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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peony
I think xmas is such a terribly hard time of year for families dealing with a ED and all the anxiety and depression that usually goes hand in hand with it.

Three years ago we had just hit WR in December and things were at their very worst.  There were still a lot of fear foods, social anxiety around eating with others, my D was isolating herself in her room and only coming downstairs when " required " to eat.  I wanted to abandon xmas completely but couldn't due to two older siblings coming home, parents arriving for the day........etc, etc.  Somehow we survived but I can honestly say I have no recollection of how we got through it and I can file it away with yet another occasion ruined by ED.

Two years ago D was an in-patient with suicidal ideation and major depression.  Her body dysmorphia was so bad she slept in a hoody and tracksuit trousers so nursing staff would not see her body at night.  It was the worst case of body dysmorphia they had ever seen apparently and told us she would never recover fully. She had been WR a year at this point and it was a very low point for us all.

One year ago things were definately going in the right direction. There was a major change in D's thinking and she began to have the insight to realise she needed to make some major changes if she was to recover.  She started to really work with others rather than just " do what she was told to do ".  I think she began to realise it was up to her to fit the final pieces of the jigsaw together.  She had been WR two years at this point.  It was a much better xmas, almost normal but far too early to completely relax.

And here we are today.  I rarely think about ED these days.  The ED is in the past. My D now wears jeans and short dresses, she no longer has crippling body dysmorphia.  She DID recover.  I am planning xmas as I did before ED entered our lives.  Did I ever think this was possible?  No, No, No.  I felt my D was so ill she would be one of those who never recover.  These stories of hope were for other people, not for our family.  It has changed us enormously as a family, we are more compassionate and our values have changed enormously.  What seemed important once seems irrelevant now.  We are closer and my two older children are much nicer, mature people due to what the family has been through and what they have witnessed.  My beautiful, lovely ED D is not leading the life she would have before ED but that is OK too.  She is accepting of this because she is well and realistic of what she can cope with and what is too anxiety provoking.  No one meeting her today would ever guess she was once so ill.  She is the sweetest, kindest, mature young lady but also gutsy and brave.  She has learnt to be assertive appropriately.  I am very proud of all she has achieved.

Thank-you for indulging me on a roller coaster of a ride down memory lane today.  I wish you all a very Merry Xmas and offer you real hope for those struggling that even when things seem really bleak things can and do get better.  Hang in there, every one of you is doing a fantastic job, and however daunting and horrible this Xmas it won't always be like this. Warmest Xmas wishes to you all. xxxxxx
Peony
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louise4nz
Thank you so much for sharing, as in NZ we are hours away from the start of Christmas day I wonder how we will get through it. We have to see family and try and celebrate we can't have a complete ED Christmas, there are siblings. What will she eat, how will she cope do I let it go for a day and concentrate on the others. I think I am going to let her serve herself, boxing day can be when we start again. We need this she needs this. Merry Christmas to all of you who are fighting hard xx
Louise

D 20years had AN since April 2014, FBT discharged June 2015, Relapsed Oct 2015, multiple hospitalisations, self discharged from care Oct 2016, she has recovered 😃
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schnook
Merry Christmas, all.

It's just gone 12am here in sunny Australia. We'll be focusing on keeping adequately hydrated on Christmas Day, and like Louise will probably just start over with food on the 26th.
Working hard at meal support and WR for an anxious and food avoidant 6yo
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Everhopeful_12
Thank you for sharing that Peony. It brought tears to my eyes, as I sit here with our D still in bed at 1pm, as she does not want to face any day, with the weight she has put on. She won't go out..she doesn't like coming downstairs where she is near food and likely to binge, her brother has refused to talk to her for a year. I am sitting alone with the Christmas tree, wondering how we will get through. At least we don't have family coming, and we won't be going anywhere either, as I have told family and friends that we cannot manage the stress, so it is easier for everyone if we stay hone alone
It was so good to read that your D has come through all this, and that your family is repairing.
Tracey Golden
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Calm_USA
Peony, I'm joining you on your trip down memory lane.  For all of you struggling, I too can tell you it really does get better.  Two years ago our d was barely alive at Christmas.  A year ago, while weight restored, ED still twisted her thoughts.  This year ED is nothing more than the ghost of Christmas past.  She just returned home after completing her 1st semester at a university far from home.  She is glowing, healthy and happy, laughing, enjoying catching up with friends and eating freely.  Life really is good.  Be good to yourself these next few days.  Cherish the knowledge that your child is alive and though the struggle is HARD, recovery really does happen.  Don't strive for perfection.  Perfection is an illusion.  Rejoice in the small wonders....the lights on the tree, the stars in the sky, the beating of your heart, the taste of that glass of wine.  Believe.  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and peace and prosperity in the New Year.
Mom of a 19 yr old. RAN diagnosed 1/2014. Residential, PHP, IOP. W/R since late summer 2014. Now in remission and thriving in her second year at university. My Faith remains.
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hbeatsaUSA
I'm also walking down memory lane with all of you. Like Calm's d, my d recently returned from her first semester at college far, far away. She has been talking about all of her experiences almost non- stop since she got off the plane. We spent many- a- Christmas in IP, and the ones spent at home were poisoned by anorexic thoughts and behaviors. Now, we all just returned from church and my d started baking us a chocolate cake. She was licking the icing spoon when I commented how lovely it is to see her so happy and healthy and eating freely. She told me it was "crazy" to think she spent so many holidays "stuck in the hospital" when she could have been eating chocolate cake and loving life. I cried and just hugged her.

I wish I could properly explain how strongly I doubted we would ever get to this point. We had a funeral planned. You would never tell by looking or talking to her now. Our life is completely different now. This really DOES get better. It's possible to help your child recover fully. Feed them, love them, hold them close. 

To all of you struggling, know that next Christmas has the potential to be MUCH different and better. I agree. Rejoice in the small things. I love looking at the sparkle in my daughter's eye and the curls in my son's hair. Little things. 

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Keep fighting this monster. 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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Torie
Thank you for the lovely post, Peony.  On about Dec 20th two years ago, I had just found out - to my shock - that my d was suicidally depressed, cutting, fasting, and anorexic.  What a way to spend the holidays.

So glad to have all my friends here to wish a merry - or adequate, or at least better than expected - Christmas, or whatever holiday you may be trying to navigate.

Yikes, what ED puts us through.

xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Elena
Thanks. i hope that is our story in a few years' time. 
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Kali
Thank you for posting these stories. It creates a feeling that there is hope.
Last Christmas we did not know there was even a problem and D. was busy with her college applications.
This Christmas D. is in residential. She has been angry at me because I have been the "food police" but she phoned me yesterday and we spoke for a little while.
I spent part of the day crying and did not go anywhere.
The mood in our house is very low here without D. since she is such an important person in our family and we all miss her.


Kali


Food=Love
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K63
Hi peony, this is a great story and gives me hope which is all we have to keep us going on this journey. Well done to ye . Hope you are doing ok as a family as it takes such a toll on everyone . Thanks for sharing .
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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Hebrides
Dear Peony, 

Thank you so much for your encouragement to all of us on here struggling through with our loved ones' ED/depression/anxiety/suicidal ideation etc etc uppermost in our thoughts - it is so good for us to be reminded of stories like yours at times like this. It is so easy to forget that full recovery IS possible when we are in the thick of it.

Thank you for giving us renewed hope.

xx
Mum to 17 year old daughter with AN,1 year IP from Feb 2015, discharged Feb 2016, WR but mentally nowhere near where she needs to be. Remained stable but rapid weight loss again leading to admission to specialist ED unit Sept 2016. Back round the circle...
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ooKoo
A year ago we were in a very bad place....but at the time we had no idea how bad it was going to get.....this year, my D is better and just before Christmas dinner, my d said "I need to have double the amount of dinner today, to make up for last year"...I think that is good, but who knows??

Your D sounds amazing, and you have every reason to be proud!
UK - South East

19 yo D

Dx AN Feb 2015 (Aged 15). Pre-existing low self-esteen and high anxiety. 

2015: 3 x medical hospital admissions. 1 month in IP which she self discharged from [eek].
2016: 3 x hospital admissions. 
2017: CAMHS CBT. WR, dropped out of 2 different colleges and started an apprenticeship.  Started having grand mal seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy in Nov 2017. Sacked from job because of this.  Tribunal ensued.
2018 - doing a Psychology degree through Open University and working in retail to pay her way in life. Relapses with eating disorder in June 18 and Nov 18 😢. 

On particularly rough days when I am sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. [Author Unknown]
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