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

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Hi there, my D is currently inpatient for the second time with quite a severe relapse (NG tube etc). For a year though, she was coasting at a below healthy weight (as prescribed by the hospital) and i noticed a significant increase in her Instagram usage. 

Most of the people she is following are 'recovery' accounts rather than pro -Ana accounts. However, although this activity seems to have been helpful for a very short period of time, I now see that it is simply exacerbating her illness and I find that some of the comments that people are making are undermining her recovery. e.g. my D is not allowed to be a vegan (even though she wants to be) and yet one person messaged her to tell her that she can have vegan custard over Xmas if she comes home from the unit.

She also seems to be spurning her 'well' friends in favour of people she doesn't know who have recovery accounts on Instagram. I feel that my D is looking for them rather than schoolfriends etc because they keep her within her comfort zone as all the people she is following are not progressing with their illness and simply managing, using veganism as a crux. 

The unit's policy allows patients to have their mobile phone for a limited time each day but I'm starting to think that social media is only is only exacerbating her condition and cutting my D off from her older friends. I also think that it is not helping treatment because she tends to express herself online rather than in the therapy groups.  

I would be interested to know if anyone has had any experience of this type of behaviour and what they have done about it.

My d was involved in the recovery community on Instagram and Tumble for a good while. She ended up quitting it on her own because it was triggering to her. But, I definitely understand your point about it being a "comfort" thing for our kids. 

You're here parent, so you're in charge here. If you don't think Instagram is a good thing for her (and I agree that it very well may not be), you can look into installing parental locks on her phone. Many mamas and papas on this site have done that to keep their children off proana sites. I don't see why Instagram would be any different. 

One of the most impirtant things I have learned while parenting a child with ED is that I am in charge. If I don't feel comfortable with something, I have the right to change it. USually, following your gut in situations like this is the best thing to do. 

Good luck! And may your d experience a full and robust recovery! You are doing hero's work! 

D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
Another point of view may be that her use of these accounts is a reflection of her eating disorder activity. My D early on in her illness did meet a number of people through her various blogs, and tumblr accounts , again all recovery based rather than pro-ana. She found over time though as she recovered that these did not offer her the depth of life that she wanted. Living vicariously via social media is of course a poor quality life, but I think at times when ED is active it helps them from feeling so lonely.  
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Hi Izzyd

Exactly what Foodsupport said!  My daughter was heavily into the Instagram recovery scene before IP and for some time after IP.  She would send letters and small gifts to her favourite recovery account "friends" and even had a giveaway with lots of, what I call, "typical" anorexic recovery foods (Eat Natural and Nakd bars and similar products, green tea bags, low cal hot choc etc etc).  I was signed in to her Insta account so I could see what she was posting and who she was following.  Like your d, she avoided her "real" friends for quite a while.  On the whole, I found the community encouraging and supportive although I have to say that quite a few of the instagrammers were vegan and I definitely wasn't keen on that aspect of it.  At one point, my d also had a pro-ana account too.  When I found it, I asked her to remove it as it wasn't helpful for her recovery.  She did, thankfully.

Now, that my d is further down the line in her recovery, is going to school full-time and having an active social life (a little too active if you ask me...!) she's ditched the recovery account.  Mind you, she has a "spam" account in which she posts about being sad and pissed off with her life.  Fortunately, those posts are becoming few and far between.

I hope this helps.
Why not try an experiment where she doesn't use it for a period of time and see what happens?  You can see what things like that are actually doing for a person when she can't do it for awhile.  It might force her to express more while inpatient which is what she should be doing since she is surrounded by support 24/7.  It doesn't have to be a forever thing and it may help for her not to have that outlet while IP.