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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Francie
Hi Feasties,
there is a change in my home as to how we are interacting with our daughter. We used to get angry when we saw signs (or caught her) binging and purging. Now, when I encounter her in behaviors it is like she's doing any other sort of activity and we just have a normal conversation and I go about my business.

Does this sound normal? 

She did an intake assessment today for a residential treatment facility. Her bloods have been registering low potassium, which is scary. She refuses to go to an inpatient hospital in state even though that was recommended by a php in-state that she had been attending.

I am afraid to leave her at home alone for any stretch of time. Sometimes, I find it hard to function, or to be able to engage in any meaningful activity. When I used to fight with her or get angry over behaviors, we got nowhere (actually, I got a black eye and she got arrested). So now we just act normal and matter-of-factly when she engages in behaviors. But that doesn't feel right.

Help me, Feasties, what is the proper response? Is it always to say "I'm concerned about you"? I think it is.

Francie

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Kali
Hi Francie,

I do hope that your daughter will be able to accept the help she needs and go into residential.
Fingers crossed.

warmly,

Kali
Food=Love
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WeRnotdone
Francie,
  In the US there are some states with treatment centers that you can send them if they are under 18 against there will. Not sure if that is available where you live.
   For me I have to use tough love to get my daughter to fight the eating disordered thoughts. It’s tremendously hard for them. My daughter’s phosphates were low too at one point. The fear of dying helped motivate her to. When they are so sick our fear and anxiety make it is hard to think straight. Hang in there.
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melstevUK
Hi Francie,

As always, sorry for what you are going through 
Does d have a particular facility in mind that she wants to go to? Have you had a discussion about her wishes? I assume it will be a long way away and hard to visit so is this your concern? 
If she is willing to go residential somewhere then this is a plus. I think it would be worth clarifying what your d wants if she will do that. 
In terms of what is normal, if it is any consolation I used to get a finger put up in my face whenever we spoke about food or making increases and then we just carried on as normal on every other level. I just kept on with the nagging to show I wasn't giving up but it achieved little. Easier to operate with almost in the house than fighting and arrests. 
I just think you keep on supporting as best you can. If she is submitting herself for blood tests and willing to go into hospital she is at least acknowledging her illness. I think you have to run with what you have and where you are. 
Hugs .it is a hellish journey X
 
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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Foodsupport_AUS
I think you are right that ignoring it is unhelpful and may send the wrong message.  I think saying you are concerned, worried about what you are observing, and ask for some input from her as to how you can help her to seek better more treatment. If you can get enforced treatment that is a great option but not available to many.
Your zd has been sick for a long time and is an adult creating the hard part of needing some cooperation from her.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Francie
Hi everyone, thank you for your responses.

My daughter missed a full weekend of work because of her ED and it really shook her, so on Sunday she said she is ready to go to a residential treatment center, but she wants one where she can be vegan. We found 3 facilities that will accommodate a vegan diet, and she chose one and did her intake yesterday. It is in another state (we live in the northeast, the center is in the southwest). The center said they will challenge her vegan diet to be sure it is not ED-related, and she heard and accepted that. I know there is a risk she will check herself out so I have to get hubby on board with a 'if you leave prematurely you can't come home' boundary. And we will tell her that before she leaves. I know that the veganism and vegetarianism are at the heart of her illness but I can't be the one to point that out because she'll dig in her heels even more.

Foodsupport, I know she has been sick for a long time and that worries me immensely that she will never recover. I am trying not to lose hope and I literally cannot function in my day-to-day life at times, driven to distraction by feelings of fear and incompetence. WeRNotDone, thank you for validating my feeling of not being able to think straight.

Al Anon advocates letting her hit rock bottom. And I've been in Al Anon almost 3 years now. Okay, easy for another person to say but it is painful to tolerate witnessing my daughter suffer so badly day in and day out. Since last weekend she has not left the house and has had only me, her pets and her computer games for company. That is a sad way to live. Melstev, thank you as always for your level, positive comment to keep supporting her however we can.

I am hopeful she gets to this facility and stays put and listens to what they have to say and does what she needs to do. I am thinking when she gets home I am going to spend the money on a service that provides meal support that Kali had mentioned in an earlier posting, because my daughter will oppose anything and everything I try to say or do so I will still not likely be able to support her eating.

She really needs a life but we all are so entrenched in this illness that none of us really has a joyful life at this time, so we are not good examples of the joy and happiness one can experience in recovery. 

Ugh, this has been a really ugly posting, so thank you for letting me vent. XO

Francie

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sk8r31
Sending you a big hug Francie, and as always, feel free to vent when you have a need.  Really hoping the residential facility you have located will be able to provide your d with the support and forward movement that she so desperately needs.
Easier said than done, but take the very best care of your physical and social and emotional needs as you can.  You and the rest of the family need and deserve a life worth living, and moments of joy, even as you travel this challenging road with your d.
You are in my thoughts, and I'm sending warmest support.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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tina72
Francie wrote:

What is wrong with me/her/our family that we have gotten to this point?? Maybe I need more boundaries? Tough love? An ultimatum? I am learning that there are different severity levels in this illness: 1. eating disorder, 2. Eating Disorder, and 3. EATING DISORDER!!, which is what we've got here.


Here boundaries and tough love and ultimatums and to dare to say NO to ED was the changing point.
Up to now no relapse in year 3.

Francie wrote:
Al Anon advocates letting her hit rock bottom. And I've been in Al Anon almost 3 years now.


I personally think to let someone hit rock bottom is not christian and not human. It is cruel. You would not let a cancer patient hit rock bottom. Just my personal meaning.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Francie
Tina, I hear you and I agree with you: letting someone hit rock bottom is all of the things you write. That is my problem with Al Anon and why I feel conflicted about it a lot of the time. Al Anon has given me tools to rein in my emotions, ideas about boundaries, and people to vent to face-to-face. And someplace to go.

Al Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other 12-step programs are valuable tools for all sorts of recovery. It can be life-saving to utilize the tools of a 12-step program. It is through Al Anon that I have first experienced how helpful and necessary exercising compassion and self-compassion is in my daughter's recovery (and mine).

Interestingly, I scheduled an hour long one-on-one counseling session with one of the seasoned therapists at my daughters last treatment facility. She is a member of IAEDP and is an instructor for other ED therapists in my state, and she has recovered from her own eating disorder. And she advocated I take the Al Anon perspective.

Francie

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melstevUK
Hi Francie,

Personally if d wants to go into a vegan facility and she is happy with the place she has chosen - I would support her in this.  It matters not at this stage if the veganism is ed related or not - what is needed is regular eating and weight gain and hopefully this unit will support her in that.  I would be phoning them beforehand to check that they will make weight gain a priority - I remember at the last place they were trying to stop the purging behaviours without pushing for weight gain, and this is never going to work if she still needs more weight.

Interestingly, psychiatrists at the highest level in the UK are now advocating for ed units to provide vegan diets - the vegan movement simply cannot be ignored and whether or not the illness relates to veganism, if IP/residential is required and the only way to get patients through that door is by providing a vegan diet, then we have to run with it.  I supported a young girl who is recovering from an and who is doing very well on a vegan diet - she simply will not compromise her ideals which support non-exploitation of animals, and is finding a lot of vegan fast food high calorie equivalents now, such as vegan sausage rolls.

I would suggest getting d into the unit as a first step - would you really not allow her to come home if she discharged herself?  Don't threaten this unless you really are prepared to see it through.  Have a look at rented accommodation in that case, and identify where she could stay if she does discharge herself.  It may be a good turning point if you say that you will not take her back if she discharges herself.  Clearly she has scared herself that she could not work because of her illness - if suddenly she finds that you will not have her back at home, that may itself scare her again.

I hope you will take the opportunity to recharge your batteries, take some valuable 'me' time while she is away and leave others to manage her care and illness.  You have been at this too long not to deserve a break.

I do believe that bulimia can be way harder to put boundaries in place than just ensuring that eating alone takes place.  I don't know what I would have done if my own d had displayed purging behaviours, I think they are very hard to contain.  When my d was in hospital, the staff could not totally prevent patients from purging, however hard they tried.  My d said that they used to find cups of vomit behind sofas.  Specialist staff have also said that excessive exercise is incredibly difficult to contain and prevent as well, even in a specialist setting.  So it is no wonder that families struggle so desperately.  A nurse once said that getting patients to eat was the easy part of the job.

I hope that d will take this opportunity to battle with her illness while having 24 hour support.  Fingers crossed.  Hugs.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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