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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Brand new here, we are at the very start of this, have had our first appt with a GP who specialises in ED and due first appt with ED clinic this Friday (will be a long two days)  Our daughter, 15yrs old, has what the GP called Starvation Syndrome, so not yet AN. She knows she needs to eat but cannot bring herself to do it.

We have been having meltdowns over past few weeks (usually triggered by dance which she loves, but can't stand being in her leotard, yes we have stopped her from going to dance now) and this morning is the mother of all. She has been going two hours now, screaming, crying, was meant to go to school today but of course that is not happening.  

She cannot bear the feeling of clothes on her body, she has lost weight from her breasts and can't stand how she looks, thinks she has a stomach, which of course she doesn't, claws at her body, hates herself, everything, I am sure what everyone has gone through.

We took her to Emergency last Tues night (week ago) for an episode that went from 8-10pm, but of course by the time we got there she had settled down and we spent a whole night there only to walk out with the information "get a referral to CAMHS". I appreciate Emergency are there to stabilise, they are not able to assist once the problem has passed.

She has finally calmed down 2 1/2 hrs later, I guess I just want to know is this normal?  Is this what they all do?  We are learning to let these episodes run their course, usually once she calms down she is back to her "rational" self again (and I use that term loosely). She at times can't stand for us to be in the room with her so we let her rage it out, and try to approach once she seems to be running out of steam. I am of course worried, but am learning no matter what I say it is twisted and thrown back at me, she will argues black is white while in the middle of this.

We haven't even broached the whole refeeding thing yet, am terrified, I could only just get her to have her meds this morning as "every gram counts" and she could hardly bring herself to put that much in her body, was hysterical about having a mouthful of water to wash it down. She has of course not eaten breakfast this morning. She is maybe not as bad as some as she will usually eat something through the day, but of course not what she actually needs.

Sorry for War and Peace, I am at my wits end, just hoping for some reassurance please. Thank you so much.

Hi Aurione
so sorry that you and your daughter are in this situation. It is terrifying I know. What you are describing sounds very normal and is very similar to the situation that we were in 18ish months ago with our then 11yr old daughter. Screaming, crying clawing and body, all terrifying and all normal. Please make sure that you make your environment safe for your daughter now as ED distress is huge and there is a real risk of self harm attempts. Remove all knives and other sharps, keep medications out of reach. I bought a small safe to keep meds and sharps in in the early months as it was so scary. Sorry if this sounds alarmist but ED is horrible. We also had to remove locks from bathroom doors as she locked herself in in times of distress for hours rather than face eating or drinking. 
It is very typical for word twisting and rage back at parents so its probably best to learn early not to engage with any attempt at rational in this time. 
Make sure that when you visit the GP that you get them to take blood pressure and blood pressure laying down and then after raising as this was the only thing that eventually got us serious help with our daughter. We had a terribly difficult time even getting her in the car to go to the DR which is normal so if you predict that this might be an issue plan ahead. I got a loved aunty to come too as my daughter managed to control herself and comply a bit when in company of someone else. 
Sorry that this is so brief but I have to go and collect my kids from school. I just really wanted to send you love and let you know that what you are seeing in normal for ED and that there are loads of people here who have seen and lived it and will do anything they can to help/advise/listen/support you. 
Sending loads of love and strength and bravery to you. 
Thank you Bebrave, she will be seeing her GP once a week and at every session have BP, ECG and bloods done, at least until she is on the mend.  The GP is very concerned about the ECG and told my daughter she is at risk of a heart attack so one more point we can remind her of on why she needs to eat again.  

I searched the forum for other "tantrum" posts and found a few so somewhat comforting to know this may be the new normal for a while, just had the need for someone to reach out to me personally and say yes, this is normal, you can do this.

Also found the post about the emotional mind and wise mind, that is exactly what we have, it is so difficult seesawing from one to the other, she can be so understanding and accepting in her wise mind, then the coin flips and there is nothing to do but wait it out. Thank you for your help <3 
Hi again. I am so pleased that it sounds like your Dr is going to be helpful. 
I just wanted to let you know that your daughter does not need to believe that she is sick or underweight or to believe that she is at risk of a heart attack for her to be successfully treated with FBT. YOU and your family need to know that she MUST get nutrition as soon as possible and YOU must close any loopholes as to why she cant/wont eat. We had no success initially refeeding at home as we had no guidance as to how to make a terrified child eat. A long stay in hospital was required and then we had strict rules that we enforced like our lives depended on it. We rearranged the kitchen so the table was in a corner so she was sat between my husband and I and could not run away without physically pushing past us ( she tried desperately to ) we locked doors so she couldnt run outside and we did not give her any chance to let the ED win. 
I found Eva Musby to be an excellent resource, practical and compassionate, anorexiafamily I think is the name of her web site. She would be my best suggestion to go to to get practial tips.
I also hope that you know that you dont need to find a reason why this has happened as there often isnt one. 
You have got this! Yes it is incredibly difficult but trust that your love is always strong enough, even when the ED will be hating you and hurting you and making your daughter do things that she would normally never do. My D is now back to her gorgeous loving self. She still needs help to eat enough but the darkest times are a horrific memory at the moment. 
Love and strength. 
Welcome to the forum, so sorry that you have had to find your way here. 

Your D sounds very, very unwell. Yes her behaviour sounds normal. I would label it as anxiety. She is terrified to eat, and terrified of not eating. Eating though is essential. 
One thing you need to know is that you don't need a hospital or emergency team permission to feed your child. The only way she is going to recover is by being nourished. She may need other care to but the nourishment is essential. If at all possible I would be sitting with her and starting re-feeding today. There is lots of good advice out there. Have a look at this page from the FEAST site - many links including some Aussie ones. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Thank you again, I have bought Eva's book and even in the first chapter there are so many "this is us" moments.  We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other don't we? 
@Aurione Eva's book is a terrific place to begin. I would also recommend Sick Enough to fully understand the medical complications.

Once I was able to understand how frightened my d was, it enabled me to deal with her behaviours with greater compassion. Sometimes you need to let them cry it out on the bedroom floor. Sometimes you need to hold them tight and tell them they are safe and you won't let anything bad happen to them.

At 15, your d may fight with you for her independence, but really what she needs is for you to take over all of the decision making around food and eating (and exercise). Many times the tantrums come because they are fighting with the ED over small decisions like having a drink of water.

Because I'm a terrible communicator, I also listened to "How to Communicate Like a Buddhist". It really helped me go from "I want you to eat this" to "I can see that you are angry about having to eat this, but it's what you need right now." 

Also, if you worry that your d may come to some harm during one of her tantrums, don't hesitate to lock/unlock doors, put sharp things away, etc. My d ran out of the house once during a tantrum. Luckily, we live on a farm but she crossed nearly two paddocks before I could send our dogs out to round her up. She was so surprised that the dogs found her and then wouldn't let her go that she ended up just laughing in defeat. However, if we lived in the city this would have been a different story.
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
I don't have any major words of wisdom as we are in the deep part of AN, but what you are describing was us 8 weeks ago and its scary, broken windows, furniture thrown etc but I always found it so reassuring that there are other families doing the same thing as its feels so surreal. I couldn't tell any of my friends as they just wouldn't have believed it. My daughters anxiety and tantrums went to another level and she is now in hospital. Whilst progress is slow, she is safe and we are tooling up our skills. What I do know is that we started refeeding straight away before any dr appointments and one silver lining was that her weight didn't drop too far below her minimum weight. The forum has so many great people with great advice (not me though, as I need the advice at this stage). We are with you though x
Hi, I'm sorry you have to be here, but it is a great place for support and real life tips. I also found Eva musby's book really helpful. Everything you said sounds pretty standard for anorexia (why wouldn't they call it like it is I don't know, my D was 13 when started restricting, she didn't lose too much weight or her menses but was terrified of food, very anxious, violent some times). Good that you stopped the dance. We were able to refeed at home, it wasn't easy, but not as extreme as others experiences, sometimes inpatient is needed to kick-start the weight gain. I hope you get the help and support your D needs very soon, meanwhile, start feeding her 3 meals 2/3 snacks. Some find it helpful to be told in advance, not my D, we used magic plate and that worked for us. Keep reading and asking all you need.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018, she had a growth spurt a bit later, followed by tummy bug. She started restricting breakfast and school lunch in January 2019 (that we know). We succesfully refed at home.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
Hi @Aurione and @StrongButScared,

Sending hugs of courage to you both. Stay strong and you will make it!

This illness is indeed surreal! I was able to separate it from my child when I soon found that her surreal actions had more in common with the ED kids around the world than with us as a family. I remember all the "this is us" details when reading Eva's book, reading this forum, watching videos and, in later stages, listening to Tabitha's podcasts. Every time I was able to shed that embarassment and guilt and get on with tackling the behaviour.

Once we identified the ED, we were then able to skip the Why? and focus on How? (to refeed her and bring her back to safety one day).

Just one more thing: improvement with weight regained felt surreal, too. With every 500g we saw more calm. We'd been expecting the dramas at home to continue 24/7, accepted the new normal and then Hey, 2 hours of quiet! and later Was that a smile? Gradually things do get better, but we stay vigilant.

All the best,
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Hi @Aurione, How is it going?
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)