughters case her organs would simply not be able to cope with it.  I have been in lock down with my daughter for the last three years so this is not new to me and I am enjoying getting to know my two sons again without the stress of OCD and anorexia going on behind our backs.  Lots of card games and really good chat helps with my youngest son who really misses his sister, but we do house party a lot and they face time each other.  My daughter knows that she at least is missing nothing all her friends around the world are in lock down.  My son can't goto school, his GCSE cancelled.  Everyone is going through so much.  If you need to chat any time I would be very available to you as i am not going anywhere!  I don't know if that is allowed off the platform???  Very happy to help you if you would like.  Meanwhile don't panic, keep calm and slowly, he will be able to process the situation and make sense of it all, then maybe he can advise the rest of the world!  Hope you are all staying safe.
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melstevUK
Welcome Cherryblossom and I am glad you feel welcomed. It is a difficult time without an ed on the scene and I hope you are able to lift your son s spirits a little with some of the suggestions.
EmC, there is nothing to stop individuals on the forum striking up a private exchange. I think if you click on the coloured square it links to the possibility of sending an email. 
So if Cherryblossom wants to take up your offer she can do so. 
If I have given you wrong instructions one of the other Mods will correct me!
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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