F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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Mcmartin30
My 12 yo D is about 4 weeks into FBT refeeding. Some days seem easy- eats what she’s given without complaining and seems relaxed. On others though, the smallest thing will set off a tantrum like I’ve never seen- screaming, throwing things, scratching herself. They start with tears and panic as if I’ve handed her a plate of snakes to eat, followed by a verbal loop where she counts calories of everything presented to her, then it erupts into screaming and thrashing, and eventually guilt at how she has acted. These can go on for over an hour. They are terrifying and hard to manage. I’m guessing many on the forum have experienced this and I’m hoping you can provide some reassurance that they’ll eventually pass. We’ve talked about doing deep breathing, etc to mitigate, but in the heat of the moment there is no talking her down. It has also made introduction of “new” foods hard, as we have to try to keep to the weekends or evenings when there is time to allow for the freak outs ( we both work full time during the week). On a side note, our FBT counselor said that per FBT we should not be unwrapping foods prior to giving them to her or “ sneaking” calories into things; she said per FBT it should all be out in the open. I cannot see how that’s possible so early on, especially given calorie counting is such a trigger! Any guidance is appreciated.
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teecee
Welcome McMartin30
I want to reassure you that this is normal ED behaviour but I agree it is scary when it happens... so much so I took my daughter to A&E as I was worried that she was going to fit she got so anxious and hot.
Unfortunately there is no way around it only through it. When you see the beast (ED) as in this incidence only then can you slay it. We saw these behaviours at their worst right before weight restoration when anxiety was at its highest. Now she is maintaining weight we have not had this. You may want to search ‘extinction burst’ on this forum as there is a good thread with videos re it - it demonstrates extinction burst in horses...we are animals after all but it will help you to understand why it happens and how to react.
Repeating calm mantras will help and repeatedly telling her you love her and will keep her safe. This calmed my D and she said that our voices broke through to her when locked in this type of behaviour when her head was ‘loud.’
It will get better ... keep swimming. Xxx
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Torie
Mcmartin30 wrote:
On a side note, our FBT counselor said that per FBT we should not be unwrapping foods prior to giving them to her or “ sneaking” calories into things; she said per FBT it should all be out in the open. I cannot see how that’s possible so early on, especially given calorie counting is such a trigger!


Oh dear, this FBT counselor is not someone I would want on my team.   In particular, I would go to fairly great lengths to keep her from interacting with my d.  It will make your job many times more difficult if she says these things to your d.  

Your d is 12.  It is not her job to read food labels or evaluate the ingredients of your cooking.  YOUR job is to plan meals, shop, cook, serve; your d's ONLY job is to eat what you serve.  (All of it.)  

You are the mom.  My advice to you is this:  Do not let this woman undermine your authority to feed your kid what she needs.  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Enn
Mcmartin30,
You are still in the very early days of challenging ED. These tantrums are common and you do need to fight through them. It is hard to talk them down during that time. I wonder if you planned some distractions at the meal times, if that may help you and her get through it more calmly. Maybe a video on the computer, reading to her, music, cards etc.. ?
There may be something that helps. But also, maybe this is a stage and will get better with time and food and more food. It does get better. I know it is hard to see that in the moment. 

"our FBT counselor said that per FBT we should not be unwrapping foods prior to giving them to her or “ sneaking” calories into things; she said per FBT it should all be out in the open. I cannot see how that’s possible so early on, especially given calorie counting is such a trigger! "
I think "legally"they need to say that as they are "going by the evidence" in the manual. Our team never discussed adding in extras, but when I told them they agreed that I should. Would have been nice to know at the beginning and not weeks into it!! So keep adding in the calories secretly, and over time as your child gets used to the routine of meals and gains weight, you can increase volumes. It really is not one size fits all, but what I have seen here over and over and over is that many of us DO put extras in the meals just to get the weight up. It makes it easier for us too at the beginning that we are giving enough and so that they gain and right now that is your end game.

XXX

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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debra18
My daughter is also 12. I did not "lie" to her. If she would ask me what was in something I would say "it's what you need to be healthy." I don't discuss calories with her. If I find a higher calorie bread and she asks why I switched, I say "it's healthier for you." I didn't sneak calories into things. I cooked the same foods the same ways she liked them. The way I get in extra calories is with two high calorie drinks a day. If she needs more, I put more toppings into the drink. When she tells me she doesn't want the shake anymore , I tell her "trust me, you need it for your health. You have a high metabolism. ". Whatever she says, I do not engage in a discussion. I only say "trust me. This is what you need."
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ValentinaGermania
This is normal ED beahviour. I would bet it occurs more often with "new" or fear food. Try to get through it, maybe leave the room for a short time to stay calm.
IT WILL GET BETTER.
With every week you go through and every kg she gains it gets better. Mark your calender with red days for tantrum days, yellow days for "normal" Ed days and green days for good days. You will see that there will be less red days and more green ones in a few months.

"On a side note, our FBT counselor said that per FBT we should not be unwrapping foods prior to giving them to her or “ sneaking” calories into things; she said per FBT it should all be out in the open."
The FBT manual says that the parents are in charge for food intake. It is your decision how you do that and that is ALL she should say to your d. Be careful. A wrong word in an appointment can damage your work of the whole week.
I would talk to the FBT counselor BEFORE the next apointment WITHOUT your d and make that clear. YOU ARE IN CHARGE. She does not refeed your d.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Torie
scaredmom wrote:
"our FBT counselor said that per FBT we should not be unwrapping foods prior to giving them to her or “ sneaking” calories into things; she said per FBT it should all be out in the open. I cannot see how that’s possible so early on, especially given calorie counting is such a trigger! "
I think "legally"they need to say that as they are "going by the evidence" in the manual. 


Sorry, scaredmom, but I don't agree that they need to say that.  We had a few visits with one of the top FBT centers in the US, and what they said was what Tina reports: They told my d to eat whatever I served her.  They didn't say anything that remotely resembled leaving on labels and not "sneaking."  If anything, I think FBT might "legally" prohibit them from saying these things. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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Enn
As I said further on, Torie,
Our team did not discuss adding in foods as per their manualised protocols, but when I asked them the said I should. Our team too said that parents knew best but did not offer how to increase calories.  Our group tended to just look/follow  at the "book" and only when the parents found other ways would they give input. 
I felt our team was obligated but their rules NOT to suggest adding in things but did not deter us. I wonder if I was misunderstood in that post or that my words/meaning were not clear. 
XXX
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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tammy
Hi ,
This time last year our lives were on hold due to the awful tantrums due to re feeding. We could have six hours a day of horrific tantrums then the guilt and tears. My then eight year old son was like an animal lashing out at everyone, destroying property, trying to hurt himself.
We found that Eva Musbys books and videos really helped us understand what was going on. It was absolute terror that was causing these behaviours. We worked on distraction- funny videos, games etc. We tried to stay as calm and soothing as possible but also firm. This built a good trust between us. We did not blame him for tantrums and gave plenty of cuddles and soothing afterwards. We found that a short walk after dinner soothed him. We did not try reasoning with him as this did not work.
We bought a punch bag and tried to encourage him to use that when he was building up to a tantrum. We set clear boundaries of what was acceptable and what was not. He was allowed to shout and punch the punch bag but could not destroy property, hurt himself or us.
We worked on getting calories anyway possible. I tried not to let him see me prepare food. I added butter, cream , oil etc. If he asked about things I would say that I was giving him exactly what he needed and that he could trust me to look after him.
High calorie drinks such as full fat drinks and smoothies saved us as because he was so young he did not equate with it being food.
The tantrums gradually started to subside as weight went on. A year on and tantrums are well and truly a thing of the past! He is better natured now than he was before.
Stay strong and you will get through this.
Tammy
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freedomfighter
Yes, it passes.  We re-fed for 5.5 months.  The first month was horrific, as you describe, most if not every day.  Then the balanced shifted a bit, still some terrible days but other more featureless days (though, for us, always hate-filled towards us).  Gradually gradually though a routine kicks in, and your resilience grows (anti-depressants were enormously helpful for me, for the anxiety and stress in my body).  We all took the rough with the smooth without remarking much on it.  Then after 5 months D started slowly to come back.  She is eating normally now, periods back after two years, still dealing with terrible anxiety etc, but ready and willing now to engage in therapy and do the work of recovery for herself.  Still a difficult place to be in but incomparably better to helplessly watching a child starve themselves. Keep going.  You have nothing nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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freedomfighter
ps yes totally agree with everyone else to ignore that advice by therapist about openly discussing calories etc.  wtf????????  You are taking charge of your child's food choices so...take charge.  You don't need to lie, just don't discuss them with your D, you won't be doing her a favour by being transparent about calories, you will be giving ED ammunition against her!
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ValentinaGermania
Hi freedomfighter,
nice to have you back! How are you?
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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freedomfighter
Hi Tina, usually these days I stick to the Facebook group (my name is Wendy May Jacobs on that) (befriend me also, if you would like to!).  Glad to hear your D is now at Uni, well done!!!!  Our D is doing A-levels and very very stressed and over-working big-time.  But she is eating well, and managing her food herself, apart from evenings.  Of course, I am watching her like a hawk!  So we still have a long way to go, but hopefully we are getting there. x
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ValentinaGermania
Sorry, I have no facebook and do not want to start it (I do not even have a smartphone, I think I am REALLY old fashioned!).
Great to hear that your d is doing well! Try to get her off the desk regularly so she cannot work for A levels ALL day...[wink]
Evenings still a bit difficult here, too, we still eat dinner in front of TV.

I am sure you will get there, too.
Uni is a big transition again and not easy, especially eating in the cafeteria if the others do NOT join her (with the others it is NO problem). And new timetable throws times for meals and snacks around...last Friday she had not eaten for 7 hours (for different reasons) and she had a severe shut down in the afternoon (not seen that for more than 6 months). Still watching her like a hawk, too. Hope we will both see them fly, soon!

Keep us updated! It was nice to hear from you!
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mjkz
They last as long as you let them keep going on.  As blunt as that may be, I followed the same philosophy as Tammy.  I set very clear boundaries from day 1 about what was acceptable and not acceptable with my daughter.  I used distraction as Tammy did and set up a place in the house for her to go when she was overwhelmed.  I made sure it was "soft" (lined the walls with cotton batting and pillows), weighted blankets, different combinations of soft and hard, textured things-anything that she could use to help calm herself down when she felt out of control.  She had a punching bag too as well as nerf bats to beat on things.  I would keep an eye on her in the room to make sure she didn't hurt herself but she had very clear rules and boundaries about what I would take and what I wouldn't.  I had to for my own sanity and also because I felt like letting her rage and be out of control at home wasn't going to help her learn to deal with what was driving that behavior. I also saw that it rarely occurred when other people were around or she was in public so I knew she could exert a certain level of control over her behavior and also any of the inpatient programs she as in shut down that behavior instantly.  The nurses, doctors and mental health workers would not accept abusive behavior or out of control behavior and I just continued that at home.
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