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.

Rubybegonia74
My sixteen-year-old daughter has disordered eating. We've been extremely fortunate in that it was caught very early and did not progress into full-blown anorexia. With that, she only lost about 3 lb, so we did not have to go through the refeeding stage. We have been using the maudsley method under the guidance of an eating disorder nutritionist, her PCP, and a counselor. She has made great progress with eating, and we still sit with her while she eats, and she will also eat freely on her own.
It will be a year in October since we discovered her eating disorder. We have been in the maintenance stage for several months. Unfortunately, in the last week we have found ourselves in the beginning of a potential relapse. With the start of the school year, comes the triggers. She has very poor body image and very low self-esteem. She constantly compares herself to all the other girls at school. She is a perfectionist and an overachiever, so she puts unrealistic pressure on herself. We've always told her to do her very best and that's all she can do, yet she continues to agonize over grades. All of this she is currently working on with a therapist. This is the first time we have experienced a relapse and we are terrified. I have sent a message to her therapist letting her know what is happening, and I guess that we start back at square one with sitting with her at every single meal including snacks and also monitoring her food intake and weight. Other than that, any suggestions or support that anyone can give is greatly appreciated.
Quote
scaredmom
Hi there, 
It is very common for blips when there are big life changes, even a new school year. What exactly is happening? I just wish to understand the situation you are in currently. Is she not eating? Many of our kids, are exactly the same when it comes to perfectionistic and overachieving. I do think resetting and going back to feeding and helping her through meals is a good strategy. Taking over with the meals, also give her less worry over that as well as the anxiety.
I know for my d when there are tests or a new school etc. we have to step up supervision and feeding for a while that seems to help our d.
The poor body image is common and there may be peer pressure too.
If you could give some more information, it would help us understand.
 
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
Rubybegonia74
Thank you so much for the reply. She is terrible about comparing herself to other girls, whether it be their body, popularity, athleticism. She feels like she is less than everyone. We have tried to get her involved in activities ( she is unable to do athletics because of health issues), but her anxiety and depression is so bad she doesn't want to do anything. She told me that she feels like restricting again, that she doesn't deserve to eat. This is absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
The anxiety associated with perfectionism and poor body image can keep many with eating disorders trapped. Once full nutrition is happening all the time for some people those symptoms improve but for others they persist. Good CBT can be very helpful to deal with this, sometimes medication is helpful as well. Helping her to do very small activities and slowly building on these can be good. When my D was at her most ill I arranged a number of activities for her, took her to movies etc. usually without her request. You know the sort of things your well D would like to do if she was well. 
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.
Quote
scaredmom

Gotcha!
Yup this is part of it and can be normal too in teenage years. The girls and comparing/competing in anyway possible! So sorry it does add another wrinkle to the mix.
Is she on medication? Is the therapist helpful to her? My d did and still does require meds. 
The fact that she told you what is in her mind is very positive! Now you know what she needs. I found trying to reassure her that she was just as good as others did not work too well here. My d would say "well you are my mom so you HAVE to say that". 
They do turn their worries inward and with ED that is where is goes, at least that is what we found here. When stressed, she would hide food and then would get more upset. The way through is to keep feeding and sometimes more food. 
Does she have a proper ED diagnosis? You mentioned disordered eating and then ED? Just wish to ensure that the advice/support given is appropriate for YOUR situation.
And sometimes as she gets more exposure to the school and classes and other girls she may settle?  Does she have some good friends that she can hang out with more that have similar interests? That may help her find her niche. My d was so anxious starting high school this Sept and it is a brand new school for her without any of her old friends, I had a hard time keeping her off the ceiling in the last few weeks prior to the start of the new year. Now we are in the second week and she is getting her groove and has really settled, but I am still vigilant.
Do you think volunteering with the elderly or animal may help? that way she really can't compare herself like she does with the other kids. She may find a sense of purpose that goes beyond the body, popularity but it shows her who she is inside. Can you foster some passion she has? Photography? Art? music? Astronomy ( my personal favourite right now)? Pottery? knitting, crocheting? 

I wish we all had magic, then there would be no ED- Oh I wish!

Sending a hug!

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
sk8r31
Some really great ideas above to address the issues, and I second all of them!  Try a few things that you feel may work best, and then others as you can.  The volunteerism is something in particular that I feel is important to foster in our high-achieving, goal-oriented, perfection-seeking kids.  Helping others, is incredibly valuable for fostering self-worth, and the 'warm fuzzies' that come from seeing that your efforts are impacting someone or something (animals?) positively.  Try to encourage connecting via volunteerism in some capacity that might appeal to your kid.  The rewards are tangible, and so very beneficial not just for your d but for whichever organization or individual or cause she is most interested in.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Quote
Rubybegonia74

She is on medication, although it is not working. She just started seeing a psychiatrist for med management for her anxiety and depression. She was recently diagnosed with pots, and the psychiatrist and I agreed that we should not screw with her psych meds until the pots is under control, as it can cause symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as anxiety.
I completely understand trying to reassure her and hitting a brick wall! My daughter says the exact same thing yours does! My heart goes out to you!
She has been officially diagnosed with disordered eating by an eating disorder. specialist.
Unfortunately, she has very few friends. She was diagnosed with another rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome when she was in eighth grade, and her friends mysteriously disappeared then when she could no longer physically keep up with them. Nice. I am her main source of support, and it is really starting to take its toll on me. Her only other support was her boyfriend, and she just texted me this morning to tell me that they have broken up. Great!
I just recently took her down to volunteer at our local carousel project here in town. I also volunteer there, so I figured it would be a great way for her to feel like she was contributing in a positive and meaningful way. She's only been down there a couple times, we have been so busy with work and doctor's appointments time hasn't allowed any more than that. I can see now that I'm going to have to find time somewhere, I think that it is going to be a very important piece right now.
As for hobbies, she is extremely artistic. I've always tried to foster that interest in her, especially when she first started getting sick ( CRPS, HSD, Disordered Eating & POTS). All of this has really taken its toll on her both physically and mentally leaving her quite depressed. I know from having depression and anxiety myself how hard it is to make yourself want to do anything, even the things you love. She has little or no interest in much of anything so it is a struggle. It is so hard knowing that if I could just get her going on something that gave her a sense of purpose and worth, it would help facilitate the repair of her delicate self-esteem.

Quote
scaredmom
Rubybegonia, 
With her medical conditions that can be difficult to manage, you really are doing well to get her what she needs.
Just wondering if you have any pets? Just thinking about taking care of her own pet, how that may help. My older d has had some  issues, getting better all the time, and she now lives at university. Against my better judgment, about one year ago, she got herself a kitten.I thought she would not be able to take care of the cat, and go to school and have some social time.  Well I was wrong (don't tell her 😊) He has been a lovely friend for her. And he picked her when she went to the shelter for another cat. He kept following her.  When she is with us for the weekends, and she goes out, when she comes home he talks to her a lot. (he does not do that with the rest of the family) He is HER family and they are so bonded. It has really helped her. He brings her joy and it teaches her to think outside of herself. 
He is really her therapy pet! 
Many here have pets that have really helped our children. Just throwing that out there to consider, if you don't already have pet. 
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
Rubybegonia74
Thank you, I appreciate the vote of confidence right now because it feels like I'm sliding backwards at the moment.
We have two dogs, a cat, and two aquariums ( one of the aquariums is in her room). I agree with you wholeheartedly, pets really do help! The cat is definitely hers, and provides so much comfort for her.
Quote
scaredmom
Just thinking about you, Rubybegonia74. 
Hoping all is well on your end.😊
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
Rubybegonia74
I appreciate you thinking about me! Things are going fairly well on the eating front, but she is still pretty depressed at the moment. She has therapy weekly, and we are hoping to get her anxiety meds under control soon. One foot in front of the other!
Quote
scaredmom
I am glad she is eating well. I do hope that the meds help her depression.
All the best,
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

        

WTadmin