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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tp7
Hello, 

I'm new here. About a month ago we were celebrating my husband's first year of being cancer free since his diagnosis in 2016.  On that same day, however, our 13 year-old daughter got a concussion while skiing and this set in motion a chain of events which ultimately led to an AN diagnosis. While getting weighed at the doctor for the concussion I realized that her weight had dropped pretty dramatically.  This led to further doctor visits and ultimately an urgent admission into intensive inpatient therapy.  Words cannot describe how incredibly difficult the last three weeks have been for us.  We're just starting our recovery journey and we feel way out of our depth. 

Right now my daughter is not at all accepting of the possibility that she might have a problem despite a dangerously low BMI.  She's just incredibly angry at us for putting her in intensive inpatient treatment or any type of treatment for that matter.  Every meal is a complete struggle and despite our best continued support, right now there's nothing but lots of anger coming back our way.  

We've been through a lot as a family over the last few years, my husband's aggressive cancer was very difficult for all of us and the children have lived under the worry of losing their dad for the last two years.  Getting a clear diagnosis a few weeks ago felt like a huge relief and we hoped to be able to get a break from constant health worries, but instead we're finding ourselves dealing with an ED and not knowing even how to begin to process it all.  I guess we're looking for hope and support through this forum and also in time to be able to provide those things for others as well.
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sk8r31
A warm welcome to you tp7, though sorry you have a need to be here.  Gosh, it sounds like it's been a whirlwind this past month or so, in addition to the very difficult family challenges that you have endured over the past few years.  Sending you a huge virtual hug!

The silver lining, and I believe there is one even in the worst of times, is that your dear d is getting treatment that she so desperately needs, and you and hubby can take this time while she is in intensive inpatient treatment to catch your breath, and to gain as much knowledge about ED and good evidence-based treatment as you can.  And of course, reaching out for peer support, which is also empowering and nurturing.

It is 'textbook' that your d does not realize how ill she is, nor that she needs treatment.  It's called agnosognosia.   Please read around the FEAST main site, the Family Guide series is a good place to start.  The newly-released When Your Teen Has an Eating Disorder by Lauren Muhlheim is excellent.  It's a practical guide on how to move forward, and the book I wish I'd had when we were beginning our ED journey.  In fact, FEAST is hosting a virtual book club talk with the author on Feb. 21st, if you are available.

Sending you warm support.  Please ask any questions you have; this is a wonderful community.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Lildil
Welcome t27,
So , so sorry you are having all of these trials in your life, ED is not our only trial either, in fact one of our other trials very easily could have been the trauma that started our s down this road. I will say this, I am becoming a better person through it all, we are all changing for the better, my son is very angry also, I just keep telling my self that it's not him Its ED and at our house he is the one that must not be spoken of, it makes my son feel dirty or filthy when I call the thing that is taking over his life ED, so I just say Anorexia.
They will be a broken record you will also sound like a broken record, its part of it. How old is she?
 Sending lots of hugs
And prayers your way
Lildil / Kansas, USA
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Mcmum
Just wanted to say hi too. So sorry that life has been so tough for you but ed can definitely be beaten.  
Please do post on here and read around while your d is in treatment. 
My son was diagnosed in August and is in an infinitely better place now.  We read Eva Musby and others but learned most here. Everyone understands and is very supportive. 
You're not alone xx
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edengirl
Our daughter is also 13 so I can relate.  We also had lived under a cloud of family anxiety for about 8 months prior to our d officially being diagnosed.  In hindsight, although our d looked like she was coping ok with the stress of our lives during the prior months it was obviously taking a huge toll on her that we didn't recognize.  By the time the cloud lifted with the rest of the family, she was firmly in ED's clutches. 

I am so glad you found this forum.  It has been a lifesaver for us.  Read all you can here.  My advice is never say, "well that doesn't apply to our situation."  I read so much early on- especially about hiding food and exercise- and though well our d is not that bad, she would never do that...etc, etc.  Forget what you know about your child and her personality.  She will return but early own she has zero control.  You really do have to start separating the illness from your child and be ready to do battle with this enemy.  I so hoped our story would be different and I could believe what she said.  I wanted to believe her when she said she wasn't sick and I was overreacting.  Save yourself some precious time and energy (especially after what you all have already been through) and hit this monster with everything you have.  The faster she gets weight restored the faster she comes back to you.  We are just now getting to the point with our d that she can say things like, "when I was so sick......"  As we get farther and farther away from this monster she is able to begin wrapping her mind around how bad she was.  No doubt your sweet girl will do the same when she is better.

Praying for your strength and endurance.  You can do this!
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FaithKeepsMeGoing
Dear tp7,

I'm so sorry that you must now struggle with your daughter's anorexia when you should be celebrating your husband's recovery.  But please do celebrate that - it's a huge blessing and I'm so happy to hear that he's in remission.  My husband was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago, and he was in remission for 10 years by the time that my daughter developed anorexia.  However, she got sick 2 years after my father-in-law died following a long illness and within months of my oldest daughter being diagnosed with OCD - which worsened and became debilitating at the same time we were fighting ed.  It was a very difficult time, and I can sympathize completely with your need for a break from health worries, which you're just not getting.  You have hard work ahead of you, but you'll find incredible support here on the ATDT forum.  This was my lifeline when my daughter got sick nearly 10 years ago, and I don't think I could have helped her to get better without it.  Take some time to take care of yourselves and just breathe while your daughter is inpatient.  Get your rest now, and remember that you're not alone.

And by the way, my daughter was in complete denial about her illness, and she was angry about everything.  It was very hard to deal with, because she had always been my sweet happy kid.  As others have mentioned, you have to remind yourself that this is the illness talking.  The wiring in her brain is crossed right now, and that will continue for a while as her body (and brain) are being renourished.  It won't last forever - just keep telling yourself that "this too shall pass."  Today my daughter is in her early twenties, healthy in mind and body, and deciding what she wants to do with her life.  (And my husband continues to do very well, also!)  With the support of you and your husband, your lovely daughter will get there too.

Blessings.

The Irish tell the story of a man who arrives at the gates of Heaven and asks to be let in.  St. Peter says, “Of course. Show us your scars.”  But the man replies, “I have no scars.”   St. Peter shakes his head and says, “What a pity. Was there nothing worth fighting for?”

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scaredmom
Hi tp7,
I too welcome you to the club that no one would ever want to join. And it was the best club for me to belong to when D was diagnosed with ED. Through the forum, I did get the support and information I needed to parent a child with ED. I do hope that you too get the support that you need. We all really wish to help.

You have had a lot on your plate. I am so pleased to hear that your H is doing well!! Please keep that in your mind that you got through that and yes although this is tough, and you need a break, this too can be treated. 

Yes she may be angry, this is ED. She is in hospital and she is safe and getting the care she needs. That is a positive. 
I found personifying ED as someone separate from D, helped me. 
I had to change parenting styles and that is hard. What may have worked for D in the past may not work now.
I have a few questions for you:

1) where are you? Others that live near you or in the same country can give you information on the supports available to you and your D. 
2) Are you taking time for self care for you now? Please take time away from ED. Do something  that nurtures your soul. You will need to get the home ready for when she comes home.
Some have used that time to read (sk8r31's recommendations are great!) and to cook high calories meals etc and freeze them so when she is home you have a slightly lighter work load.
3) Are there other children and do you have family to help you? they can be invited to help with meal support, chores, cooking etc "babysitting" when you need a break. Take advantage of their help. 

I can give you hope. My D is doing great! I think most of us can tell you this is the most terrifying part, the beginning. First learning what ED is and what WE need to do as parents was a real eyeopener. I can tell you the fight is worth it. I can tell you it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I can tell you life may change and it is still positive. I can tell you that your D  may hate you now and she will come back in time. I know life seems to pouring some heavy stuff on you at this time. I am sorry. 

I want to acknowledge the challenging journey you have been on with your H. I hope you take many moments to step back and see where you are all right now and that he is safe and well! That is a blessing! 

Please ask all the questions you have. I can see everyone wanting to help you by the responses you have already received.
This is a safe place, and comforting place. We know what is going on, we really do- we really, truly get it as we have lived/are living it. 
XXX
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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SupermanR
Stay strong and calm.  ED behaviour you describe is totally typical.  Much hopefully all of the difficult behaviour will go 6 months from weight restoration.  You are doing so the right thing, the key is to challenge it early.  It is acute, but that is far better than chronic and treatment will stop it being habitual.  I agree Eva Musby is core text.  You will feel despair but it WILL GET BETTER and we’ve been where you are now. My wife and I so grateful for inpatient.  Our D spent 2 weeks in hospital and then was moved to a Physc ward which specialises in ED amongst other problems.  Felt scary but over time it worked.  We changed our home life to make meal plan core.  It felt hard then but now feels normal and great for our younger D too as is how people lived in 1950s with time to chat as well as nourish over the meals.  It strained work but made me realise priorities and I’m just as successful now working more flexibly, around meals, than before.  When your D leaves IP timing is key.  Don’t rush it.  You need her sufficiently nourished for home life to succeed.  God bless you, as I say read Musby and in 2 years time you’ll all be in a better place.  It is worth it!  Your H’s cancer scare means you have the skill set.  ED is equally dangerous yet more curable so take care of yourself, be confident and honestly it will all pay off in the long run.  
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tp7
Thank you all for your wonderful advice and support!  I find all of your perspectives extremely helpful and I will also purchase the books mentioned above.

scaredmom, to answer your questions I'm in the U.S.  I will look for local available resources, thanks for mentioning it.  Several people have told us to make some time for ourselves right now, and I must confess that I have not done much of that.  I've barely slept and I'm a bit of a zombie myself right now.  I need to get better about that.  As far as other children go, I have a younger 9 year-old son who is wondering what on earth is going on.  Poor little guy, we can tell that he's stressed despite our best attempts to protect him.

Right now my daughter is full of anger.  When I'm present at the ED clinic I watch her closely when we share meals and she absolutely hates it. I really hate turning every meal time into a power struggle and having to watch her so closely, but we tried it other ways and that certainly didn't work.  Before being admitted, she used any bit of freedom that she was given to not eat.  All I've been doing is enforcing the rules at the ED clinic.  She has been saying things like "I hate you", "Go away, I never want to see you again", "You stupid idiot", etc.  Just to give you some background, she has never spoken to me like that before and it's not the sort of thing that we would usually tolerate.  It feels like I'm her human punching bag and while I know that I should not have to tolerate disrespectful behavior, I feel like I really need to be present during meals at the hospital because that's precisely what she doesn't want me there for.  But every moment is so delicate, things can go south so easily.  Today we were having a good day, but then dinner time came and she started finding fault with everything on her plate.  Then I caught her trying to hide food in her napkin and putting it in her pocket, so I called her out on it.  She begged me not to tell the nurses, which if course I had to do.  I tried to reassure her that it didn't take away from any of her other successes, but that it needed to be discussed with the staff.  This of course didn't reassure her one bit and she broke down. However it was quickly replaced by anger and she told me that she wanted me gone, that she hated me, etc.  
My husband was planning on spending the night at the hospital, but in a show of support he told her that if she was going to be so disrespectful towards me then he was going to have to leave as well.  And so we left her. 

I'm pretty exhausted and emotionally spent....I know that I will somehow find the strength to be who my daughter needs me to be but right now it doesn't feel like I have a ton left to give.
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Mcmum
Morning from the UK.  Just to reassure you that the anger ,the mean words and the hatred are 100% ed, painfully normal and absolutely not your daughter. 
She is in there and will come back .
Most of us have lived temporarily with a monster that bears no resemblance to our child but with food they come back. 
Everyone has their own way through this but
1. We separated the illness from the child and during mealtimes, I uttered the words "I know this is hard for you, but it has to be eaten." "Well I have enough love for the both of us right now " "take another bite"
We sat either side of our son for meals and wouldn't tolerate hitting or kicking but essentially detached ourselves mentally from the rest of it as best we could. 
2. We told our other daughter what was going on but she mostly ate and left the table so escaped most of the horror.  We tried to do nice things separately with her.
3. I baked and cooked a lot of high fat meals and snacks and froze them so my son could stay out of the kitchen 
4. I took anti depressants to help. I'might not that tough! 

However you get through this just keep focused on the fact that it's not your daughter hating and hiding and refusing.  She needs you to be strong in the face of an illness she's being held hostage by. You and your family definitely have the wherewithal to motor through this. Wishing you strength and love x
Sure someone will reply to your other post BTW.  Lots of experience on this site xx
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tina72
tp7 wrote:
Several people have told us to make some time for ourselves right now, and I must confess that I have not done much of that.  I've barely slept and I'm a bit of a zombie myself right now.  I need to get better about that.  As far as other children go, I have a younger 9 year-old son who is wondering what on earth is going on.  Poor little guy, we can tell that he's stressed despite our best attempts to protect him.


Force yourself to do some relaxing and to sleep and do something nice with that little boy now. You will need a lot of power when she is back and you cannot do that when you have carer burnout. That is really important. Go to sleep early (take some meds if needed) and have a nap if possible and go to see a friend for a coffee. Go to the dentist and to the hairdresser because you might not have the time to do that for months.

tp7 wrote:
Right now my daughter is full of anger.  When I'm present at the ED clinic I watch her closely when we share meals and she absolutely hates it. I really hate turning every meal time into a power struggle and having to watch her so closely, but we tried it other ways and that certainly didn't work.  Before being admitted, she used any bit of freedom that she was given to not eat.  All I've been doing is enforcing the rules at the ED clinic. 


You NEED to do that. With freedom you cannot tackle ED. You are doing exactly the right thing. She does not need to like it. See it like she has cancer. You would do everything needed to get those chemo meds in although she would not like it. Same with food now.

tp7 wrote:
She has been saying things like "I hate you", "Go away, I never want to see you again", "You stupid idiot", etc.  Just to give you some background, she has never spoken to me like that before and it's not the sort of thing that we would usually tolerate.  It feels like I'm her human punching bag and while I know that I should not have to tolerate disrespectful behavior, I feel like I really need to be present during meals at the hospital because that's precisely what she doesn't want me there for. 


They say and do such awful things. They behave like they never did before. Nice, charming kids turn into hells sister. That is normal. BUT: it is not your d who says that and behaves like that. It is ED. She will tell you later that she loved you all the time and that it was ED that made her say such things. Try to stand it and do not take it personally.
You can set rules for that behaviour although she is sick. No violence. No really bad words. I did tell my d that we do not talk to each other with those words and she had to take consequences for that. You do not need to stand everything.

tp7 wrote:
But every moment is so delicate, things can go south so easily.  Today we were having a good day, but then dinner time came and she started finding fault with everything on her plate.  Then I caught her trying to hide food in her napkin and putting it in her pocket, so I called her out on it.  She begged me not to tell the nurses, which if course I had to do.  I tried to reassure her that it didn't take away from any of her other successes, but that it needed to be discussed with the staff.  This of course didn't reassure her one bit and she broke down. However it was quickly replaced by anger and she told me that she wanted me gone, that she hated me, etc.  
My husband was planning on spending the night at the hospital, but in a show of support he told her that if she was going to be so disrespectful towards me then he was going to have to leave as well.  And so we left her. 
I'm pretty exhausted and emotionally spent....I know that I will somehow find the strength to be who my daughter needs me to be but right now it doesn't feel like I have a ton left to give.


You did right to tell that to the staff. They cannot help her without knowing. To be honest I am pretty surprised that they have napkins there because that is a really old ED trick...
Try to blame the illness for all that. Tell her that you love her and that you support her with everything not ED related but that you will not support ED. Send her nice messanges and bring her little gifts to show her that you love her. My d did not even touch them in IP and I realy thought she deleted all my messanges without reading but when she came home I saw that she collected every tiny bit that we send her. Like a treasure.

I can imagine how you feel, we all have been there. The important message you get here is that it will have and end. It is not tomorrow and not next week but you will get her back if you keep doing what you are doing. It is really important to stay firm and to fight ED out of the house but if you do that you will get that nice charming girl back and that is worth it totally.
We are 2 years in recovery now. My d went IP 2 years ago at age 17. They told us she will never get better and she needs to live in a psychiatric ward for the rest of her life (here in Germany nobody has heard anything of FBT). We took her home after 3 months without any progress and started refeeding and FBT. She went back to school. 3 months later she did her driving licence. 6 months later she wrote her A levels with great success. She is WR for more than 18 months now and at University and doing really well. No fear food any more. She is a happy young woman now and we have a very good relationship and she is so grateful today about what we did to save her life.
All you need is some hope. Read the gold star moments thread. Read Ellesmums thread (Can´t do this today). You will get there.
The only secret is to get that food in.

Come here to ask and to vent as much as you need and get yourself and hubby prepared for her coming home. Get prepared to fight WW3 and have army rules in your home. You need to fight that disease very hard but once you fought that through the rules are accepted and she gets better week by week.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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scaredmom

tp7 wrote:
Several people have told us to make some time for ourselves right now, and I must confess that I have not done much of that.  I've barely slept and I'm a bit of a zombie myself right now.  I need to get better about that.  As far as other children go, I have a younger 9 year-old son who is wondering what on earth is going on.  Poor little guy, we can tell that he's stressed despite our best attempts to protect him.


I understand the zombie part. I could not do anything but ED. I cooked, I ate, I cooked some more. I could not sleep. I could not enjoy anything without ED in my head. I really don't think I knew what to do for myself to keep myself calm. I was an "ED focussed machine". I was not ready until later when things settled with D, to take care of myself more. And still it was not much.  A book, a shopping day, or a nap, that was all really. When you are ready, you will be ready. It will come. Just breathe through it. 

As for your son, if you have not done so already, please sit down with him and discuss that sister is ill and that she will get better and that you are helping her right now. Acknowledge that it may be scary for him and that you are there to help him too. Whatever he needs you are there 100%. Kids truly know what is happening in the home. It is more frightening to imagine what is going on, the truth may alleviate some of his fear.

Her anger is expected and try to see the positives in that. ED is mad at you for finding him and tackling him. Yes many of us here were our kids' punching bags, literally and figuratively. I know it is so painful, and sad. It does get better. I hope it helps to know that you need this to happen to get to the other side. Like surgery, the surgeon has to make the cut to heal you. The cut is the most painful part to heal and it does heal- it just takes time. 

You called the nurses that she hid the food!! That is wonderful. I know it was hard, but it was great!. When she gets home she will know, or rather, ED will know that you will call out the hiding and it may stop her hiding when she gets home.
But watch for those ED tricks when she gets home. The hiding, and throwing of food etc.. No sleeves at the table, no napkins, no pockets, no hoodies, no dogs (to eat the dropped food), no escape from the table/food. 

As for being emotionally spent, we all get that. It is an illness that has brought many of us to our knees (me). And I will give you a tip here. It is because of this fight that I had to get through, that made me a stronger, more compassionate, able woman. I always thought I was very "strong", but now I feel I can take on any challenge. 
You are working out our ED muscles and you will be very strong. 

Please rest,
XXX

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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scaredmom

PS wanted to add that being there for all meals because she does not want you there, it the best thing you can do!
You will learn to feed her when she comes home. She (ED) knows you are going to stick it out come h@## or high water!

You are really doing well!

XXX

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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tina72
Just wanted to add we say here if you see the flak you are over the target which means it is really a good sign to see ED fighting and then you know you are doing something right and it would be a bad sign to see no fight and no ED behaviour in that state as there is normally a loophole that Ed found.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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debra18
My daughter was also a delightful girl before ED that never lied or did anything bad. Than with ED, she lied about eating, hid food, and said lots of mean things. Anything to avoid eating. After over a year of feeding her, she is doing well now. Basically back to herself and I continue supervising all meals at home. How long will your daughter be in IP? She should be gaining 2-3 pounds per week. You will need to continue feeding her at home as she won't come home recovered. Glad that you found the forum to get support and advice . I am also in the US.
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Mamaroo
Welcome form me as well. My d was also transformed when ED moved in, she lied about what she ate, hit, kicked, bit me and on many occasions pulled my hair out. I had to remind her that those types of behaviour would not be tolerated. Today she is back to her normal self, but does not like to discuss her illness. she also was in denial of her illness and in some way she still is and I have to remind her that she could never go on a diet or become vegetarian (I tell her you can't put petrol in an air plane as an analogy why her body needs meat). Meals are a struggle and will continue to be so for several more months. Even at WR, my d still struggled to eat fear food and only after 6 months after WR, did her brain start to heal and the last of her ED behaviour disappeared. However she still requires large amounts of food and I still plate most meals and snacks for her. 

Sending you lots of hugs!!!!!! 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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tp7
Thank you all for your insight and kind words, goodness knows that I can surely use some these days!  D continues to be very angry, She still tells me to leave every time I go visit.  Today I took some new comfy clothes for her to the unit because I noticed that she had been hanging on to a lot of clothes that were two sizes too small and I threw those out as I suspected that she was hanging on to small clothes on purpose.  Initially she was ok, until snack time came around and she mentioned that when she got out of there she wouldn't need to have snack anymore.  I told her that she absolutely would, that while the setting would change she would still need supervised meals and snacks at home.  And that was the end of the conciliatory mood. She took the new clothes and threw them at me.  Then she started yelling "Get out, I don't want to see you!".  

Right now she prefers to see my husband only, as for whatever reason she doesn't seem to blame him right now.  I'm totally ok with that as he's a great dad, but I get the feeling that it's also because she feels that he's easier on her.  And he might be.  I feel like I have to coach him sometimes, remind him when he's having meals with her that an "accidentally" dropped portion of food on the floor is not really an accident.  I can see how exhausting this is for him, his mind just doesn't think like that.  He's also still a recovering cancer patient himself, and he has barely had any chance to process what has happened to him before being thrown into this.  My heart breaks for everyone in our family right now.

I've also set up family therapy for my 9 year-old son and myself, as I can tell that he's becoming very affected by it all.  Over the last two weeks his happy-go-lucky nature has been replaced by some anger. 
I think back to all four of us laughing and joking at the dinner table about 7 weeks ago and I feel like that was someone else's life.  I don't know if it will ever be ours again, and it makes me so sad.  

Tina72, thanks for mentioning the napkins at the ED clinic.  They don't give napkins to patients when they first get there, it's only a "reward" after they've been eating all their food for a few days.  My D had earned the reward, but we're back to no napkins now.
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workingthrough
It’s the hardest thing. 😔 No advice, just a big, big hug. We’re working our way through as well right now and I often feel similar w/ thinking back (profoundly missing) when things were “normal.” 

So sorry that happened today with your visit also. What a day. She’s blessed to have you. Rest up as much as you possibly, possibly can - the exhaustion of it all makes everything even worse. 

Sure thinking of you and sending the very best. 


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Mamaroo
My d also was not impressed with me when I told her that I was going to follow the hospital's meal plan at home, but when she saw I wasn't going to give in, she accepted it (with a lot of throwing and kicking of things). I know it is hard to think that things will get better and back to normal again, but they will, just give it time. Do something nice for yourself today, even if it is just a nice bath. I'm glad you are getting some help for your son, it does affect the whole family. 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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tina72
 It is normal that they are more bad to the person that fights ED harder. Here it was Dad. It is not personally against you, it is just ED fighting. I know it is hard though.
Try to do something nice with the little boy and do something nice for yourself and hubby as long as she is in because you might not have the time for that when she is out.
And yes, teach hubby about the tricks of ED. Send him around here, there are some nice Dads here, maybe he likes to get in contact and talk about all that with another dad.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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deenl
tp7 wrote:
I've also set up family therapy for my 9 year-old son and myself, as I can tell that he's becoming very affected by it all.  Over the last two weeks his happy-go-lucky nature has been replaced by some anger. 


Hi tp7,

Our youngest was also 9 when his brother got so ill. We used a lot of imagery to help him understand and to make it less daunting.
  • His favourite one was Gremlins. We explained that there was a gremlin in the works. It used his brother's voice and face to work it's mischief. Underneath his brother didn't want to be acting so mean but the gremlin took over sometimes. It got to the stage where he would come over to me and whisper 'That was the Gremlin, wasn't it?' 'Sure was. Well spotted. You know X wouldn't be that nasty.' We talked about how in the movie the Gremlin came because he was fed after midnight. Well the gremlin in our house came because there was not enough food so we are going to use lots of food to get rid of him.
  • We also used Star Wars. How the Jedi have dark and light sides. His bro had temporarily gone over to the dark side. But instead of lightsabers, I had a wooden spoon. We would make us funny stories about fighting the dark side with chocolate sauce and ice cream.
  • I have also heard of people using Harry Potter imagery. The imperio spell is one of the Unforgiveable Spells and allows the person casting the spell to control another person's actions. And, of course, the Dementors symbolise depression, sucking all the light and happiness out of someone.
I used to lie on his bed at night and we would chit chat about this sort of stuff, getting in lots of goofiness and laughs too. But also about things going on in his life too. He was terribly unhappy at school but I had no emotional or mental energy to deal with it so he had to just go. I feel bad for him but luckily there has been no lasting damage. 

We also had plans of action for when the ED son lost the plot and was screaming, violent, self harming or sobbing. He would find his oldest brother and they would snuggle somewhere with the iPads and headphones on and dad and I would pop in and out as we could depending on how ED bro was. I was careful to explicitly tell them that this was normal and temporary. I used the imagery of people undergoing cancer treatment feeling worse in the moment but it being for the long term good but maybe that is too raw for you guys. Or maybe it could help to explain that dad's treatment was tough and everyone rallied around and like dad, his sister will get well again. You know what will work best in your family.

My son's ED hated my guts. My son would leave the room or turn his back on me when I came in. He would say goodnight to everyone and very obviously avoid me. He acted as if branded if I even accidently touched against him. I was tough but I was tougher. Our relationship is pretty much back to normal with lots of laughs, teenager eye rolls and affection.

Wishing you continued strength and courage,

D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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scaredmom
I love deenl's suggestions above. And I think getting him help is great! You are really doing well with all the challenges, although it may not seem that way right now.

My other 2 kids were much older than D but I still think it affected them greatly and I wish I had done more with and for them at the time, so I am trying now. Can you take son out for some special time too? You both need a nice time together. ED is so pervasive in our worlds, it is nice to remember "normal" and that you will get back to some nice times.

As for hating you: As you can see from the responses, this is soooo common, it might as well be part of the diagnostic criteria.

A couple of reasons I think they may need to "hate" one of the parents is:
1) She feels safer with you, to be honest, to take her rage out on. She is so full of self hate, that she has to direct to someone who will be able to shoulder it and not make her feel badly for it. For her to direct the self hate onto herself could lead to self harm etc, so I think putting on someone outside of her, is a good thing. So in this case it is you. And she still gets  loving parental interaction with her dad. That was the same for me. I used it to my advantage. D could hang out with dad safely, and I would cook and ensure all was in place for meals privately (adding in calories to the meals) and I had a break when D and father would play together. If it means she will get better, I say let her hate anyone she wishes. It does get better. My D and I have such a warm and loving and fun relationship now. I hope that helps a bit today. 
2) It is ED that hates you, and not your D. ED knows you have his number and you are the tough one to deal with. So that is a good thing! It gives you strength in ED's eyes that you are going to get ED out of the house.

It does get better, they do come back to their happy selves. But it does not come back all at once, it is a little bit here and there and then you notice that the hate has been gone for a long time. It is like filling a cup of water drip by drip. Seems so imperceptible at the time, but then all of a sudden the cup is full.
Your cup will fill, just give it time.
All the best,
XXX
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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HopeNZ
Deenl, if only I had half your wisdom!  I LOVE your suggestions for imagery to help your younger non-ed son.  I dearly wish we had had the creativity to use Gremlins and Star Wars in the very dark early days of my d's illness.  Instead, like scaredmom, we're trying to make things right with him some time after my d has moved into recovery.  Thank you so much for hanging out here and helping us all along 😍

Welcome from me too, tp7.  I'm sorry you had to find us here, but as you can see, you're in good hands.
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tp7
Deenl, I love your suggestions, thank you!  I'll definitely use those, my son is a big Star Wars and Harry Potter.  I also love the idea of the Gremlin. 
Workingthrough, thanks for the hug, I sure need it!  

Mamaroo and Tina72, although I figured that we're unlikely to be the first ones to experience these reactions, it gives me strength to know that others have gone through this and more or less come out on the other side.  

So, new day, new challenge.  Today I went to visit D at IP and I noticed that her laptop and phone were in her room.  That wasn't supposed to happen, as she's only allowed to check those out while we're there.  Access to pro-AN websites and calorie searches have been an issue, so we have only been allowing her to use electronics under supervision.  It turns out that when my husband and I had shown up earlier in the day for Family Therapy she had gone to the nurses and said that dad was around, so she asked if she could she please have the laptop and phone.  I don't know who gave it to her, but clearly they should have checked and didn't.  So of course I let the nurses know and we came up with a plan to only allow my husband and I to check out the laptop and phone.

D was so angry that while using the laptop during tutoring time, she logged on to the family cloud account and declared my phone stolen several times. This disabled it completely and rendered it useless, in addition to setting off a loud alarm that I couldn't shut down.  Because she just kept disabling it every time I re-enabled it, I couldn't even get it to work for long enough to call the unit to get them to stop her.  In other words, it was like a cyber attack from my own child. We've taken her phone away permanently for the time being and we plan to take her off any family accounts.  However I'm deeply saddened by her behavior, she feels unrecognizable. But I'm going back for dinner and putting my best poker face on and talk to her calmly about why her behavior is not acceptable.  But I won't let her see how much it bothered me, because then she'll think that she can do things to scare me away from meals or from checking up on her.  
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scaredmom
Tp7,
You are doing so well, you really are.
This is her illness and it takes a long time. Ensuring consequences is a good thing. You are setting the tone for when she gets home, which will make it hard for ED and good for your d on the long run. 
ED has a lot of nasty tricks up his sleeve and I applaud you for being so diligent and vigilant.
It does get better. 
XXX
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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