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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tp7
Hello everyone, 

   As I mentioned in a previous post, our daughter was diagnosed with AN just recently and is currently in intensive inpatient treatment.  

   As the amount of time dedication required to beat AN is truly starting to dawn on my husband and I, I've been wondering whether I can actually keep my job while going through this.  Although we do eat dinner together every day, we've always been a dual working parent household with a pretty hectic schedule. So I'm struggling to see how I can work full time and make several meals a day and take whatever time is needed to ensure that our daughter eats. Our first priority is certainly to beat this thing and we're willing to do whatever is needed. But I would love to hear about how everyone else has managed the strong logistical demands of dealing with an ED.

Thank you!
 tp7
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tina72
To be honest, I think it is nearly impossible to work full time and beat ED and stay healthy and not going crazy yourself.
If you can afford it, have a break from work at least for 3-6 months. In some countries there is a possibility to get a carer leave.
I was never that glad to be a housewife as when ED moved in. I had days when I struggled to get a shower and have myself dressed up so you can imagine I was not able to work then. We run our own very small business and I still enjoy that I can decide when to work and when not.

The better you can beat ED from day one the faster you will get rid of it. So if you can give 100% for 3 months it would be much more successful than 50% for 12 months.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Foodsupport_AUS
I agree with Tina that if you have the ability to not work whilst treating this then that would give you optimum time. There are of course negatives to giving up work other than income and if you can work out a strategy to keep the pressure on ED but at the same time keep some of your time away from ED it will give you some respite. Financially stopping work was never an option for me. I did however cut back substantially on work, shorter hours, breaks in the middle of the day, and taking less responsibility at work. It did mean a lot of juggling but I would also say that the working through helped give me some sanity and a sense of life outside of ED. 

Working out what has to go and what can go is the first step. The degree of flexibility associated with work, hours, coming back will also make a big difference to the decisions you make. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
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Kali
Dear tp7,

I would also agree with FoodSupport and Tina72 that if you are able to cut back on your hours or take some time off it would be helpful for your daughter.
I didn't have the opportunity to stop work because of financial reasons however I did manage to figure out how to do a considerable amount of work from home in between meals, and take some time off as sick days, which was helpful, and we also relied heavily on residential and php/iop programs before our d. was in prolonged outpatient treatment with a team while being at home and at that point it was more crucial that I be there for as many meals as possible. I also found it therapeutic to be able leave the house and talk to people who were not immersed in anorexia and think about some other things.

If there is any flexibility in your job to work from home or if you are in the US and qualify for FMLA and can afford to take it you could look into that. (unfortunately it is completely unpaid and just guarantees that you can take up to 12 weeks a year off to care for a seriously ill family member without losing your position) But it also stipulates that the employer must continue your health insurance coverage while you are on leave.
https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

warmly,

Kali
Food=Love
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scaredmom
So, I worked full time. The first week D was in hospital was March break here in Canada, so I was off anyway. I had no idea what was needed and our medical team really did not educate me on what I needed to do at home. I thought D would be compliant at home - that was not the case!! She was compliant in hospital and well, not the same at home. 
I needed to work, more for me than for financial reasons. I needed to get out of the house and be "me", and I do wish I had taken more time off. If I ever had to do it again, I would work part-time. I am self employed and have no benefits if I take time off. 
Please find out if you have good benefits to take some time off. 
And do something for you too,to keep yourself nurtured. 
XXX
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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mamabear
The thing is...when she gets out of inpatient and comes home ( or whatever other programs she may do) it is a critical time. 

ED WILL fight and will cheat and be sneaky. ED knows that us parents can be the most vulnerable to it’s trickery. We have to be 100% able to get the food in no matter how long it takes. I always recommend that people make there homes similar to an inpt unit. Bathroom before eating, no napkins, no sweatshirts, sit outside open bathroom door for toilet/showers etc. I slept with my d for a year. Room searches, bag searches, garbage searches, no flushing toilets. 

I worked 20 hours a month. I quit my job. I am eternally grateful that I was able to do that. The first few months are pretty intense and hardcore. But equally important are the first 3 years. Keeping them in the recovery trajectory takes vigilance. My Ds roommate when inpt was on her 4th admission in a year bc her mom said “ every time we get weight on her and get her home, she just can’t complete meals and eat the snack I leave for her after school.” That was a critical lightbulb moment for me. I thought to myself- I have to be there every minute. 
Persistent, consistent vigilance!
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tp7
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback, your insight has helped me figure out exactly what I needed to ask of my employer.  I work in an industry that doesn't have much flexibility in terms of hours or working from home, but they have agreed to give me as much flexibility as I want over the next couple of months and with the choice to do as much work as I feel able to.  So I am relieved that they are being very understanding for now.  I do fully know that in a couple of months they may not be willing to continue this arrangement and it may force me to have to leave my job, but at least it gets us through the next couple of months as I am the main household income earner and currently it's my insurance that's paying for D's care.
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Mamaroo
That's good news Tp7! A couple of months of supervising will definitely help!
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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Trillium
I am fairly new to this, but one thing we are going to try this weekend is Skype or Facetime for meals. Now, my son with ED is an adult who is fairly motivated to recover, and he has more developmental maturity than a teen, so this might not work for teens or people who are resistant. I'm not even sure it'll work with my son. But we're going to do a trial run of Skype while we're both home (he'll be in one room, I'll be in another) to see what works and what doesn't so that I can be "with" him during his breakfast and mid-morning snack while I am at work during the week before he leaves for his partial hospitalization program each day. We plan to get breakfast and snack ready together the night before, and then once I'm at work, he'll call in and we'll chat while I work and he eats. I can close my office door for this. My employer is supportive. The tough part will be getting son to agree to a set time. But he has to have some sort of accountability and support. If videoconferencing doesn't work, we may need to bring in family members to our home or have him take meals there (they will need to know ahead of time what the exact meal/snack is) for meal support. 
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tina72
Sounds like a good plan, Trillium. Welcome here!
About gettig him agree to a set time: normally ED patients love to have fixed times and a fixed schedule with eating so I think this will be no problem once it is introduced!
Be prepared to distract him a lot while eating so have some funny stories that you can tell or jokes or show him funny things that you can talk about.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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