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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Alessandra
If I want to help my daughter, do I have to follow her after eating, If she vomits her? How can I help her not to do?
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sandie
Hi Birgit, I am glad you found this forum. There are lots of very kind and experienced parents here who will do their best to advise you and answer your questions. Some parents are from Germany and I know there is a very experienced parent of a young adult in Germany ValentinaGermania who will be along soon to help. 
It is very frightening to find out your child has an eating disorder. It must be very difficult and emotional time especially when you remember the difficult times you had yourself.
It takes time to find out how to help. There is lots of information on this forum and you can search to learn about how to help. 
I see your daughter is a young adult. My daughter is younger and we do not have a problem with vomiting. I know parents say it is really important to stay with your child for at least an hour after eating to stop the vomiting.some need to supervise for longer.  Does she live with you? 
I think it is really positive that your daughter confided in you and that she is looking for help and now has started to see a therapist. Has she seen a doctor to be checked out medically? 
Sending you a big hug. X
Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair
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Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum, sorry that you have had to find your way here. Having read your profile I see that you too suffered from an eating disorder and your D is 19. This is a tough age to be treating things. It is important to know that this is not your fault that she became ill or that you did not see that she was becoming ill. There is a genetic tendency to developing eating disorders and even those who do "everything right" can still get very sick. 

Purging/ vomiting is one of the most dangerous eating disorder behaviours, it increases the risks of heart complications. As such it is really important to stop this as much as possible. Treatment does not necessarily need to be in hospital though sometimes this is needed. If your D is admitting to being ill, then making a plan of what needs to be done may be helpful - trying to work on a collaborative approach. This will mean three meals and snacks per day. She is likely to need someone to sit with her for each meal and snack, and for some time afterwards to help stop the purging. Distractions can be really good at that time. She of course will need to be eating enough to gain weight which she needs support for, as she will find this very anxiety provoking. 

Please read as much as possible, I am sure you understand her feelings having been ill yourself, however knowledge has changed a lot over the last 20 years or so.
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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ValentinaGermania
Hi and a very warm welcome from Germany! I am so sorry that you need to be here.
If she vomits that is very serious and needs to stop asap. You can only stop it if you make vomiting impossible. Most do it secretly and do not want to be seen with it so supervision is very helpul. Send her to the toilet BEVOR meals and snacks and ask her to stay with you at least 1,5 hours afterwards. Try to distract her, watch TV together or play cards or whatever works. Lock the bathroom if needed.
Make sure she does not vomit in bottles or boxes in her room. Some do it outside the window so in that case you need to lock windows for some time.
Showers need to be supervised. No unsupervised walks or she can start to purge there.

Is she still in school? Is there time of the day that you cannot supervise?

She needs to see a GP (Hausarzt) to check her blood, weight and heart. Purging type is very dangerous and she can have very low electronlyts already and that can damage the heart.

I want to add that you did nothing wrong with your d. You are a totally normal mum and this is a genetic metabolism disease. Please do not blame yourself for anything. It is like cancer. You could do nothing to avoid that.
And it is never to late to help an ED patient. There were patients recovering that had a very long history, some even decades. Recovery is possible even at that state.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Alessandra
Thankyou very much for the answeres. It helps me to hear, that her illness is genetic. but I remember all the negative feelings I had in my youth. Feelings of hate and blackmail.
She told me in the summer that she is ill, but it lasts for four years or longer.
Her weight ist 43 kg and she is174 cm.
When she vomits, she gets headache and therefore she wants to avoid. Last week she came home with headache and said that she feels bad. I can't help her. I said her that she is the only one who is able to control her actions. And she cried and didn't felt understood. In that night I found you and told her that I read that it is genetic and I felt her hope. 
When we want to go for a walk with our dogs, she goes upstairs in her room to change her trousers. I can't follow her everytime. She will start to hate me...
Since one month she goes to the therapie and also to blood and heart control. I asked her for the results, she said, nobody says something. I closed my eyes so long, but I am so afraid, she dies.
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Torie
Hello, and welcome from across the pond in the USA.  So sorry for all the difficulties you are having.

You have already gotten good advice; I only have a couple things to add.

Vomiting is very hard on the teeth.  Regular dental visits are especially important for her, in part because her teeth need to be checked, and also because the dentist may be able to help her understand that she may lose her teeth if she continues to vomit.  Generally, rational arguments do not work with eating disorders, but I have heard of cases where tooth damage can be an exception and provide motivation to stop vomiting.

I have read that one should not brush teeth immediately after vomiting because the stomach acids soften the enamel for a while after vomiting.  (It is okay for her to rinse her mouth then instead of brushing her teeth right away.)

I realize that it is not normal to join her when she changes her clothes - not normal parenting at all! - but everyone here has had to adopt new parenting techniques we never thought we would do.  Somewhere (perhaps deep inside), your daughter knows she needs extremely high levels of supervision to be able to beat this monster illness, and that part of your daughter will appreciate your help.  The part that has been taken over by this illness will of course hate your working to help her recover, and so she may sound very mean with you.  This is normal, and many here have seen their relationship deteriorate during treatment.  But in the end, most of them thank us for dragging them back to health.

You might explain to her that if you are unable to help her at home, she may need a higher level of care.  The higher level of care will likely involve a professional caretaker doing all these things - staying with her even in the bathroom and even while she is changing her clothes.  It is so unfortunate that we need to take away their privacy in these ways, but if you don't do it yourself, there is a good bet that someone she doesn't know will have to do it in your place.

It is really difficult parenting.  Please feel free to ask all the questions you like.  We're glad you found us. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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ValentinaGermania
Please aks her to sign a "Patientenverfügung und Vorsorgevollmacht", that would give you the allowance to speak with all her doctors. You can help her with that. She is too sick to think clearly and to understand what is going on. If she had cancer you would accompany her to the doctors, so please do that now too.
I send you a link to those papers. They are very important in Germany. If she puts your name in there you can also decide what hospital she needs to go if she faints and cannot make decisions for herself any more. And you can be her "Vormund" if things get worse and the doctors need to send her to a psychiatric ward against her will (that can happen here in Germany). Every adult person here should have signed these papers, you also.

You can still help her to turn that around but you need to act now. And you need to do that although she might hate you. I came to a point when I thought it is better she hates me for the rest of her life but will be there and ALIVE. It is only a phase when ED hates you because you step in. Today we are as close as we were before ED moved in. She knows that we saved her life today.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mjkz
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I can't follow her everytime. She will start to hate me...


But she will still be alive.  My daughter hated me for what I had to do to save her too but not now and at the time I didn't care if she hated me.  Eating disorders kill and it was far more important to me to know she was still alive than for her to like me.  You can follow her every time and you will feel hated.  Just know that's part of the eating disorder and it does resolve as the eating disorder gets better.
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