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

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Yellowsunflower
Hi

My daughter is 17 and has had Anorexia since she was 15, she is currently having a year out from school with the view of going to college in September. She isn't far off being WR and is eating 3 meals & 3 snacks a day, even though still having Anorexic thoughts.

One of my concerns is her confidence is so low and also now seems to have alot anxiety, is this something that other people have experienced and if so any advice on how to deal with this. Is it all part of the condition?

I feel that it would be so good if she could go back to school so therefore she wouldn't be so isolated but I am worried that this will just be too much for her.

Thank you for any advice
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ValentinaGermania
You write she is not WR up to now, so I suppose brain recovery has not started up to now.
In that case I would really rethink that idea with college in September...this might be way to early. Normally the experts recommend them to be at least WR for a year to go to college/university. AN recovery takes a lot of time.

School is good for socialising but after AN it needs a slow start and supervision. So if she could go to a college near by and still live at home and do only half days for the start this would be possible.

To answer your question, it is normal that self esteem is low and anxiety is high in AN recovery and often these symtoms increase again around WR (see "extinction burst" here). My d was same age as yours when she was in refeeding and we worked on that like fear food, we tackled anxieties with slow but steady expostion. Self confidence got better with every months past WR and with every year we are past AN now (my d is 20 now).

In your last thread you wrote she is 15 and nearly WR in May 2019. Is it another d or is it a mistake and same d - that would mean no progress since then? Can we help you to turn that around and get her WR and brain recovery started?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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teecee

Oh absolutely....here anxiety went hand in hand it’s the AN. We have spent a lot of time helping her build resilience and managing anxiety. For us, encouraging and supporting her to try new things has paid dividends but it hasn’t been without drama. 

Extinction burst was horrendous right before WR but the more she has fed and grown the more confident she seems to have become. She tries to challenge herself but asks for support sometimes. For example she thrives at public speaking but if she has to go and ask about a class or interest she wants to pursue she will ask for one of us to go with her. 


Keep encouraging her to try new things and stretch those comfort zone boundaries. 

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Torie
Hello, I'm a little confused as I think you are in UK and so she would have the choice of 6th form (at home) or college (away)?  Is that how it works?  Is 6th form an option?  Sorry if I am still confused about your system and writing nonsense as a result. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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debra18
I was able to make a homeschool co-op in the morning and my daughter does online schooling in the afternoon. She also becomes anxious with too much pressure from school and in large groups. Can you do online schooling from home? My daughter also goes to painting and karate lessons in a group for socializing. Do you have some kind of group recreational classes where you live that won't be any pressure?
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Yellowsunflower
Ronson wrote:

Hi

For many anxiety increases nearer to weight restoration and will start to subside a number of months after WR. My d has been WR+ for some time but is still unfortunately battling her anxiety.  She is on medication to assist with this.  My d attends school - it does make her very anxious but she enjoys the interactions and would not want to not go at all.   For some though it might just be too much; especially if you are still at that delicate stage of getting complete WR.  If she is going to college in September then this may be soon enough.  What about things like volunteering ? My d volunteers and this has helped her self confidence and she also mixes with other girls outside of school in doing this.


I have suggested volunteering but she isn't really that keen to do anything, it is a fine line as I think she feels I am too controlling, so I am trying to back off but I would really like her to do something, as apart from coming to yoga with me one a week, she hardly has any interaction with anyone apart from the family.

She does have a few friends but only sees them about once a month and she would struggle to initiate anything, again I do try to encourage her to contact them more to meet up but it is probably seen as nagging.
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Yellowsunflower
teecee wrote:

Oh absolutely....here anxiety went hand in hand it’s the AN. We have spent a lot of time helping her build resilience and managing anxiety. For us, encouraging and supporting her to try new things has paid dividends but it hasn’t been without drama. 

Extinction burst was horrendous right before WR but the more she has fed and grown the more confident she seems to have become. She tries to challenge herself but asks for support sometimes. For example she thrives at public speaking but if she has to go and ask about a class or interest she wants to pursue she will ask for one of us to go with her. 


Keep encouraging her to try new things and stretch those comfort zone boundaries. 

Its good to know that this is part of the condition. I am so keen for her to try new things but as I put in an earlier post, I think she just feels that I am nagging her a lot and that she has no control over her life.

Do I step back and hope that she in her own time will come round to wanting to do more or do I keep trying to push her in that direction?
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ValentinaGermania

Do I step back and hope that she in her own time will come round to wanting to do more or do I keep trying to push her in that direction?


I can only tell you that here we needed to push for everything. Going out of the house, see her friends, get back to life. She might have seen that as controlling and nagging in that time but I ignored that 🙂 and now looking back she is grateful that we did that. She would not have been able to do that alone and every minute she was alone with ED was a lost minute.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Foodsupport_AUS
This is very common as you can see. I found arranging activities worked for her, based on her interests and likes. We saw a lot of movies too, just getting her out of the house was important. At this stage my D wouldn't see kids her own age unless a "play date" was arranged. She was very reluctant. She felt much safer with adults, but that could still be good for starting to re-engage with normal life. 
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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teecee

My D would accuse me of being stifling and controlling when I seriously wasn’t .... it was a fine balancing act between acting as though I was standing back but watching everything if that makes sense? When their brain heals they certainly thank you for watching and monitoring. 

My D fought aggressively to allow independent feeding but now states she should never have been allowed to do that as she was too unwell....I thoroughly agree with her. Stick with what you feel is right as mum/dad/carer

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melstevUK
Hi Yellowsunflower,

As your d is now 17 I assume she has acquired a number of GCSEs?  If she is going to college in September, that sounds sensible and achievable.  I can't see the point  in putting her back into school in mid February - what is she going to achieve in the way of qualifications?

Her anxiety is both understandable and may be related to the anorexia and lower than optimal weight but may also be part of her psychological makeup. 

What does she want to do with her life?  What are her career or future plans?  What is going to help her most with carrying on with as normal life as possible?  
If she chooses not to return to school and to go to college in September, you have to prepare her for this - she will be new and it will all be different, but it will be the same for everyone else in her year group.

In the meantime - could she find a part-time job or do voluntary work?  She needs to have structure and meaning and purpose in her days while she is waiting to return to her studies, and you both need to focus on getting her to eat enough so that her weight goes up.  

Her future matters as much as her present right now.  Try and think about what you are trying to achieve and where she wants to go and focus on moving towards that, all while pushing her through more weight gain and into recovery.  Sending her back into school does not sound like a viable option to me - but only you have the full picture in terms of her education.
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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melstevUK
Yellowsunflower,

I assume your d has achieved a number of GCSEs as she is now 17.   I am not sure of the benefits of putting her back into school in mid February as what would she achieve in terms of qualifications if you were to return her to school now.  Planning for college sounds like a good plan - in the meantime could she get a part-time job or do some kind of volunteering work? 
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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WeRnotdone
Yellowsunflower,
   I notice the same with my daughter. The more food and weight increases anxiety. The restricting seems to numb the feelings. Also trying to figure out how to send D to college in September. She got a part time job and it has helped her grow tremendously. I suggest a job where she interacts with people. They learn how to interact with people save money and it builds self confidence. 😊
D Diagnosed with AN age 15 around 9/2017. First regression close to WW wanting to eat healthier. 2nd regression started self harm with inpatient stay for suicidal thoughts. 18 now and fighting to get out of 3rd down slide.
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Yellowsunflower
melstevUK wrote:
Yellowsunflower,

I assume your d has achieved a number of GCSEs as she is now 17.   I am not sure of the benefits of putting her back into school in mid February as what would she achieve in terms of qualifications if you were to return her to school now.  Planning for college sounds like a good plan - in the meantime could she get a part-time job or do some kind of volunteering work? 
Yellowsunflower,

Yes I really think that getting a part-time job or volunteering would be good, but as her confidence is so low i don't think this will be something that she will initiate herself.
Do I do it and be seen as interfering/controlling?
Tricky.
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ValentinaGermania
She will see ALL that you d as interfering/controlling.
But as you say she will not do that herself or initiate anything like that.
We did need to do all that to get our d out of the house and back to life too.
And she was very thankful that we did it afterwards when we could talk about it.
Give it a try. She cannot say more than NO...🙂
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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