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.

meadow
Hi

Sorry that I haven't been here for a while, but I wanted to check back in with an update on my daughter. 

D (9) has just been discharged from CAMHS!  It's almost exactly a year to the day since our first appointment and I'm DELIGHTED to tell you that we have our old daughter back[smile].  This time last year she was thin, cold, dehydrated, tearful, irritable, withdrawn, anxious and unhappy.  Her heart wasn't functioning properly and we only very narrowly avoided hospital admission several hours away in London.

We're so proud of our daughter, but I can honestly say that if it wasn't for this forum we wouldn't be where we are now.  I must have first posted here about a year ago too.  I can remember sitting on the stairs while D refused to drink out of anything bigger than a shot glass, absolutely beside myself, and getting messages of support and encouragement from you wonderful people to keep going. 

Our CAMHS team was great and really did give us a great service, but the actual practicalities of how to get your child to eat were all learned here.  I will forever be grateful.

My daughter is now nine and is happy, relaxed, fun, interested in life and has grown in confidence.  At our recent parents evening, the teacher told me she didn't recognise the child who was described in the handover from last-year's teachers.  It really does show that food is medicine.  

D still asks 'do I need to eat all of that?' at mealtimes sometimes, but I always answer yes and she just eats it.  At the time of our first CAMHS apt she was eating nothing but chocolate, Scotch pancakes and ham sandwich.... now she eats a normal range of foods, can cope with meals out no problem, has had a MASSIVE growth spurt, and has no body image problems. 

I am soooooooo incredibly grateful to everyone who's cheered us on from the sidelines on this forum.

I've started writing a book about EDs in very young children and I'll no doubt have lots of questions, so hope you don't mind me asking away over time.

Now that the dust has settled and our life is gradually getting back to normal, I intend to be here a bit more often as well to give back and support all of you who are still in the thick of it as much as we were supported last year.

Lots and lots of love and thanks,
Meadow xxxx 
Quote
sk8r31
So very wonderful to read this update!  It is a real testament to the hero parenting you've done, and the support of this online forum to help you do what needed to be done.

It is also encouraging for other parents/carers to hear of your family's success...hope of full recovery is so very important to hang on to.

Thanks so very much for sharing your update, and wishing you & family a very wonderful holiday season ahead!

Also lovely to hear that you are reaching out to help others, so very much appreciated.

Kudos to you & all the best to the meadow family.

Warmly,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Quote
mjkz
Meadow, I remember your first posts and the shot glass!!  It's so wonderful to read this update.  You truly have brought about a miracle.  So happy for you and your family!!!
Quote
ValentinaGermania
Hi meadow,
thanks a lot for this update, it helps a lot to see that others got to the end of the tunnel (even if the tunnel is still in your back).
You can be proud of yourself and of your sweet little daughter.
Send you an enormous hug from Germany!
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Torie
sk8r31 wrote:
It is also encouraging for other parents/carers to hear of your family's success...hope of full recovery is so very important to hang on to.


So true.  I hope you will consider pasting a copy of this in the Stories of Hope thread.

I always appreciate when old friends drop by with an update.  Keeps me going.  This would be a depressing place without the success stories.

So happy for you and your d and your whole family!  You rock!  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
eternalhope
Meadow- what wonderful news. You give us all hope.
Quote
tammy
Hi Meadow,
Great to hear your good news. I too have a very young child going through this ordeal. My son is only eight years old and was diagnosed in August. I would be very interested to hear what worked for you with your daughter and also if you think there are any differences to how you approach things in a very young child. Thanks in advance.
Quote
meadow
To the familiar names here, you were there from the start helping us on.....thank you! Newbies, there's definitely hope.

Tammy - feel free to email me any time but here's what we did in a nutshell:

Firstly, we were lucky to catch the ED fairly early. I'm a child psychologist, which no doubt helped. Despite knowing there was something very wrong, it was still about 4 months before we got referred to CAMHS (I wrote the referral myself and we got seen in less than a week).

I gave up my job for 3 months soon after this. It wasn't easy financially for us, but I have absolutely no regrets. School agreed to supervise lunch (it was pretty loose, but it was enough for us thankfully). The deal was if she didn't eat then I'd come and get her, but this never happened. We added a morning snack to have at school, and she had the highest calorie drink she would take, and teachers reminded her to drink very regularly.

We did 3 meals and 3 snacks per day from the start. Time limits didn't work for us. We used fortisip a bit (with full fat cream added in), but she hated it and it was really no easier than food. She was only eating a VERY limited diet, as I said (previously a normal range, but she'd gradually cut things out), and it was hard to add hidden calories to ham sandwich and chocolate, but we shopped around for the highest cal version of everything. We also stopped ALL exercise - no sport, no walking to school (or even down the road), no going upstairs unless essential.

We gradually increased portion sizes and sat with her until she ate. We didn't bother with the table - she was not at all relaxed there. We used distraction with TV. Occasionally it was turned off as a consequence if she wouldn't eat. D often took over an hour to have a first bite in the early days. We just sat there saying you need to eat, we're in charge and you're going to eat, we love you, we can see that it's really hard but you're going to eat it, we know what we're doing. A meal/snack often took two hours. We increased the size of breakfast last, because if we couldn't get D into school in time then we'd be behind for the rest of the day and it was much harder. D got very physically aggressive and we put up with most of it, but drew the line at biting. She did a bit of self-harming which was worse, and I physically intervened then. I sat outside her room if she shut herself in.

We called on what help we could, but it was tricky because we'd only just moved to a new city and didn't know people. We roped in our parents (not local) when we could. Generally my husband and I took turns with one refeeding and the other entertaining our four year-old and keeping her out of the firing line.

We cancelled any plans that would get in the way of mealtimes. We got both girls excused from healthy eating stuff at school (they still are).

Once we'd managed to increase calories a fair bit, every meal time we either increased portion size more or insisted that D ate a bite of a new (old) food. We broke ED behaviours that were getting in the way of intake (eg only drinking out of shot glasses and, later, only taking five sips at a time). We ignored ED behaviours that weren't affecting intake, e.g. 'packing' a plate of pasta to look the same size as a ham sandwich! These weird behaviours dropped off pretty quickly.

Oh, and we got her to bath/shower before eating as she couldn't cope with her tummy afterwards.

Hope some at least of that is helpful. Do reach out to me if you want more info x
Quote
meadow
Tammy - the other thing I would say is don't even bother thinking about talking therapy for kids this age. D never said a word about her anorexia during a CAMHS appointment (until today, funnily enough). Food is what they need more than anything else. And don't be afraid to overshoot whatever target you/the professionals have in mind. We kept on increasing cals until we saw a change in her mood and the disappearance of ED behaviours.
Quote
tammy
Thank you so much for all the useful information Meadow. How do I go about E mailing you or do I just reply on this post? Thanks
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear Meadow,

So glad that your D is now doing well and so glad that this forum helped you and your family.

I hope the info I provided you was helpful. You hit the beast hard and stood firm and overcame it. I pray that you can keep it away from revisiting.

I am also glad that you are a clinician who can now have a positive part to play in the lives of clients & thier families who present to you with an ED

Warm & Kind thoughts to you!!
ED Dad
Quote
AUSSIEedfamily
Dear Tammy,

If you click on meadow's name in the left hand column it will give you an option to e-mail medow
ED Dad
Quote
tammy
Thanks for info on E mailing.
Quote
meadow
Aussie - yes the info you sent was great, really helpful thank you.

I'm afraid I'm not planning to work clinically with young people with ED any time soon...it's all still too raw. Who knows, maybe one day further down the line.
Quote
iHateED
Meadow, How wonderful - Cheers to you and your family!  Thanks for the update!
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
Fantastic on the discharge from CAMHS. What a great effort. I am so pleased for you and your daughter. I remember those shot glasses too. 
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
meadow
Thank you xxx. It was hard to see shot glasses in the normal way for a while after that😀..
Quote

        

WTadmin