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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londonmum
Hello everyone and it's good to be here. I've spent hours going through the threads already on here and found a lot of excellent advice already but still feel totally lost and scared.

My 14yo daughter was an inpatient for 5 months - now home and an outpatient on FBT based programme here in London. She was OK when first home and we have stuck to 3 meals and 3 snacks a day but she is increasingly showing AN behaviours, trying to cut calories where she can and lying to me about what she's eaten.

I go in to have lunch with her at school but last Friday we tried her coming home for lunch and she flatly refused to eat what I provided, insisting on another sandwich with lower calories. I stayed calm for 45 minutes (I've been reading Eva Musby's book!), quietly insisting she eat up and that it was safe to do so. It ended with her shrieking and hammering on the front door that I'd had to lock to stop her bolting, calling me every name under the sun and yelling for help.

In the end, I had to unlock the door to let in the neighbour who had come to help and she ran off. I then spent two hours driving around with the police looking for her (they were lovely) and she finally called me so we could bring her home.

This morning she took her milk into the bathroom and, when I confronted her, swore she had drunk it. I don't believe her for one second so tomorrow I will have to insist she drinks it in front of me. Her need to control what she eats is rising by the day and much as I try to stay strong and calm, asserting that I am simply trying to help her, this is killing me.

Her rages are awful to see and I am so sad to see the weight dropping off her once more. She won't engage in therapy and never has - she has now started refusing to be weighed and all I can see ahead is hospital once more. It was a horrible experience for her the first time around and I am desperate to avoid it. I'm trying now to add surreptitious calories where I can with milk, oil and butter but she is suspicious of everything. I'm on my own with her and this is so very hard. Any help or tips would be gratefully received.
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Mom2DD
Oh, I am so very sorry, this seem very serious once again. Five months and now relapsing must be heart breaking. It seems you are correct in her behaviors and it may be wise to get help again right away. 

I know there will be other gals on here soon offering great advice in no time. Sadly, my D has always complied (so far anyway) so I don't have experience with refusal and negative behavior issues.

I wish you all the best, I am also doing this alone and understand the extra stress this adds.

HUGS to you!!!
I truly believe if love were medicinal, our children would all be cured! 


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londonmum
Thank you and especially for the hugs.

This is such a horrible illness and anything that helps us feel less alone is such a boost.
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Torie
Hi Londonmum - So sorry you needed to join us here. 

It's great that you are going in to have lunch with your d and requiring her to have 3 meals + 3 snacks. I'm trying to understand what the situation is at present - is this correct? You require her to finish her breakfast before heading off to school, and she has morning snack at school (supervised?) and then you meet her for lunch at school most days. Then she comes home for afternoon snack (?) and then dinner with you and then evening snack. Right? 

And the problem is Ed is digging in "his" heels and fighting tooth and nail to try to reduce the nutrition. It's a hellish battle, I know, but you are doing a great job figuring out the minefield and closing loopholes. Is it possible for you to require her to stay out of the kitchen while you prepare meals/snacks?

Have you tried adding at least one smoothie a day? Many here have found that's a great way to add nutrition without creating a huge pile of food on the plate. Some have found that if they wake their d up with a smoothie in hand, it goes down relatively easily and then D can just roll over and go back to sleep. (Sometimes Ed isn't fully awake in those first minutes, it seems.) That gets the day off to a good start.

It's also great that you've been reading Eva's book. Have you seen her videos? This video was a tremendous help to me in the early days:



Please feel free to ask all the questions you would like. And please remember, it DOES get better.

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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londonmum
Thanks Torie and great suggestions - she is very smoothie resistant but I will try the idea of waking her up with one. Yes, that is how our day goes although I am going to call school tomorrow and ask that she goes to the medical room to have her morning snack as she had been allowed to have it in the classroom, not always supervised, because she was doing much better. At the moment I am literally shooing her out of the kitchen as she tries to hover and control things. Not easy but managed it today...and taking it one day at a time...

I haven't seen Eva's videos so will watch those later this evening. I think I might adopt that as my mantra...'It does get better.' xx
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happiness
HI londonmum,

I am a london Mum too. My daughter comes home every day for lunch and she is not going back before she has finished her lunch. She always has a smoothie after lunch. It was hard initially but it does get easier. She is now used to it and deep down is happy that she can eat at home. Maybe that would be an option for you too? 


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Psycho_Mom
Hi and Welcome to the Forum,

Here's what I think. YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB. You are on the right track. What you are doing is exactly the right thing, and that is why your d's ed is fighting back so hard. Because it knows that what you are doing will extinguish it. What you just need now is FOLLOW THROUGH. 

Eg:

"I go in to have lunch with her at school but last Friday we tried her coming home for lunch and she flatly refused to eat what I provided, insisting on another sandwich with lower calories. ...
and she finally called me so we could bring her home."

Geez, you locked the door, stayed calm, took her home from school for lunch. Seriously, you scared the heck out of ed. The only thing you neglected was to inform the neighbors of the situation (and who is going to think of everything first try?). NOW however, the neighbors AND the police know the situation and have proven helpful, so guess what? Your d knows it, too. She knows that even if she bolts, she is going to have to come home and she is going to have to eat.

Therefore, keep going. Do it again. No outlet, no escape; d must eat.

"This morning she took her milk into the bathroom and, when I confronted her, swore she had drunk it. I don't believe her for one second so tomorrow I will have to insist she drinks it in front of me. Her need to control what she eats is rising by the day and much as I try to stay strong and calm, asserting that I am simply trying to help her, this is killing me."

Yep, you'll need to watch her eat every bite.Take the locks off all the doors.

And remember, this isn't about control. Your d is terrified of eating, and will do anything, anything at all, to avoid it.

"She won't engage in therapy and never has"

Not unusual. She doesn't have to "engage", she just has to go. The same way she has to eat.

"She has now started refusing to be weighed."

That isn't good. That coupled with observable weight loss does indicate that she might need hospital soon (if not now). What support do you have to get her back to hospital, if just for a weight check? What does the FBT support service say; aren't they checking weights?

"I'm on my own with her and this is so very hard."

Hugs to you. This is the worst and hardest thing I have been through. It sounds like you have grasped the concept of Magic Plate and LSUYE, and that is no small thing. That is in fact, key. Now, you need to FOLLOW THROUGH, by having confidence that yes, what you are doing is the right thing, and the more determined you are to do it, and the longer you stick to it, the QUICKER in fact, you will get your d and yourself through this hell.

best wishes, keep posting and asking questions,
D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
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Trytrytry
Just a thought - does your neighbour know about what is going on? If you are alone it is so very very hard - and you did a great job, calling the police, letting her know that it is not appropriate behaviour.
If things escalate again is your neighbour able to help - maybe just their presence would be enough - ignore if a stupid suggestion just trying to brain storm. If she had a key and had permission to let themselves in when they hear things getting out of hand. Or if u don't want them to have a key put one under the door mat before meal so you don't have to leave her and open the door, giving her the opportunity to bolt or harm herself.

Another thought - is she really well enough to be at school at the moment. I know it can be an incentive to eat and also a much needed distraction for a lot of sufferers but maybe part-time where she only goes part of the day and has to earn returning for 'fun' activities.

Even if she is WR according to treatment mentally you know she has a long way to go. If she is at school you can add oils to foods still in heir containers so she doesn't see you do if while you prepare food. I found that worked for us. You will find certain foods can take a lot of hidden calories if you read around the forum.

Do you also have to watch for exercise - when they have a total panic attack/tantrum that can go for hours their heart is racing, they are moving, it is like running for a few hours and can burn LOTS of calories

5 months in hospital means she must have been very unwell. Did you have a good step home plan besides spending a few days overnight leave? I personally think it is a huge leap going from an extended IP stay where it is very structured and constant staff 24/7 to come home, where there is just you and go back to school doing the same as her peers. She has been very unwell. Think is she had been in hospital for 1/2 year with a physical illness, you would expect to need a lot of help d rehab to get back to life and time. I find this a good analogy to remember as it is easy to forget how sick they are/have been when they have regained some weight.

You are doing a great job.

Did I mention you were doing a great job and she is so lucky to have you looking after her. And we understand. It is impossible to explain to someone, and it sounds ridiculous what happens at meal times but the people here get it. Ask questions, just vent but you have done well but still have a way to go but you will get there
I want a realistic dr and team, not someone who says what I want to hear and not a 'touchy feely nice' dr that doesn't have success.
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londonmum
Your responses made me cry...in a good way! My neighbour does know the situation (she's a counsellor so very understanding) and to be honest it was escalating to the point where I was worried that my daughter might attack me. She's been very quiet since although no apology...but I don't expect one. I know her ED is raging against me but it's still very hard at times to separate the child from the disorder.

I'm going to call her head teacher this morning to talk about how she's doing at school and whether perhaps we need to ease back. I'm also going to call her outpatient team as I need to talk about where we go next. My main tactic at the moment is adding as many calories as possible to her food - last night she ate up her chicken in cream sauce laden with butter plus sweet potatoes sauteed in lots of olive oil. This morning I sat next to her as she downed her milk and pancakes. I am meeting her for lunch today and am going to take her to Caffe Nero where I know she likes their All Day Breakfast sandwich - again, calorie-laden. Tonight I will be adding in those calories again and will look around the forum today for more ideas.

And I'm just going to keep doing this, day after day with all your input making it easier because I feel like I'm doing something right. That's the hard part - the guilt and wondering where I went wrong that she went downhill again. But there's no point dwelling on that. I just need to get those calories in her any way I can.


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Foodsupport_AUS
You did not do anything wrong. You did not cause her to go backwards. It is typical of the illness that there are setbacks. 

Things that may have happened to set things off if she has gone backwards:
A school test coming up
A school test that she did not get the marks she expected of herself
Difficult relationships or other school issues
She has grown
She has lost weight, has she started exercising at school
She has had some negative comments about weight, eating etc.
Just because

All of these things and numerous others can cause an uptick in ED thoughts, and this is the result. You are doing really well. Keep up the feeding, be there for her support. It is a rocky road but trust that she will get there someday.
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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deenl
londonmum wrote:
That's the hard part - the guilt and wondering where I went wrong that she went downhill again. But there's no point dwelling on that. I just need to get those calories in her any way I can.


Your feelings are natural for all parents. But you didn't do anything wrong at all; it the nature of the beastly illness. You on your little lonesome are taking over ALL the tasks an entire TEAM did; they did it for 8 hour shifts, you are dealing with it 24/7. Also IP is a totally different system; entirely structured: real life is messy, unpredictable and full of social stressors. It is much more anxiety causing for you daughter and her ED is reacting to all the change. This wobbly period is TOTALLY normal and your plan and determination are just what is need to get through it. You go, girl.

Wishing you strength and success,
D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
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