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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mec
Summary: Look at my tag line for background. Our d is now 19 and living independently. She left home in June and things have been really difficult for her. In spite of all of the difficulties and mental health problems that were triggered by a traumatic brain injury (car accident) though were obviously brewing under the surface, she has not only not relapsed into RAN or any ED behaviors but she has managed to eat and put on weight. I am thankful that ED is not a factor in her/our lives, but we've discovered that there is a whole bunch of mental health issues that are very scary and difficult to deal with. Not the point of my post.

We have set mutual boundaries that are firm and we have practiced tough love all the way. She has outgrown her clothes and we haven't bought her any clothes, outside of b-day presents or what I'm getting her for Christmas. We only pay for her medical and psychological/psychiatric treatments and provide zero financial support for anything else, including money for groceries.

However, about 2 weeks ago, she started a job about 5 minutes from our home, and she started coming around almost every day to eat lunch with her dad, who works at home. Sometimes, she comes to eat supper too. She is broke and homesick. We are setting some boundaries around her eating with us, such as, if you come outside of dinner hours, I am not going to cook or serve her food. But, our gut feeling is that no matter what her motives are, no matter if in some ways we enable her rebellion and her bad choices by allowing her to eat at our house, we just don't feel that we can deny our children food.

The other thing is that through feeding our daughter when she was 9 until she left home, she KNOWS that home will ALWAYS be a place where she can eat. I think that is pretty awesome, actually.

21 year old daughter who was DX with RAN at 9 years old. The work of recovery is ongoing. 
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trusttheprocessUSA
Hello hello Mec- it's been such a long time.

I am so glad to hear from you. I think of you often. I feel like I missed something huge - traumatic brain injury. I am so sorry this happened to your beloved daughter. I'm so glad she has not had a relapse. After refeeding and continuing to feed our kids, my house too will be the place that they are always come for a meal.

You are such a wise woman. We have much to learn for you. So glad you posted.
Son diagnosed @ 12.5 yrs old with Severe RAN 2/11. Co-morbids - anxiety, Active restriction for 3 months. He stopped eating completely 2x. He needed immediate, aggressive treatment from a provider who specialized in eating disorders, adolescents and males. We got that at Kartini Clinic. WR since 5/11. 2017 getting ready to graduate slipping lost 8lbs. Fighting our way back.
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mec
TTP, it's good to connect with you. D was in A bad car accident Nov '14. This triggered severe depression, anxiety and irrational thinking/acting. She had the best treatment team in our regional area. CHOA confirmed that she had a number of previous undiagnosed and untreated concussions caused by sports injuries. But the day after she graduated she moved out and stopped doing everything that had been prescribed for her brain healing. She is doing a lot better because in her own she started DBT. It has been good for her but she continues pushing to live a life that harms her brain and is so difficult for her. We have done an amazing job as a family of letting her go while at the same time continue having a relationship with her.
21 year old daughter who was DX with RAN at 9 years old. The work of recovery is ongoing. 
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trusttheprocessUSA
Letting her go and continuing to be there .... That makes me think I have a lot of work to do. What an amazing family you have. Life is so stressful for YA these days. Add a brain disorder or TBI and it's overwhelming. So glad you have some perspective to step in when you can. You are a vital role model for me and others who are reading.

Praying for you and your family.
Son diagnosed @ 12.5 yrs old with Severe RAN 2/11. Co-morbids - anxiety, Active restriction for 3 months. He stopped eating completely 2x. He needed immediate, aggressive treatment from a provider who specialized in eating disorders, adolescents and males. We got that at Kartini Clinic. WR since 5/11. 2017 getting ready to graduate slipping lost 8lbs. Fighting our way back.
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WeNWinning
So so sorry to hear what has transpired for your D after the traumatic brain injury.  It must be very tough setting those boundaries but also trying to figure out how to navigate   her wanting to have meals at home.  It sounds like she is struggling in some areas but making some strides in others.
All I can say is I know how hard you worked towards guiding your D towards being a healthy and thriving young woman, and I know this must hurt in your heart.
You have the strength to keep doing what you know is best for her, and that is all you can do.
Sending you strength and hope
WenWinning (formerly wenlow) - a Mom who has learned patience, determination, empathy, and inner strength to help her young adult daughter gain full remission after over a decade of illness and clinician set inaccurate weights
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floating
Mec

I am continually amazed by how awesome parents are on this site and the long journey you have been on with your D is evidence that if love could cure an ED they would all be well on their way to recovery...........

Your story is inspiring but what stands out the most is the courage and strength you and your family have shown and love your last 2 lines about HOME being a place she can always eat. 

Thanks for sharing. Hope Christmas and the coming year is full of great surprises..........x 


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Torie
Hi mec - Thanks for the update. I've been thinking of you and your d - I knew you would be a great support to your d, but still nice to have a chance to read the next chapter. Please be sure to continue updating us from time to time.

xx

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

I am glad to hear you continue to find a path forward with her.  Thank you so much for updating us, it helps all of us to hear a longer term outcome.  As another mom of a child with a young onset-- mine had just turned 10 at dx (my name on here was basil then) --, it is so heartening to hear that despite all your d is not relapsing. I so want to hear what has happened with the early onset children as they become adults.   I am so sorry she has had more challenges though.  I send you all very best wishes.

And not that you need a vote on it, but I am totally with you on sharing food with our children.

 By the way, I work in a professional office and one of our staff a highly skilled professional woman, who is from a Hispanic immigrant family, has dinner along with her 3 kids at her mom's and dad's home every night. That sure helps her pull off being a working single mom.   Several other sibs show up for mom's dinners. It is a home of love for sure.  And when I was in professional school, after having gone to college across country from my family, I lived near my grandparents and during finals I'd go stay with them so my grandma could feed me my meals while I studied. Those are very sweet memories.  I think you are not a bit weakening her, you are strengthening her! Literally and metaphorically  [wink]  Hugs to you and her
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mec
Thanks for the good wishes, votes of confidence, etc.

When d moved out and her life started unraveling (and I mean spiraling out of control - though thankfully no drugs involved), it was the most frightening thing we've ever had to deal with.  It was more scary than ED because at least with ED we had a team supporting the family and we had control over her life as a minor. This time, our hands were tied behind out backs. She didn't want ANY of our support and in fact went into hiding from us for a few weeks, when we tried to stage an intervention with her former flatmate. At that point, we knew that it was time to let go and we did. It took me about 2 months but I was able to let go of her emotionally as well. I had to learn to love unconditionally in spite of all the ugliness that surrounded her departure and estrangement.

Slowly, she came around and we have worked REALLY hard at re-building our relationship. My heart is not broken anymore. Yes, it has been broken but has been mended and now it is tender with scars. I have learned to find great peace and joy in the midst of very challenging circumstances. In a way, it is freeing, because I am/we are  not responsible for her life any longer. If she suffers, it is all because of the choices that she is  making. Yes, she has mental illness but she still is making choices that make her life hell (in her own words).

Also, her departure has a silver lining. We are not yanked like a roller coaster of emotional upheaval every time she changes her mind, of she dips or she is angry. That "gift" belongs to her boyfriend and herself now. Setting boundaries has meant that I choose what I hear, engage in or participate in about her life. It means that I don't try to fix her or fix her circumstances, and that I can say "call your T or you need to figure this out yourself". P.S. Because she doesn't want to hear the truth about her life and how what she does harms her profoundly. It also means that our son has been allowed to bloom in a beautiful way. He is doing fantastic and participating in things that he could or would never do before because he lived under his sister's shadow.

We have great T support for ourselves. She has her own team, who has NOTHING to do with us, other than us paying the bills. It is total triangulation and parentectomy, but we see good results, so we pay the bills for her to get some coping skills.

Life can be good even in the midst of bad....
21 year old daughter who was DX with RAN at 9 years old. The work of recovery is ongoing. 
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YogurtParfait_US
Mec, just catching up with your story, and wanted you to know I'm rooting for your family and daughter. Hang in there!
"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
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WeNWinning
Rooting for you as well  and it does sound like you have done some very necessary and tough work to get to this new place.  That you see progress with your D's team that does work on teaching her skills is a positive and even more positive that you have your own T that is helping  you while you see your son blossom.

You will take one day at a time and it must be a relief not to feel responsible for all that happens to her.  Hopefully with the T's help she will learn from the consequences of her decisions.
I know too well, how hard it is when they have a boyfriend who does not support them in the way they really need.
Sending hugs and hope
WenWinning (formerly wenlow) - a Mom who has learned patience, determination, empathy, and inner strength to help her young adult daughter gain full remission after over a decade of illness and clinician set inaccurate weights
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