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

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For months we have tried everything to get our 13 year old D to open up as to what is going on in her mind.  She seems so isolated.  We get glimpses of her but for the most part she has been very detached through the refeeding process with ongoing panic attacks, running away from the table...etc.  For weeks we made no progress on weight gain.  Finally, out of sheer frustration with our "team" and by encouraging stories I found on this site we decided to go it alone and reefed our daughter completely on our terms.  We have made steady weight gain this month and are beginning to see our daughter reappear very slowly.  We have started monitoring her vitals at home, she is continuing on with her weekly counseling (although she said it is really not helping) and we are set up to travel to UCSD in the next month and pray they can give us the direction we need to continue on with this fight successfully.

Now to the shocking part- as I said we have tried everyway to get some insight into what she is dealing with to no avail.  Last night as I walked by her room she stopped me and just started calmly talking.  She spilled one thing after another completely unprompted.  Here are a few things she shared with me.

-How she would throw away her lunch and snack at school everyday before her Dad starting going to the school to eat lunch with her daily.  We had suspected this was happening since she was not gaining weight but she had denied it over and over. 

-How she would discard her snacks in her room if we didn't watch her eat them all.  She even went in her closet and handed me a water bottle she had hidden with old snacks in it.  About a month ago we made it mandatory that all snacks be eaten in front of us.  She said the behavior of course stopped then.

-How she would set her clock for 2:00am and get up and walk around her room until 5:30 when the rest of the family would get up .  She doesn't have a large room at all so she was basically walking circles.   She said this stopped after we installed a camera in her room. 

-How she would sit in the back seat behind the driver on the way home from soccer practice so she could pour her high calorie Ensure drink in her empty water bottle instead of drinking it without anyone seeing her.   We have now pulled her from soccer and cross country but this is what she was doing during that time.

-She also shared how much she hates standing up.  I posted earlier that she is never still and doesn't like to sit.  She told me "it" will not let her be still or sit.  It makes her stand.  She went on to tell me how her knees hurt from standing so much.

-She shared how hungry she was when she was throwing her lunch and school snack away and still running cross country.  She said she couldn't wait for dinner and hoped we made her eat a lot.  Keep in mind these same meals where we would force her to eat normally would result in a panic attack.

-Finally, she told me that her dad and I didn't have to keep hiding the secret ingredients we were adding to her food.  She said she knew we were putting them in there to help her.  She went on to tell me she new we had heavy cream hidden in the lime juice bottle, real mayonnaise in the mustard bottle and on and on.  She said "You can keep doing it but you don't have to hide it from me anymore."  My mouth dropped open.  I had no idea that she knew and thought we had been doing  a pretty good job of hiding this.

Has anyone ever had their child open up like this in the midst of refeeding?  She still has a ton of ED tendencies like leaving small portions on her plate, standing up, anxiety...etc.  Where did this honestly come from?  Is this a good sign?  I want to believe it is but it seems like everything works backwards in this world.  If anything I left this conversation shocked by her honestly, embarrassed by how oblivious we had been to things going on right under our noses and most importantly, once again shook to my core by how evil this demon of an illness can be to our kids. 

Yes! My daughter as a healthy person is by nature as honest as the day is long, she has been eating well for nearly a month now and I see more and greater glimpses of the child ED stole and with that the kind of confessions you describe from your girl.

I just take each day as it comes and while it appears the ED voice is lessening a bit I’m completely on guard.
I don’t find it shocking though, it kind of confirmed what I already knew, we have to learn to outsmart AN as it’s a tricky beast, constantly changing and morphing.
Hi edengirl,
congratulations, that was your d coming back last night! That is a big step in recovery.
Try to have open ears to everything she is saying. My d gave us little hints like "you will make me eat chocolate next week, do you?" or "you will make me eat 8 Koettbullars, do you?". (I served 9!). It is so great when they start to come back...
And it shows all parents that are stuck in the dark days that the kids behind this ED are hungry and want to stop exercise and need our help to do that.
She was relieved when her dad came to eat with her. She was relieved when you installed that camera. She needed you to stop this behaviour by just making it impossible to continue.

Keep on swimming! You are on the right track!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wow, Edengirl

I am touched by the way your daughter opened up to you. It is a huge endorsement of all your efforts for her and of her trust in you. I am sure you are reading that as: 'Please keep feeding me and keeping me safe.'

If it gets tough in the future to fight ED, I am sure you will have her words etched in your memory;  she 100% wants you to fight for her when she can't.

Thank you for sharing. xx

Thanks edengirl for sharing this too. It's both heart warming and heart breaking to read.
My son is much younger but sometimes gives us little insights into what was going on in his mind. He is still partially proud of binning his lunch and recently revealed that he hid snacks and sweets in the garden as he thought his bedroom would be too obvious a place! I really need to go out there and dig them up!!
Your post reminded me of the agonising tension that our kids live with, desperately trying to keep ed happy and us off their backs. It's such a relief to know that your daughter's desire to resurrect ed have diminished. My son says he still wants to restrict when he gets older. He apparently can't wait to starve himself again. Here's hoping that all of our children can finally divorce themselves from this horror. Good luck to you and your daughter. Thrilled that she is coming back to you. Enjoy every minute x

HI edengirl,
Here is my take on what happened, for what it is worth. 

These kids feel so guilty and they 'need' to confess, I wonder. My D did the same. I had no way of knowing that she was throwing food out at school (her smoothie into the toilet). Then one day she said she had to tell me something and I would be mad. It scared me how she said it. Then she told me and wanted us to be alone. She felt so awful at going against authority, I think. So I told her I was proud of her for telling me and that it would not happen again and we would help her. I wonder if the guilt eats them up and they have to let it "spill" and so that you can know and tell her you will keep her safe. A few times that happened my D did the same. 

Yes ,there are other parents here whose children have told them that ED made them do exercise or stand all the time and now that they are not doing that, through your intervention, they really are thankful. She is so grateful that you stepped in and fought ED for her.

She is saying "THANK YOU" to you ,I think for saving her, and knowing what needed to be done. The fact she said not to hide the cream etc. shows me clearly she wants, needs, and is so thankful for your help. 

It is a "backwards world". But she really trusts you to help her. It is a wonderful moment, as I see it. 
Keep on going! You are really doing so well!


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)
My daughter was also thankful for making her eat at the beginning. But when she got to a healthy weight at a stage where she wasn't fully recovered, she started writing letters that I should trust her and she was normal already. I don't trust her (Ed) still. I will be feeding and watching and pushing for more weight for a long time. So just don't stop to early.
Bravo Edengirl!

I believe your daughter is telling you what she needs you to do in order to help her. I think this is a really good sign. Keep doing what you are doing...

I hope that your visit to UCSD next month will continue the upward trend and help get you all in a better place.


Wow edengirl, what an opening up! She wants you to know by the sounds of it to keep up the vigilance.
Sometime they hide food obviously to be caught. I think it it then underneath ED asking to be helped!
Well done for taking management and doing what you needed to get things in track!
Oh my.  That is such a beautiful validation of what you are doing.  The secret lives they live with ED is so shocking.  I only have been given tiny glimpses by my own D (though her re-feeding days are over, for now...).  Well done you!