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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HealingGypsy
I am new to this forum, and grateful to have a place to come to in moments like now.

I have a 20 year old daughter, active anorexic. She has been in and out of hospitals, residential programs, I.O.Ps, from Maudsley programs, in home therapy programs, you name it.. for at least 8 years now.....My daughter,  has recently gone against medical advice and signed herself out of all programs. I understand this, she is tired. However, I am watching her degenerate before my eyes. This disease is embedded itself in her, and I can no longer assist. She is an adult and she is making adult decisions for herself. She does have a Department of Mental Health Care Worker assigned to her. However, as with any disease/addiction, you can lead a horse to water, but can not make her drink. This is my current reality. 
I am sad, and I also know that I need to let her try to figure this part of her journey out for herself. I am trusting and hoping that something will kick in for her. She is well aware of the fact that she could die, and doesn't want to. But She is the only one that can do her recovery for herself.  She is  under a state care workers supervision. I have no say. I have done EVERYTHING I can . This is heart wrenching. I have reached out to her medical team.

And for my own health and wellbeing, Boundaries are a healthy thing. I am a solo parent(no support on any level from anyone), cancer survivor with another daughter who has unique designs. I have not been able to work full time in over 8 years. I am needing to put myself on the top of the list. 

I don't know if any of the makes sense to anyone. I am just so sad. Yet know that I have done everything I possibly can.
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Enn
Welcome,
I am sorry for the circumstances that bring you here. It does sound like you have been to h@!!   and back and not just because of ED. 
You are not alone. 
Boundaries are a very helpful thing and you deserve your life as well. 
Self care, and may I add, self preservation is essential. 

We are here to support you in anyway you need. We really do care. 
Big hug 🤗 
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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Kali
Hello Healinggypsy,

Welcome to this club nobody wants to join.
Is your daughter living with you at home or is she living independently?
If she is living independently how far away is she?
If she is living at home what are mealtimes like in your home?
Are you supporting her financially in any way?
Is she able to work or attend college?
What are her hopes and dreams for her life?
What programs was she previously in that she signed herself out of?
How does the mental health worker work with your daughter, how often do they meet, and will he/she sound the alarm if your daughter should need to be hospitalized? 
How much weight do you think she would need to gain to be considered weight restored, and how strong are her symptoms at the moment? 

Sorry so many questions but it can help us all to brainstorm ways of helping you.

You have tried everything and to reach a point where you feel you can no longer help to effect any change is heartbreaking and beyond frustrating. We give up so much of ourselves when caring for others. Perhaps it is time to step back briefly and recharge your batteries, regroup and consider your options, and do some kind things for yourself before seeing if you can get back in the ring again and try to figure out how help your daughter.

I have a 21 year old daughter and it is a fine line to walk, littered with lots of eggshells, between supporting them to eat enough and encouraging them to have autonomy in those areas of their lives that they are able to grow and mature in despite the illness. 

warmly,

Kali
Food=Love
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HealingGypsy
Thank you so much Scaredmom. All easier said than done.
Dear Kali, 
Thank you so much for your inquiry. My daughter lives with me. and inspire of her numbers ED hospitalizations, inpatient, outpatient, IOP residential....at one point when she was 16 she had 12 care providers all in place, as a team to help her stay alive. 
At this point, I need to empower her and let her know she has all the support in place and now it is her turn to pick the reigns up. I have major health issues and have not been able to work full time. Again I am the sole provider for 3.  She is an adult. I have no say in her care. However I also can not live with her. I have spoken with her care team and let them know she is tanking and needs a different place to live. Does it feel like I am signing my daughter's death certificate? Absolutely. 
It Absolutely and totally sucks. However, this is a family disease and it greatly affects the quality of life for myself and my other daughter. Do I judge myself and have guilt? YES!  But I also know at this point I am No Longer contributing positively to her recovery. She has created an environment that makes it very clear she is an adult. 
Not easy. Toughest decisions and healthy boundaries hopefully will create a positive new direction for her. I can not help her anymore. 
This is HER Healing Journey. I can love her, I can listen. But at this point I can not house her either. She has become too destructive. Hopefully her team that is in place will step in. Then again, it is up to her. At this point her weight restoration, medication, and treatment are in her hands, not mine.
I don't wish this on anyone. 
it is a life long disease, we have been at it for 8. I have yet to see my daughter. All I see is E.D. 
I get glimpses of her, but very rarely.
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Kali
Healinggypsy,

I don't know what your daughter's insurance situation is or whether she would be agreeable to residential treatment, but the Columbia Program in NYC is free and they can keep patients for as long as they need to be there. Perhaps she could look into it and speak with them. It sounds as though you are exhausted and perhaps they could help your daughter.

https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/research-clinics/eating-disorders-clinic/information-patients

warmly,

Kali
Food=Love
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HealingGypsy
Thank you Kali,
We have State Insurance that only covers local programs ..She is not willing to participate in her recovery. Thank you for the information. 
I greatly appreciate it.
Most Sincerely
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Mamaroo
Welcome from me as well HealingGypsy, I'm sorry you need to find yourself here. There are several parents here with adult children and you can look up their posts for more information: mjkz comes to mind, here is a link to her posts.

You have to put your own health and the well-being of your other daughter ahead of your d's reluctance to participate in therapy. You've done a lot already. The only thing at this moment which I can think of is a contract, where you state what you pay for (including the privilege to stay under your roof) and what is expected of your d. Here is a thread about contracts.

Sending you lots of hugs 🤗🤗🤗🤗
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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Enn
I hear that you have had enough. I know you have done so much for so long. It is gruelling! 
I hope there is a spark in your d that shows her a life worth living that does not include Ed.
I hope she finds a passion that motivates her to get treatment so that she can recover fully.

I know others who have been exactly where you are now will be here to share their experiences soon. 
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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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. You sound exhausted emotionally and overwhelmed. It sounds like you have tried numerous times to have your D follow through with treatment but that each time it has not got her to a place of health. 

It is so important to take care of your own needs at this time, right now it sounds as though you have nothing to give. Drawing up some clear guidelines about what you will or can do and those you won't or can't will help to make it clear to your D that you are not abandoning her - rather you are setting up boundaries of what you need to keep going. Please take care and answer questions as wish for ideas for moving forward. 
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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HealingGypsy
Thank you  Mamaroo,
It is difficult. I appreciate you suggestion checking out mjkz, I will look at her posts.
We have written contracts through out the years and presently she broke our contract. I have contacted her team to let them know what her status is.
She and I agreed at this time she needs to go and stay with some friends for a couple/few weeks, as it is not healthy for wither one of us to co-habitat together 
in this now moment. We are still conversing, and there is great love, however her E.D. is in control and I only have glimpses of my daughter. 

Thank you Scaredmom,
I am hoping this "break" will give us the opportunity to regroup. Her team will be in touch with her. I am so sad for her. And for my other daughter as well. This disease 
is heart wrenching. I am hoping My Daughter will be able let in and feel how much she is loved and cared for. 

Thank you Foodsupport_AUS,
I am exhausted on all levels. I do need to take care of myself. I also feel like in some way I am empowering my daughter to realize she has more tools in her tool box and support around her. I feel like all the support I have put in place has enabled her to rely on me too much...if that makes any sense. It feels very counter-intuitive. Yet this is something I have not done. She stated it may even help her not to rely on me. I think she realizes this herself during her moments of not being blended with ED.

I am so grateful to have found this forum. As I myself feel sick to my stomach. overwhelmed and angry that this disease has stripped so much not only from my daughter, but from my family. I do have hope that something positive will arise out of this. I don't know what. But I am certain something will shift.

In appreciation and gratitude.
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Francie
Hi HealingGypsy, I am glad you found this forum. I am also glad, and want to acknowledge how clear your thinking is in your post. That is the first step in healing: acknowledging and accepting where you are. Giving careful, thorough thought to boundaries that will allow you to move forward in your life and find healing and serenity for yourself can be a powerful motivator for your ED D. Keep visiting this forum. Thinking of you. 

Francie

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HealingGypsy
Thank you Francie.
I am crying as I read this.
Thank you
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ValentinaGermania
You are not alone. We all are here to help you with an open ear, with tips and tricks and with ideas what to try next.
This forum is a life saver. Do not give up. And read MJKZs posts. Her d relapsed a couple of times and she is also a young adult and MJKZ is a heroe in my eyes and will surely give you some hope. You are not helpless. As long as you breathe you can help your d to fight that horrible disease.
Take care and do something nice for yourself today!
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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HealingGypsy
Thank you  tina72!!
Thank you 
Thank you 
Thank you all
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sk8r31
Sending you many virtual hugs, and support for where you are on this journey.  It does sound like you are thinking clearly about your family's situation, and I do hope that other forum members' experiences will help with HOPE that recovery is possible for your d.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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HealingGypsy
sk8r31

Thank you 
Thank you 
Thankyou!!
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mjkz
HealingGypsy, I do have an adult daughter that I too had to ask to leave at one point.  It was the best thing I ever did.  She found out pretty quickly how uncertain and crazy life was without me around.  She found out that other people had far less patience with her than I did and when she did return to my home, it was with a strong contract that spelled out the responsibilities for both of us and the consequences of not honoring that contract.  I did FBT with my daughter after years of her refusing to try it and when I did do it, it not working. That was when I had to have her live with me though.  Once she came back (over the age of 21), she did it willingly and it was the only thing that got her to where she is today.  She recently had a serious relapse (first in almost five years though).  She went inpatient and then came out with a tube.  I gave her a month to get off the tube and against all odds, she managed it.  This place is great and you will find people at all ends of the spectrum.  Another good person to look up in Peregrine.  She had a blog too that I hope someone can provide the link to (hard drive crash-still rebuilding).  She has had to struggle with many of the same issues and her daughter is an older adult and living on her own.  She is a really good resource too for how to build up boundaries and still have a life despite having a chronically ill family member.
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mommiful

I also feel like in some way I am empowering my daughter to realize she has more tools in her tool box and support around her. I feel like all the support I have put in place has enabled her to rely on me too much...if that makes any sense. It feels very counter-intuitive. Yet this is something I have not done. She stated it may even help her not to rely on me. I think she realizes this herself during her moments of not being blended with ED.


My daughter is 18 and has had AN since she was 11. We've tried everything, tried FBT so hard and so long, tried different outpatient therapists, residential programs. Sometimes we made some headway, other times we were stuck for years and nothing seemed to work. So, I get where you're coming from.

I, too, have felt that the time has come to empower my daughter and give her the space to find her way. Something in her shifted, and we could see my real daughter again more often. She started to have this attitude that it her recovery and it was up to her to make it work. That took a while for that attitude to develop, and then it took a while for her to figure out how to make it work, but she's making good progress now.

Personally, I don't like to think of the high level of support we were providing for all those years as enabling. It was what was needed at the time. She needed someone to make her eat enough, because she could not do it herself. When I couldn't do it anymore, I found someone else who could. Then, after a while, it seemed like no one else could either. Things would go better for a while, but pretty soon, the ED would outsmart us again. Things got pretty scary around that time. But then, things started to shift, like I said above.

I think turning 18 and realizing that she was legally responsible for herself was a big push for her to take responsibility for her own recovery. Graduating from high school that she had barely been able to attend (did most coursework online due to ED) was another wakeup call. Yeah, maybe she could muddle through, she could tick the boxes, but she couldn't have a real life until she recovered. I feel like I needed to not be pushing her to recover for those things and others to hit home. As long as I was pushing, nudging, enforcing, she could just go through the motions, pretend to be trying to recover. Once I let go, she had to make the choice: is she doing this or not?

Maybe your daughter will get a wakeup call now that she's taking this break. It sounds like you all really needed a break.



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Torie
I do have hope that something positive will arise out of this.


One of the many things I have learned on this forum is that there is ALWAYS hope.  As you probably know, the brain is not fully mature until the mid-twenties, and sometimes when they near brain maturity, something shifts and then they are newly able to see more clearly and even fight ED.

One thing I am not good at - but have learned to see the value of - is letting your d see your sadness when you explain that you have reached your limit for now.  I tend to express this type of thing with frustration and even anger in my tone, even though I know it is much better for everyone if I can let the sadness show in the forefront.

Some here have a real knack for helping their ED kids see that they really do have a life worth living.  Others can explain this much better than I can ... I wonder it would do your heart good to have some way to encourage your d on other topics, while taking a break from the ED wars.  Does she have dreams for the future? Can you help her get in touch with them?  Again, others here can explain this much better than I can so I hope someone will jump in to help me out on this.

Please take care of yourself.  You, too, deserve to have a life worth living.

And please keep posting.  That's why we're here. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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sowego
So sorry this is still going on for you and you sound exhausted. The break from each other will help. I too have an adult daughter who is still struggling after 6 years. She is abroad for a couple of weeks at the minute and it makes such a difference in the house! We can all relax and enjoy just being at home with each other. I decided over a year ago to put some boundaries about myself and look out for me a bit more, as I was always putting D first. So I returned to work full time and take time at weekends for myself. D was happy I did this and it made her sit up and start thinking about what she would do with her life. I do think she has taken on more responsibility for looking after herself. She has good spells and then struggles for a while. It's hard to watch but I think I feel stronger in myself now and feel much more able to have those difficult conversations with her, and she is more willing to engage with me. I can't say we have found any solution but life is a bit easier somehow and I feel I have more say in my own life now, if that makes sense. 
You are so right to start thinking of boundaries with an adult child, where do I end and where does she begin?  This was a question I came across somewhere and it resonated with me. Very best wishes as you navigate this next phase. 
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kazi67
Hi HealingGypsy
sorry to hear of your loooong struggle with this dreadful illness!
I feel completely exhausted/sick/and over everything atm and we’ve only been at it for 3 years! 
I feel the same though I have given my everything to beat this mongrel illness and although (touch wood) my d “seems” to be going ok atm I’m completely done, I have nothing more to give 

i don’t trust her, I’m sick of wondering,second guessing, watching, asking, worrying, stressing.......

my other kids don’t speak to me, h rarely does, (except if asking about ED d) I’m so sick I can’t shake this flu/chest infection?? Whatever it is had chest X-rays, CT scans 7 antibiotics, no sick pay left so no pay now, thinking of leaving my job?? I don’t even know what to do anymore
all my pay goes to her appointments I work hard and end up with a pitiful amount of $$ for me after her bills......

boundaries........oh wow so hard to decide to stop paying for professional help/support for her and watch her end up in IP again 
that’s what happened last time I made that decision 🙁
rant over!

ps: have tried all the self care, therapy, exersize/walks/yoga/stretches, music, being   in the moment, but honestly when your so sick that’s  even hard to do but I am 
in bed atm👍

just wanted to say I feel your pain and dread the future and I just want to get better along with d 
and want everyone else to get better on this rotten journey too!
and I HATE this illness with every fibre of my being 

I also wonder why we were selected to win the lottery of this awful illness along with everyone else who did too?? But that’s a stupid question I know 

sorry im very negative today but I’m also sick of putting on a happy face too 🙁

my d IS getting better but omg the toll it takes 

This sux and hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow 
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HealingGypsy
Good Morning!! Thank you ALL for your support and sharing your experiences. 
I am still learning this forum, and I am not always on the computer, However finding you all has been a life preserver for me.

@mjkz , Thank you for your support and sharing your experience. I am hopeful that this course of action will help her as well as me. I know she feels abandoned by me. And I reaffirm she has the tools and supports in place. It is actually really good for me to have a respite from her. I am starting to feel some energy come back. My other daughter is also doing well with her out of the house.

@mommiful, Thank you fro sharing your insights. In my intellect I know my daughter is sick and I did what I needed to during the onset of this disease. I think by journey of acceptance has been slow because I don't want my daughter to have a chronic illness of Anorexia coupled with Bi-polar. I feel like this disease has robbed her in so many ways. I am also hopeful that as you mentioned, as she matures (now 20) she will realize her strengths and connect with the supports in place. It hasn't been easy, I am her only parent. My  siblings are not able to support us, they do the best they can, my life has gotten really small. (My other daughter was raped at 15 and started self medicating, we went the legal route and quickly found out she was the one on trial, in an open court..This spirelled into full opeiod addiction.  Now 2.5 years sober and really living for the first time  in YEARS!!) I am hopeful, for my anorexic daughter, and self care is key.

@Torie  I can sooooo relate to this:
"
One of the many things I have learned on this forum is that there is ALWAYS hope.  As you probably know, the brain is not fully mature until the mid-twenties, and sometimes when they near brain maturity, something shifts and then they are newly able to see more clearly and even fight ED.


One thing I am not good at - but have learned to see the value of - is letting your d see your sadness when you explain that you have reached your limit for now.  I tend to express this type of thing with frustration and even anger in my tone, even though I know it is much better for everyone if I can let the sadness show in the forefront.
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HealingGypsy
@Torie  Still learning to move into those deeper levels of fear. My daughter and I do have a connection, and she knows I am scared for her and it comes out as Anger. I am still doing my inner work with this. forgiving myself for my negative contribution to the situation when she is blended with her disease. It is a family disease, and I have been learning a lot. It isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. 

@sowego  Thank you for your thoughts, experience and insights. I am almost afraid to think of where does she go from here? As I am fearful.

@kazi67 I appreciate your honest, raw share. I can totally relate to where you are. My life has gotten so small. I have not been able to work full time in 8 years (I am the sole provider for my children and I and when I don't work no income). I also am a cancer survivor, during both my girls various recovery phases. I am trusting as I take better care of me, set boundaries and hold the space of love form myself and my daughter, that somehow it will help me be present with her. For now, I need to put myself at the top of the Lise. I Sincerely hope you feel better. 

In Deep Appreciation and Gratitude for the Forum!!🙏🙏
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mjkz
I have always been honest with my daughter about the impact her illness has on both me and the family especially as she got older and had more tools that she could utilize to reach for recovery.  Don't get me wrong.  I was as supportive as I could be but I would also let her know when I'd see her making the same mistakes again and again how frustrated, sad, and angry it made me.  Hiding the impact it had certainly didn't help her or prepare her for others not tolerating her behavior or drawing boundaries so she couldn't affect them.  Eating disorder are emotionally selfish diseases-every single minute is all about me and either how to get food or avoid it.  I also forced my daughter to volunteer at places so she could see what other people went through and that there was a world out there far beyond her and her disorder.  My only regret is that I waited so long to do it.  I would have done it far sooner had I known the impact it would have had on her and helped her change her behavior.
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kazi67
HealingGypsy what a horrible journey you have been on
im so sorry to hear of your families struggles
i wish you all well and to hope your d finds the courage to fight her ED
she is very lucky to have such a strong loving warrior mumma 
you have given me inspiration and I and my ED d do realise others have their stories, struggles and heartache 
I remind her of this most of the time 
I lost a close child (friend) recently and it’s effects on us all are awful
He’s our little guardian angel now 🌈😇💙
so much pain isn’t there? but a reminder to us all stop and smell the roses 

and then put on our big girl pants and keep moving forward 
❤️
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