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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AvaM
Hi. I’m new. I consider myself mostly recovered though I suffered pretty terribly for 20 years in and out of treatment. My son is 13 and I’ve been in denial. I convinced myself everything was normal or ok or I was reading too much into it.
His pediatrician has mentioned his weight loss twice. To which I spoke with my son about and suggested we try shakes or something to get a boost on the scales. I didn’t monitor that he drank them but they disappeared.
He’s now a vegan. He’s been vegetarian since he was 7, yet the moment he told me that, my instincts screamed “oh f*ck”. We went grocery shopping so that I could prove to myself “he’s fine”. The entire trip he did everything he could to avoid me buying him vegan options and alternatives.
To make matters worse DCYF showed at the house. They spoke with both of my sons. The social worker told me he pretty much admitted to her. He has an appointment at our youth behavioral center. We have no resources. It’s just me and them. We live in a small town where the one middle school and high school are combined.
I feel so guilty. I had a heart attack and my last IP/residential and step down when he was 8/9. I feel at fault and like I ignored and abandoned him when he needed me. I didn’t miss the signs I blatantly ignored them. I’m so numb and crushed and lost. I should know what to do but I can barely function I’m in a haze.
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melstevUK
AvaM,

Welcome and can I say how sorry I am that you have the 'double whammy' of having suffered from an ed yourself, and now have a son with this diagnosis.

Please forgive yourself - what has happened in the past has happened, and the science has grown substantially around ed s and we now know that there is a large biological and genetic compontent to them.  So your son had a susceptibility to go down this path in his genes.  Clearly turning vegetarian had an impact on his intake and probably led to a decrease in his diet and nutritional intake which would have possibly taken him off his growth curve.  And if you had a heart attack, you were not deliberately not there for him.  So please try and give yourself a ;clean slate' so that you can start to focus on the future.

This is not the best time to start a refeeding regime and the Coronavirus will be making everyone's anxiety greater but what needs to happen is that he should be put on a three meal three snack routine - I am sure you know that from your own treatment.  

I cannot advise on how you get clinical support in the present situation but can you start weighing him yourself at home?  Once a week and first thing in the morning will be enough.  One thing that could be useful, if you can be open about it, is that you will understand how frightening it will be for him to eat and put on weight, but perhaps you can share your experience in a way which can help him to accept the fears and work with you to push through them.  Also, do you have any family or friends who can help you in any way at all?  If you can get a team of people behind you it will feel easier at least.

Other Moderators and parents will be along shortly to give their own advice.  But please, please, forgive yourself as a first step, in starting to think about his recovery.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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Enn

Welcome to the forum and so sorry you needed to find yourself here. 
You know now and we can help you to move forward. As melstevUK notes above things have really changed even in the last ten years.
You are in a better place now and can really help your son. 
It would be important to get him medically assessed first with heart rate and blood pressure (orthostatic vitals lying and then standing). 

You can do so much for your son! He needs to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day and the vegetarian diet may make that difficult. 
How do we help you to get him to eat?

As for you and your history, you have been through so much! I hope you are doing better and have some support for you and your kids.
I am sending a hug. 

We all wish to help, just ask!

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)
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AvaM
melstevUK wrote:


Please forgive yourself - Thank you. I know. I really need to. And we've done rounds about it in my own therapy.

This is not the best time to start a refeeding regime and the Coronavirus will be making everyone's anxiety greater but what needs to happen is that he should be put on a three meal three snack routine -

I can't even get him to eat one meal. I've tried. I do know that he's snacking at night which gives me some relief for the time being. But it's always the same 3-4 foods.If I offer him those same foods during the day or if anyone is around it's a no go. I honestly hardly remember most of my early refeeding and have no idea where to start. He's SO good. Typical perfectionist, straight A's, respectful. But as soon as food, weight, diet anything related comes up he's a brick wall of hatred and meanness. We have 1 grocery store and a Walmart and our shelves haven't been impacted. Fully stocked thankfully and his anxiety surrounding quarantine doesn't seem any higher.
He isolates a lot and 7th grade has been all online home school anyway so that may play a part. His private soccer lessons have been cancelled and that's it. He's just gone out in the yard to play alone.

I cannot advise on how you get clinical support in the present situation but can you start weighing him yourself at home?

About 2 years ago he asked for a scale. We butted heads on it for awhile initially because I simply don't want one in the house at all. So unfortunately he has one in his closet. He has never been shy about telling me his weight and will do so religiously, but of course now I question if he's been honest. At the pediatrician his weight was not reflective of what he's been telling me and he's hidden it well.

One thing that could be useful, if you can be open about it, is that you will understand how frightening it will be for him to eat and put on weight, but perhaps you can share your experience in a way which can help him to accept the fears and work with you to push through them. 

Thank you for that insight. I wonder a lot if it would be more helpful or detrimental to open up that way. I don't want it to be a way to manipulate down the road or for him to feel it overwhelming. But I think you're right the understanding may prove helpful.

Also, do you have any family or friends who can help you in any way at all?

I do have family and friends. However I feel they are SO burned out after my journey and watching and dealing with my ups and downs they are just exhausted by it all. My last relapse absolutely killed my marriage (we're still pretty much best friends and coparent the boys well) and his father absolutely refuses to believe boys can and do also suffer from EDs. He insists he's just a health conscious kid, and boy does our son sell it well. He says I am just reading into it and projecting my issues onto him. Even after DCYF spoke with him about the issues our son discussed with the worker.

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AvaM
Enn wrote:

Thank you for extending such a warm welcome!

It would be important to get him medically assessed first with heart rate and blood pressure (orthostatic vitals lying and then standing).
 
Unfortunately I can't get him seen anywhere right now. With no timeline on when things may change. Everyone in his pediatricians office is only doing calls and virtual appointments. (We're in Washington state) He did have labs done on 3/9 which came back with severely low iron, hemoglobin, potassium, calcium and a few others. So his pediatrician advised a supplement along with vitamin c and b12 and having more testing done.

How do we help you to get him to eat?

This is exactly where I'm struggling. I have no idea. I've begged, bribed, reasoned and gone head to head with him. I feel like since everything unfolded his eating has gotten worse and me knowing has made it more difficult for him. Anything else I ask him to do he does without hesitation. He's such an easy kid. But even asking him what he will eat for dinner brings on a different human.I feel like I'm losing him more and more every day no matter what I do.

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Enn

The low potassium and calcium are concerning. Is he purging? 

Many have found (me) that we cannot ask we kindly insist they eat. All life may need to be halted (it already has for the covid19) and only eating is the goal. Many have taken phones away and games and allowed them to have after they have eaten what you have chosen.
my d was 12 when diagnosed. This is where you may need to be more of a kind loving dictator ( that was from mamaroo!) rather than a collaborative mom.

You can do your own vitals if you could get a blood pressure monitor. We can help with that as he sounds medically unstable to me. We are not doctors here but seasoned ED Parents. 😊 I must say with the blood abnormalities I am concerned he may get refeeding syndrome when you start feeding. How much does he weight and his height? 


What is he eating now. He should not be at all allowed to prepare foods or watch you make it. Adding in oils and cream and sugar, butter etc.. will help him get better. He will protest or rather ED will. It is your job to ensure he gets his medicine. You understand this intimately! You’ve got this! 
Sending my best!
others will be here soon I know to fill in the blanks I likely have left!

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)
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Enn

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322120#what-are-the-causes-of-refeeding-syndrome

I don’t wish to alarm you, but wish  to ensure you have as much information at hand as best possible. 

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)
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum, sorry that you have had to find your way here. Having suffered yourself for so long with an ED gives you both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to helping your son. I would also like to add to the others, this is not your fault. 

Treatment has changed a lot in the last 20 years and generally FBT is now recommended as first line treatment. This may be very confronting as a consideration for both you and your ex. however the most important part of treatment seems to be initial normalisation of food and then working on remaining issues. You mention your ex is reluctant to believe your son has an ED however what does the paediatrician say. Has there been any recent review of this? Has your son's medical stability been assessed properly? It sounds like it may not have been since he has severely abnormal blood tests but the only recommendation was supplements? 

The first step to helping your son is getting both you and your ex on to the same page for management. It may be useful to share with him resources such as the FEAST family guides which have loads of information along with sharing this book. Getting started on refeeding and being aware that an increase in opposition is normal for this illness is also important. One of the hardest things for parents of eating disorders is to deal with their own distress when their child is distressed, however it is actually an essential part of treatment. This Australian guide to getting things started at home is also handy. 
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.
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Torie
I wonder what would happen if you said that you are receiving advice online from experts who have said you need to xyz.

If you think that might work (at least sort of), you could start with removing the scale into a locked closet or room and weigh once per week on your terms.  You could buy a blood pressure cuff and follow the CDC guidelines for checking orthostatic blood pressure and pulse.  You could require him to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day, with a caloric beverage included in each.  You could require him to use the restroom before each meal so that he can stay with you for at least an hour after each meal.

If you think something like that might be an option, we would be happy to help you sort through options and details. 

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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AvaM
Enn wrote:

The low potassium and calcium are concerning. Is he purging? 


The low potassium in particular worries me. I haven't seen any signs of purging. But it could be his reasoning for eating in the evenings after I've gone to bed.

 He doesn't care about the phone or his video games anymore. I took them away over a week ago because he wouldn't stop screaming and stabbing the table with a knife. Now he just reads or sleeps.

You can do your own vitals if you could get a blood pressure monitor. I am concerned he may get refeeding syndrome when you start feeding. How much does he weight and his height?
He's just over 5'8" and was 87 on the 9th though yesterday he says he's up to 91. He weighed without shoes or his coat at the pediatrician though. (His father is 6'9" and I am 5'10".) I can probably pick up a monitor tomorrow and watch videos or find some information online to check properly.


What is he eating now. He should not be at all allowed to prepare foods or watch you make it.

From what I can tell his rotation consists of rice cakes, trail mix but he picks it apart and I'll find most of the nuts in his trash. A few vegetables lettuce, celery, cucumber. And he eats this plant based frozen orange chicken and a particular canned soup I keep stocked for him which is actually a chowder and pretty high calorie. I don't ask questions...EDs make no sense sometimes. He could be eating more but those are the main things I've noticed moved, in the trash or peeled apart in the mornings. I know he will occasionally secretly eat things. And he'll sneak things not vegetarian or vegan. For instance his brother's birthday cake was left out and I noticed fork marks in it this morning. I don't say anything about it. He just moves dinner around, claims he doesn't like this or that or blows up, makes threats, goofs off with his brother, claims he doesn't like this or that or goes to his room and sleeps. I don't let him hover in the kitchen anymore. I know it's anxiety inducing.

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AvaM
You mention your ex is reluctant to believe your son has an ED however what does the paediatrician say. Has there been any recent review of this? Has your son's medical stability been assessed properly? It sounds like it may not have been since he has severely abnormal blood tests but the only recommendation was supplements? 

Unfortunately we've had very little follow up. We got his lab results right when everything with COVID19 hit the fan. So pedi just left a voicemail suggesting the iron supplements I could get on Amazon and vitamin C and b12. He does have a follow up appointment set up in about 2 weeks so that should be interesting.

Thank you for the resources. I'm hoping any literature I can provide will open his dad's eyes a bit. He is completely closed off to even addressing it. I did ask him to attend his next pediatrician appointment.
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AvaM
Torie wrote:
I wonder what would happen if you said that you are receiving advice online from experts who have said you need to xyz.

If you think that might work (at least sort of), you could start with removing the scale into a locked closet or room and weigh once per week on your terms.  You could buy a blood pressure cuff and follow the CDC guidelines for checking orthostatic blood pressure and pulse.  You could require him to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day, with a caloric beverage included in each.  You could require him to use the restroom before each meal so that he can stay with you for at least an hour after each meal.

If you think something like that might be an option, we would be happy to help you sort through options and details. 

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. xx

-Torie


I can definitely attempt for breakfast tomorrow. My question is what happens or where do you turn when you're met with utter refusal? He tends to of course turn a meal into absolute chaos and his little brother (8) absolutely feeds off of it. And when all is said and done he still hasnt eaten and I'm peeling an 8 year old off the wall.
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Torie
Can you keep Little Brother out of the room for that?  Could he have breakfast first and then retreat to a quiet part of the house?  It must be very difficult to juggle and balance everything xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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