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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Stephani
Hi, my daughter (15) was diagnosed as anorexia a month ago. We met the adolescent specialist twice so far. Is it normal that the doctor is so... cold? She asked questions like, what she eats, how much, how many times etc., that's no problem.
But I feel very intimidated by her tone of voice. 

I told her that my daughter has been doing very well, she stopped refusing to eat full portion, or serving less portion. 
We cook together and eat the same things. 
As her school is small, I don't want to ask school nurse to sit next to her during the lunch break because it will make her depressed.
She has a group of friends and they go out together, and she consults with me what she would order.
Then her friend (whose mother supports us) reports me everyday what she ate and if she finished everything. 
I said, "I know you are not happy with this arrangement, but I would like to try this way for a couple of months. If her weight does not improve, we will try another way." 
Then the doctor says, "You don't need to make me happy. I tell you what works in this issue. I am not here to be popular. It's fine if the patients hate me. Actually it is quite common."
She also said, "Your daughter is not allowed to be in the kitchen. She has ZERO say to menu, planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. You need to detach everything to do with food from her brain."

I think the point is to remove shame and guilt from her mind, but with this approach, I am not sure if we can achieve that. Cooking and trying different cuisine has been our life. No sports, no cooking / baking.... its a lot to strip away from a hight school girl.... 
But this is the only way to recover...?
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melstevUK
Hi stephani,

It sounds as if you and your d had started to make some progress.

In terms of the psychiatrist, however, it does not matter what the tone of her voice is.  It sounds as if she really understands the illness and is working to the best of her ability to help your d and turn things around.

Nothing matters right now other than that your d should gain weight.  You don't want to upset your d in any way and that is normal and human.

You say your d was diagnosed only a month ago.  Has she gained weight in that time with the way you are doing things?  This is what counts.  If she has not gained weight then this is ed pulling the wool over your eyes,

Your d is not going to recover without weight gain and eating enough.  Assess what has happened over the past month.  But this psychiatrist sounds as if she really understands what is needed so try and see beyond her way of dealing with patients and their families.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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Stephani

[QUOTE username=melstevUK userid=882528 postid=1310772012]Hi stephani,

You say your d was diagnosed only a month ago.  Has she gained weight in that time with the way you are doing things? 

******

Hi, thank you for your insight. Yes, the weight has stabilized and she gained about 1kg. It’s not something to brag about or be proud of because it’s not enough, the doc says. I’m not allowed to give a positive comment... it is tough. Life seems colourless at the moment.... 

 

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Foodsupport_AUS
Stephani wrote:

Hi stephani,

You say your d was diagnosed only a month ago.  Has she gained weight in that time with the way you are doing things? 

******

Hi, thank you for your insight. Yes, the weight has stabilized and she gained about 1kg. It’s not something to brag about or be proud of because it’s not enough, the doc says. I’m not allowed to give a positive comment... it is tough. Life seems colourless at the moment.... 

 



1 kg is a good start but as you have said more needs to go on. Great job on doing this. 

Although I understand why you feel that the doctors suggestions may make your D even more miserable and life harder, you will find that many parents have had to do all of those things and more. Not everything is needed in every case however one thing you should be aware of is that the faster weight goes on in early treatment the better chance of full recovery and faster recovery. This does mean making life miserable for the short term with a view to long term gain. The harder you attack this, including placing restrictions on yours and your D's life to achieve this the better your chances. Chronic illness is an issue with anorexia, with many only having partial recovery. Your doctor may not seem empathetic but they are expressing things that most of us have found to be true. 
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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PleaseEAT

It’s likely your d physciatrist knows every trick in the ed book

 

Yes my d specialists seemed very “cold” too

They are dealing with a serious life threatening illness so can come across as very serious and “cold” but when you think about it so they should be it’s no laughing matter

 

In the beginning when my d was VERY ill My d despised her physciatrist and after appointments she would cry and become very agitated for a long time and express how much she hated her physc but surprisingly enough now holds her physciatrist in VERY high respect as she now realises that her physciatrist knows the ED and in fact saved her life

My d is also now very happy and keen to go to appointments

 

The ed had the wool over my eyes in the beginning (even tho at at that time I thought I was very vigilant/knowledgeable)but I was very naive to all the tricks of ED - weights in shoes/blatant lying about eating/purging/exercising in secret

 

I wish I had the expert help you seem to have got very early on in the illness, please listen/have faith in your d specialists it’s a very complex,sneaky cunning illness and your once honest d will lie about eating and anything food related at every opportunity

 

In my experiences I would be VERY careful about having friends monitor your d consumption as somehow ED can tick everyone around them into thinking they’ve eaten (no one watches like a mother does IMOP)

I sometimes even got tricked if I turned my head or left the table for a minute
my adult non ED d even got tricked by the ED whilst my ed d was under her care 🙁

 

This illness sucks but I’m only trying to warn you as I wished I was “wised” up in the beginning and then maybe I still wouldn’t be worrying/paying for treatment 3 1/2 years later

 

Although I now also realise this isn’t a quick fix illness some cases are more complex than others

Just a word of warning that not always simply WR cures all, often that is just the beginning

 

I do wish you and your d a speedy recovery, early intervention is the key and it seems you are lucky enough to have this

 

All the best

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Enn

I actually have to agree with those who posted above. Your specialist needs to be firm with ED.  I think she sound sreally on top of ED!! You are fortunate, hard to understand that now.
My d's pediatrician said to d, " I don't care if you like me. I am here to keep you alive. My goal is to help you grow up and have a family of your own, if you wish. I love her pediatrician. I will invite her to my d's wedding! 

You write:"Cooking and trying different cuisine has been our life. No sports, no cooking / baking.... its a lot to strip away from a hight school girl.... "
A lot of this can be ED too. I think it is a kindness to be honest to keep her away from food related things. It can be triggering.
It does not mean forever, it means it is necessary now.  Yes the sports may need to be stopped. Right  now you are in "Acute" mode. There is the weight gain that has to be achieved. She is ill and so those "normal" things may not be part of her life right now. That is ok, it really is. The fact with ED is that all what you thought was normal is not anymore. Things have to change to get rid of ED. I know my life turned upside down once we got the diagnosis. 

Great she gained 1 kg but there is a lot more that is likely needed. Keep going, just keep going. 
How can we help?

 

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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MKR
Your specialist could perhaps have said it nicer, but she is absolutely right to get your daughter moved from food preparation. Because your daughter needs to learn to trust you, trust others to serve her meals. She needs to become confident enough to eat whatever you have served her, with no fear foods. Her brain is preoccupied with food, even she might find it hard to stop those thoughts. 

There will come a time again, in the future, when your young lady will be joining you in the kitchen. But this may take years. Doing it too early might make things worse. 
Mum's Kitchen

14-y-o "healthy living" led to AN in 2017 and WR at 16. Current muscle dysmorphia.
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Torie

Hi Stephani, I had the great good fortune of having one of the top ED experts in the world only one hour away and was able to take my d to see her.  I have to wonder if this is who you are seeing.  They sound exactly the same!

I hate to misquote her, but she said something like (wistfully) "I have had to come to terms with many of my patients hating me."

Dealing with this vile illness is extremely counter-intuitive and generally terrible.  Yes, it is much better if she stays out of the kitchen, has no say in shopping, menu planning, cooking etc.  Yes it is much better if all sports stop.  Yes it is a lot to strip away from a teenage girl, but it is SO worth it.

This is a tough illness, and it is a killer.  It destroys lives and families.  It is worth a lot to beat it out of your house as quickly as possible, and most here will tell you that is the hardest thing we have ever done.  

Many, many people here have had to contend with uninformed "professionals" who take a softer approach.  They would give their right arm to have someone take the needed firm stand you describe.  It sounds like you have found a real gem. 

I have to ask: Are you in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Best xx

-Torie

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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ValentinaGermania
I will tell you something about how people normally react to my advice because I am a person that tends to be a bit blunt and direct and not all parents do like that at the start.

There are two parties of parents in my ED experience: those who like to have a clear word and a direct advice and want to hear "do this and do that and it will get better" and they do this and that and it gets better in most cases.

And then there is this other party of parents that think "I cannot do this to my child, she loves cooking and backing, she will get depressed when I take that away and we will lose our good relationship when we are too strict". Normally these parents go the more bumpy way but see in the end that most things that I suggested to do were good ideas and that they did well with following this advice. I was one of these parents at the start, too. I wish I would have been one of the party above because I would not have lost so much time.

I did not like what I heard from the therapist and from some experienced parents here too. I often thought this is not necessary and why are they so strict and is there no other way to do that. After 3 years I can tell you that we needed to do most of the advices as they WERE necessary and that I lost a lot of time NOT listening to the old rabbits and that I always went well with doing what they recommended.

To help you with getting together with your therapist:
Can you ask the therapist to get you into contact with some parents of recovered children she has worked with?
It helped me a lot to speak to those and see that it works what they do...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Barberton
I'd be interested in what others here think about this - can it be helpful to have a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" arrangement with a doctor? Times when a parent can say, "Don't blame me! The mean doctor says we must do this!" Do you think it could help take some of the pressure off of parents, or is it just avoiding taking the bull by the horns and asserting authority?
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.
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Enn
Barberton wrote:
I'd be interested in what others here think about this - can it be helpful to have a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" arrangement with a doctor? Times when a parent can say, "Don't blame me! The mean doctor says we must do this!" Do you think it could help take some of the pressure off of parents, or is it just avoiding taking the bull by the horns and asserting authority?


that is what happened here. Doctor and team took all the blame . Oh I still got a lot but I could always say ‘well that is what the team said so we are doing that’.
it helped.
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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ValentinaGermania
Barberton wrote:
I'd be interested in what others here think about this - can it be helpful to have a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" arrangement with a doctor? Times when a parent can say, "Don't blame me! The mean doctor says we must do this!" Do you think it could help take some of the pressure off of parents, or is it just avoiding taking the bull by the horns and asserting authority?


I blamed all that I needed to do on specialists advice (even if the "specialists" were the old rabbits here) to get out of the line...😂
We also had some good cop/bad cop play within the family. Me the good cop and dad the bad cop when needed.
Whatever helps to get through that...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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