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.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

Boysmum

Our son was diagnosed at 12, recovered and then relapsed about 18 months ago. He’s now 17, turning 18 in 4 months. He got to 98% weight for height a month ago, we’ve continued to have regular therapy via zoom during lockdown, and they were talking about making a plan for discharge. At that time we all agreed to make small changes towards free eating, one of which was giving more freedom on eating supervision.
Ever since then he seems to have been on self sabotage. We have found piles, literally piles of food hidden in his room, and he denies them even in the face of the evidence of the actual food. He just says ‘it’s from ages ago’. He’s also started secretly exercising in his room, which he also denies in the face of all evidence.

In therapy today, he is down to 97% weight for height and has lost a kg over the past month. I just feel that having an eating disorder doesn’t affect his life. He doesn’t seem to want to recover, move forward, see it as a problem. Basically we do all the shopping, making food, supervising food, organising fortisip prescriptions, organise therapy. It feels like all this time we have been pushing him up the hill and now I just want to give up and tell him it’s time for him to try!

He is so so intelligent. He got 9 A*’s and above for his GCSE’s and is going to apply for Oxford. I just think it will be an utter disaster if he goes because he can’t look after himself. And if breaks my heart to think of him being unable to do so.

13 yr old son diagnosed April 2015 with Anorexia.
Quote
Enn

I am sorry about this set back. Of course he does not want to get better. That is what ED is and does. 

Do you have a treatment team to help get back on track. Others with adult kids have use the financial aspect to
motivate them. For example if he is that ill can her really go to university? Just because he is not able to go to university now does not mean won’t ever be able to go? I know here on Canada and the States many take a year off to work and travel then they go to university 

I feel the exhaustion in your post. The ‘I have had enough of ‘ED’!
Are you able to get more on the ground support from
family and friends? 

I know others with young adults will be around shortly with more sage  words than I.
i just wanted to reach out to say and agree that it sucks. 

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
LaraB
Hi @Boysmum have you considered using a contract? I know they are often used for young adults- setting out goals, key issues that need to be addressed, what support will be provided, expectations, consequences etc. We drafted one last year for our D then 15. The main benefit for us was it enabled my husband and I to agree key issues/ helped us focus on what needed to be done. If a key motivator for him is to go to uni, perhaps you and he could work with therapist to define what would need to be in place to enable that to happen, wishing you the very best. I know it is very frightening/ soul-destroying to have weight-loss xx
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
The denial of illness is so normal at any stage of this illness. We are always overreacting in their minds. To be fair, if they are well they deny illness, if they are not well they deny illness - so we can only go by those behaviours that he shows. 
I agree with LaraB that perhaps a contract for expected behaviours that would show that he is ready to go away is appropriate. It is generally recommended that they are able to manage eating and feeding themselves for at least 12 months before heading away from home. 

You could include the ability to regain any lost weight
Maintaining limits on exercise
then add in involvement in food prep etc..
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.
Quote
Enn
Here is a nice podcast.
https://eatingdisorderrecoverypodcast.podbean.com/e/dr-sarah-ravin-on-eating-disorders-and-starting-college/
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
PleaseEAT
I’m not sure if the system/services you have where you are but are you able to move to adult services?
i wouldn’t discharge from services if you don’t feel your s is ready 
it’s a difficult age and as we try to give our kids more independence at this tricky age we find having the “safety net” of my d specialist appts helpful for her and also to give us some breathing space as well 
so that my life can return to some kind of “normality” too
its so hard emotionally/physically when we have been doing the caring for so long 
may some point they do need to learn to look after themselves (we still support our d I might add) but I feel less trapped myself from her illness 
hope this makes some kind of sense 
if not please disregard 

we’ve been at this 4 years and please believe it does get better it takes a LOT of time though
It’s not easy though and many tines I have felt the same as you as wanting to give up 
hang in there x
Quote
Boysmum
Thank you everyone for your kindness in the face of my frustration! We love him so, so much but just are at a loss at what else we can do. I think I find the fact that he is so intelligent really frustrates me because I feel that I want him to use that incredible will and intellect for good. (Please know that it’s not a boast about his intelligence we find it as surprising as anyone else as our other children have learning difficulties (dyslexia and autism)).
I think also that he was at 98% weight for height I felt that he must have better insight than when he was a much lower weight.
I like the idea of the contract, I think he might respond well to that. Would anyone mind sharing their one as an example?
Regarding adult services, right now he would be referred on when he turns 18. They were hesitating, hoping he might have got to a better place by now, but it looks like the referral has to happen. In some ways it will be a relief - my husband and I have participated in so much therapy over the last 5 years and we understand we will no longer be included. But that of course is worrying too as we often call out his lies in therapy (he’s extremely convincing).
13 yr old son diagnosed April 2015 with Anorexia.
Quote
LaraB

you can google template eating disorder contract UCSD and modify however you want.
Here is a link to an example. 

http://eatingdisorders.ucsd.edu/research/iced2017/pdfs/Adolescent%20contract,%20Example%202.pdf

Check out posts of Valentina Germania on our forum as she developed one for her D for uni. 

xxxx

Quote
teecee

Hello Boysmum
Its so frustrating when you see there’s that little hurdle to get over but they don’t seem to know how to do that. I let my D know that she would not be going to university in Sept if she was still at that point. It seemed to me that she would accumulate a lot of debt (as would we) and possibly not be able to finish the degree. Also she wouldn’t be in a position to stay mentally well with the increased pressure. I told her I would not put to financially and that I would inform the safeguarding team at uni that she was a risk to herself and potentially others....so it would be a waste of time starting. She has been very motivated to get well for university and in order to enjoy the full experience. 

She asked for help to make an effort to gain full recovery so we got her EMDR therapy (which was life changing) and made an application to the DWP for disability support. This has all increased my confidence about her starting university and more importantly it being a success. We plan to have a contract also as she is financially reliant on us at the moment. 

Quote
MKR
Hello @Boysmum,

@ValentinaGermania has had an excellent staggered contract with her daughter that is also clear and concise.

I will try to dig up the thread where she outlined it. From memory, there was a lot of supervision in the first year, and gradually stepped down.  There is a safety net of urgent refeeding in case of sudden weight loss.

Please also bear in mind that the orientation in the new environment requires a lot of additional energy. I suggest you aim for a bigger weight gain beforehead.
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Quote
melstevUK
Hi Boysmum,

So sorry for what you are going through.  Such a nightmare.  It is so typical of CAMHS services to try and push independent eating when it usually leads to disaster unless the patient is fully weight restored.  I am sorry you have been let down by them.  They act in good faith but often don't really understand the illness and that weight gain and weight restoration should be in place before encouraging independent eating.  However, this is where you are at and people here will help you find a way through.

I hear the frustration - we all wonder at first how our kids who are so often intelligent on every other level, cannot make a connection between that brain and the illness but that is the nature of the beast, unfortunately.  

Have a look at the website anorexia boy recovery.  The mother who wrote it used a contract and I believe there is quite a lot of support here for families with boys who are suffering from anorexia nervosa.  Her son is fully recovered now but it took a long time.
You can defer his university place for another year and tell him that he needs to understand that if he cannot get to a good weight and maintain it, then he will not be going to university in September.  If this is an incentive, it is worth using it.  If he needs to take a year out, that is no bad thing in any case - because who knows what things will be like in terms of Covid-19 by September.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
Quote
ValentinaGermania
I do not know the situation in UK but will you need to pay for college? Then you can set rules...
If you like to know more about our contract please feel free to write me PN. Just click on my icon and the function "write email" will pop up.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
ValentinaGermania
Your son sounds still very sick and not ready to go to college. Maybe that helps you to decide:
https://www.eatingdisordertherapyla.com/is-your-young-adult-with-an-eating-disorder-ready-for-college/
https://www.verywellmind.com/starting-college-without-ed-1138285
https://mirror-mirror.org/eating-disorders-2-2/going-to-college-when-in-recovery-from-an-eating-disorder
https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/recovery/self-help-tools-skills-tips/how-parents-can-support-their-child-at-college-who-is-struggling-with-an-eating-disorder

We had a contract like this one in attachment. You still have power as long as you pay for something. My d went 1 year after WR on reduced schedule and is now 3 years after WR and 1 year without any symptoms and she enjoys university very much.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
MKR
Hi @Boysmum,

Can you find from the Ministry of Education or the admissions board how your son can defer acceptance of a place for medical reasons - and still retain the offer (when he gets one, I am sure he will)? 

I would use university as great motivation for your son to fight restricting and hoarding food.

Thank you for posting the contract, @ValentinaGermania! It covers many risks and I especially love the tone "not a pinishment but a safety measure".
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
Quote
EASL
Dear @Boysmum
I only have one bit to add - and if its been mentioned already, apologies. 98% is terrific and you should feel a sense of big accomplishment. In our case, it wasn't until we reached 104% that things really changed and stayed that way - our D did not stay at 104% but she needed to be more than required for brain healing to happen. Like your son, my D is in a top school and top percentile for intelligence - all that means is she was far more capable at doing things (like GCSE's) when starving or being underweight than others would be - a perverse 'super power' if you will. We are still on the journey and I am amazed at how much she eats in a day - over 3000 calories every day and thats to maintain her target - to put on any weight would require a lot more. So for your son - maybe take back the responsibility and follow the contract, but instead of a goal of a target maybe the goal is no slippage and thats week to week, any loss is not acceptable. After many months at a higher weight you will see some cognitive improvement - but even if you do, let him depend on you for the food stuff for a long time and let him take his new energies to re-engage with the nonED world. Good luck to you and your son. You've shown you can do it - keep going!!
Quote

        

WTadmin