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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

Yellowsunflower
Hi,

This is my first post, my daughter has only just been diagnosed with AN, I can't believe the speed that it has taken hold. We are under a ED team and she is on a refeeding diet of 2500 cals a day. She is managing it but before and after it is a real struggle, with lots of distractions needed. 

The main thing I am struggling with at the moment is the total change in her personality, she has become so withdrawn/depressed and anxious about things that were never a concern before. Also has lost interest in everything

Is this normal? Will this get better? 

Thank you
Cat
Quote
ValentinaGermania
Hi cat, a very warm welcome from me from Germany and sorry that you have to be here.
AN is a brain disease and has a big impact on the brain so yes, the changes in personality and the depression you see is totally normal for a malnurished brain.
It is great that you have help already, is she at home and do you plate all meals? Is she already eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks and can we help you with anything?
It is great that you found us here, this forum was a lifesaver for us. How old is your d?
So, to answer your first questions, yes, that is normal and yes, that will get better with every kg she gains again and when her brain gets enough fat and sugar again (the brain runs on fat and sugar and that is normally restricted first).

To give you some hope, my then 17 year old d was nearly dying from AN 2 years ago. We refed her at home after 3 months IP and now she is 19 and at University and in good recovery. She is totally back to her former self and has some insight into the disease now and can eat all that she ate before AN moved in and is relaxed about food now. There is hope. AN is treatable and you have found the best place ever to learn how. Here are so nice parents from all over the world and we are here to help you and to give you some cheerleading if needed. We are open 24/7 and we know what you are talking about. You are not alone!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
kazi67
Hi cat 
welcome to the forum but sorry you had to find your way here
you will find lots of support and information here
there is always someone to answer your questions or to offer support so ask away
my d became depressed, withdrawn, lost interest in everything  and even expressed that she no longer wanted to live, didnt want to see her friends, isolated herself  -  it’s normal behaviour for ED
18 months later and she is in a much better place we still have a few up and down days (this past week has been a challenging one for us)
BUT she is much better than at this time last year 
and so will your d 
have hope!!! 

food IS the medicine 

lots of fat and sugar (no healthy food pyramid for our kids)
sounds like you are off to a good start 
keep going and yes distraction is exactly what you need we got my d a kitten and also after a while a pup and we have only just got another pup (to keep first one company) lol
but they all have helped our whole family so much (distracts and takes the focus/attention off d) and they make us all laugh, which is a good thing to be able to do when your going through this nightmare 
Hang in there 
x
Quote
ValentinaGermania
kazi67 wrote:

lots of fat and sugar (no healthy food pyramid for our kids)


I would dare to say turn the food pyramide around for our kids! Sweets, fatty food, and carbohydrates as a basis and only few fruit and vegetable at the top.
I love that picture, kazi67!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Ellesmum
Hi Cat, yes as the others have said this is horribly normal, you sound like you’re off to a great start and if you can get plenty of fats In you’ll see improvements quite quickly hopefully although complete recovery is a long journey.

my d spent weeks in a onesie crying on the sofa, withdrew from everything convinced that everyone hated her, she was suicidal and full of anxiety with many OCD traits. She’s doing much better now on around 3000 calories a day which I’m trying to increase a little, experience (which you’ll gain quickly) tells me she needs it. 

We have seen so many films, walked around so many shops and spent hours in coffee shops this past year trying to show life is good so yes try to distract, even small chores like pairing socks can help or cleaning jewellery, mindless things like that. 
Ellesmum
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. Yes it does unfortunately all sound very normal. There is hope and recovery but it takes time. We have to learn new skills, one of the hardest is seeing our children suffer and knowing that it is normal and part of recovery. 

You have done a great job getting started on that 2500 plan. If you can keep up that momentum your D has a good chance of rapid recovery. I would recommend reading widely - read the FEAST family guides if you haven't done so already. The best book out there at the moment is When you teen has an eating disorder

Please come back and ask questions as you need to. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Quote
Enn
Hi Cat, 
Welcome,

Refeeding is hard and the emotions that come with it are hard to bear at times. This is normal and part of the process. 
Let us know how we can help you. 
How old is your d? What are you and she struggling with? 

YES it does get better, it really does. It is just so hard to see right now when in the midst of the meal to meal life. 
We do wish to help. 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)
Quote
Elibean1
Welcome! I’m relatively new to this forum, it’s been a huge help - and just to add to what’s already been said, my 12 year old in October/November preferred staying glued to her corner of the sofa with an iPad to anything else. Yesterday she went for a (self-managed) picnic with a new school friend, tomorrow she’s going to a theme park with two others (who know about her ED). It really does get better with food, time and more food. 

Sending a hug and much stamina - so painful seeing them suffer, for what it’s worth we saw mental state improve hugely once we overshot WR (more than old growth curve). Xx
Elibean
Quote
Yellowsunflower
Thank you so much for all your replies, I haven't really used a forum before so don't know how to reply to each of you as I would like to ideally.

It's reassuring that the change in personality is normal, this is currently what I am struggling the most with. My D is trying her hardest to eat even though I know it is a huge struggle for her. She  has three meals a day and 3 snacks, it is a lot so I can see why she finds it so hard, but understand that this is the quickest way to have recovery.

She is at school and they are being brilliant and making sure that she eats, also updating me regularly to let me know that she has eaten. She is finding the school day hard but I am hoping it will be a distraction for her, as i know when she is at home, her head is spinning with thoughts of food, calories etc.

I can't believe how quickly this has taken hold, did others find this too? My daughter was eating a small breakfast and her dinner (her portions were getting smaller but she was telling us that she had eaten during the day) but was starving herself for 11 hours during the day (she has a long school day), the result of this has been so extreme with her being hospitalised as her heart rate had become so low.

Thank you again for all your replies, it is so good to know how well your children are doing now, this definitely gives me hope. Thank you so much.xx
Quote
ValentinaGermania
Cat wrote:
Thank you so much for all your replies, I haven't really used a forum before so don't know how to reply to each of you as I would like to ideally.


You can reply with quote if you click on the two ,, at the base of each post and then reply to everyone individually or you can just do it that way: Tina72: your idea is great 🙂

Cat wrote:
It's reassuring that the change in personality is normal, this is currently what I am struggling the most with. My D is trying her hardest to eat even though I know it is a huge struggle for her. She  has three meals a day and 3 snacks, it is a lot so I can see why she finds it so hard, but understand that this is the quickest way to have recovery.


Try to seperate your d from ED in your mind. Your d inside is still the same lovely girl and she is still there. All you see at the moment is ED. But with every meal you get into her a small glimps of your d will be seen again. It gets better. She will come back and she will forget most of what happens at the moment. The brain is a wonderful organ, it can recover completely.

Cat wrote:
She is at school and they are being brilliant and making sure that she eats, also updating me regularly to let me know that she has eaten. She is finding the school day hard but I am hoping it will be a distraction for her, as i know when she is at home, her head is spinning with thoughts of food, calories etc.


That is great. School helped a lot here too. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Keep her socialised if possible. Arrange play dates if needed (no joke - I needed to do that for my 17 year old d).

Cat wrote:
I can't believe how quickly this has taken hold, did others find this too? My daughter was eating a small breakfast and her dinner (her portions were getting smaller but she was telling us that she had eaten during the day) but was starving herself for 11 hours during the day (she has a long school day), the result of this has been so extreme with her being hospitalised as her heart rate had become so low.


Nobody of us got it that early as we have should I think. We all watched our kids get smaller and thinner for weeks and months. Someone here said "this was not in the baby books" and that is so true. I did know that AN exists but that was it. I had no idea what that looks like. I had no idea how tricky it is. I had no idea what to do when she said she has already eaten. It took us 9 months to realise what is happening here. Try not to look back, look forward. Today is day 1 of her recovery.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Elibean1
Sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job of supporting your girl, Cat...I’m glad school are supportive too, it makes such a difference. 

How old is is your daughter? 11 hours was a long time to go without food after a small breakfast, yes, but as I understand it those with ED-prone brains will be triggered by low nourishment way before those without. Please don’t think of blaming yourself! I’m sure most of us (my hand is up) did, but the research is clear: it’s a brain based illness.

All that matters now is keeping feeding up. She may have worse days and better days as her weight increases - we found some of the worst moods right around WR time, but once we pushed beyond and overshot old ‘norms’ they improved dramatically.

Tina has wise advice - distraction is great! 
Elibean
Quote
Mcmum
Hello from me too!
Everything you describe sounds text book anorexia . It certainly is frightening how quickly you go from feeling instinctively that something is not quite right to being diagnosed and seeing more of a hospital than you ever thought possible. 
My son too had a tiny breakfast and then unbeknown to us, skipped lunch and snack and became dangerously underweight in a matter of weeks .
This was this time last year.  He was diagnosed in the summer.  His mood was incredibly low. He had no interest in anything or anyone and told us he felt no love for us. He didn't want to wash and didn't make eye contact. 
Anyway with persistent feeding, he is healthy, happy ,fun and cheeky. Has me in hysterics most days.  
I still have to pinch myself about this whole thing and I'm sure that you too wonder what on earth has happened to your child and your life.
Have hope though.  Recovery is possible and the bleak days you are experiencing now are not forever. 
Wishing you lots of strength xx
Quote
Yellowsunflower
tina72 wrote:


You can reply with quote if you click on the two ,, at the base of each post and then reply to everyone individually or you can just do it that way: Tina72: your idea is great 🙂

tina72 wrote:


Try to seperate your d from ED in your mind. Your d inside is still the same lovely girl and she is still there. All you see at the moment is ED. But with every meal you get into her a small glimps of your d will be seen again. It gets better. She will come back and she will forget most of what happens at the moment. The brain is a wonderful organ, it can recover completely.

Thank you for your advice, certainly trying to separate the ED from D in my mind is a good idea. Certainly trying to get her socialising more as this is part of the problem of her ED, and I have been arranging the play dates too!

tina72 wrote:


That is great. School helped a lot here too. Distraction, distraction, distraction. Keep her socialised if possible. Arrange play dates if needed (no joke - I needed to do that for my 17 year old d).

tina72 wrote:


Nobody of us got it that early as we have should I think. We all watched our kids get smaller and thinner for weeks and months. Someone here said "this was not in the baby books" and that is so true. I did know that AN exists but that was it. I had no idea what that looks like. I had no idea how tricky it is. I had no idea what to do when she said she has already eaten. It took us 9 months to realise what is happening here. Try not to look back, look forward. Today is day 1 of her recovery.
Quote
Yellowsunflower
scaredmom wrote:
Hi Cat, 
Welcome,

Refeeding is hard and the emotions that come with it are hard to bear at times. This is normal and part of the process. 
Let us know how we can help you. 
How old is your d? What are you and she struggling with? 

YES it does get better, it really does. It is just so hard to see right now when in the midst of the meal to meal life. 
We do wish to help. Ask all the questions you have.


Hi,

My d is 15, I am struggling mainly with her change in personality, she is being good and eating what she needs to as part of the refeeding diet, I know this is a huge step for her so am really proud of her. 

Yesterday she came home from school and seemed like her old self, but this morning we had tears, so hard to deal with as she is just leaving for school, but hoping the distraction of school will help her. It is very difficult to know what to say to her.

I glad to hear it gets better and I am sure it will but it is all consuming at the moment. Did you work as well during this time? Did you receive any counselling yourself?

Thanks you
Quote
Yellowsunflower
Elibean1 wrote:
Sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job of supporting your girl, Cat...I’m glad school are supportive too, it makes such a difference. 

How old is is your daughter? 11 hours was a long time to go without food after a small breakfast, yes, but as I understand it those with ED-prone brains will be triggered by low nourishment way before those without. Please don’t think of blaming yourself! I’m sure most of us (my hand is up) did, but the research is clear: it’s a brain based illness.

All that matters now is keeping feeding up. She may have worse days and better days as her weight increases - we found some of the worst moods right around WR time, but once we pushed beyond and overshot old ‘norms’ they improved dramatically.

Tina has wise advice - distraction is great! 


Hi,

Thank you for your message, and kind words. Do you mind me asking what WR stands for? My d's weight is increasing, which she isn't happy about but hopefully when we get to the right weight it will be easier for her to be able to deal with this illness.

Yes distraction is good, we have watched many episodes of Miranda, trying now to find some funny films, any suggestions are welcome!
Quote
Yellowsunflower
Mcmum wrote:
Hello from me too!
Everything you describe sounds text book anorexia . It certainly is frightening how quickly you go from feeling instinctively that something is not quite right to being diagnosed and seeing more of a hospital than you ever thought possible. 
My son too had a tiny breakfast and then unbeknown to us, skipped lunch and snack and became dangerously underweight in a matter of weeks .
This was this time last year.  He was diagnosed in the summer.  His mood was incredibly low. He had no interest in anything or anyone and told us he felt no love for us. He didn't want to wash and didn't make eye contact. 
Anyway with persistent feeding, he is healthy, happy ,fun and cheeky. Has me in hysterics most days.  
I still have to pinch myself about this whole thing and I'm sure that you too wonder what on earth has happened to your child and your life.
Have hope though.  Recovery is possible and the bleak days you are experiencing now are not forever. 
Wishing you lots of strength xx


Hi

Thank you for your post, great to hear how well your son is doing now, I am looking forward to that day very much!

Yes it just happened so quickly, quite unbelievable how all our lives have changed over the last 6 weeks!

xx
Quote
Mcmum
Hey! 
In answer to your questions :
I carried on working but am a teacher so had the six week summer holiday to get a good start on refeeding.  Our managers were really good and we were allowed to leave early and attend all hospital and camhs appointments. I know for many the logistics of working just don't work but it wasn't an option for us and my son's school were very supportive. You'll know what is right for you. 
A little bit of counselling /meditation here which helped but also medication.  Some friends were a great support as were work colleagues but mostly family didn't get it at all and that was hard. Don't get too bogged down with those who will never get it!! Life is too short! 
Neighbours have been great as we had to tell them because of the noise!! I think it's Ronson who has great experience here. 

I'd say take whatever support you can get, keep leaning on this forum - worth its weight in gold - and look after yourself.  As someone else said, if you can get someone else to supervise a meal or just be with you , lean on them. Do an online shop once you work out which foods work for your child, over do the TV and ignore the housework! ! 
This is survival so do whatever you need to.  There are good threads on here about self care. A bath , a potter around the garden, a mindless thriller.  You are really doing much better than you probably think you are xx
Quote
ValentinaGermania
WR stands for weight restoration. That means to get them back to good weight for their body. Depending on age this is a moving target until their mid 20s.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Elibean1
Yes, sorry, as Tina says - WR is weight restoration. Although I always have imaginary inverted commas around it, because under mid 20s it’s not really ‘restoration’!

My girl was nearly always slightly under her ideal weight , in all likelihood, because of ARFID (she was born with a floppy larynx and fell off her weight curve as soon as she started weaning onto solid food as a baby).

so for her, ‘WR’ actually means getting up to the growth curve she dropped off at 6 months old - whereas Camhs would have been happy with her pre ED weight. If that makes any sense at all!
Elibean
Quote
Enn
I did work. I needed a place to feel normal and looking back I should have allowed myself to work a bit less. I am self employed and so I could have taken all the time off.
yes I did and sometimes still get counseling and I am a proponent of meds used properly.
At the time of refeeding I could not think or do anything for myself to be honest and even now, knowing what I know, I am not sure at that time and frame of mind I was able to do anything but ED. We talk about separating ED from our kids, how do we separate ED from us? That is my big question now. Sorry don’t mean to get philosophical but that is where my head space is now. Some people are more able to separate and compartmentalize and take time off ED and I wish I knew how. We are all different and we all find our way. The forum members can tell you what worked or more importantly what did not work for them. Then you can see what works for you and your situation. 
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)
Quote
US_Mom
Cat wrote:


Yes distraction is good, we have watched many episodes of Miranda, trying now to find some funny films, any suggestions are welcome!


We binge watched 3rd Rock from the Sun. Finally heard my daughter laugh for the first in months!
Quote

        

WTadmin