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

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YogurtParfait_US Show full post »
I keep thinking about the whole trigger thing.

What the first trigger was isn't necessarily that important (unless it helps us to avoid triggers like that in the future).

But once one has ED:

Every one of us knows that ED is stronger when our children are stressed, and we all know that are children are stressed by different things. Sometimes those things are actually media and popular culture and teachers at school and friends saying stupid things. Comments on someone's looks, magazines with ridiculously thin models, etc., can cause a lot of stress. We have all read stories of relapses that happened during stressful times.

These triggering situations are not just problems for society, they are direct problems for our children. The percentage rates of people with eating disorders and people dying with eating disorders are high enough that it seems reasonable to ask society (media, schools, coaches, etc.) to stop, for the sake of our children's health. They didn't cause it, but once it's there we are constantly having to avoid their triggers.
I answered "other" because I think the things listed were after events also.  Like some others we had the "perfect storm", bullying in Grade 6, failing the "beep test" at high school (as not a sporty kid), boyfriend breaking up with her, PERFECTIONISIM, anxiety, exercising more to try to pass the beep test and impress her PE teacher (perfectionism again)......etc etc.  One foot in the rabbit hold for a while.  As I write we are going backwards again fast due to stress of Year 12 exams so trying to get back on track.
Daughter 20-hospitalised Feb,20, 2012, re-lapse April, 2013, re-feed 2nd time, May 2013, sliding backwards again
Stress & anxiety - several stressors together - exam stress coupled with splitting up from 1st real boyfriend and moving into first house-share
Depression, anxiety, perfectionism, OCD, being bullied, being different, running... the perfect storm.
Lots of hindsight answers - training for high school sport, wanting to eat healthy, around that time frame, her friends and about all of mine who came to our house frequently, were all dieting and sending very conflicting messages about their own bodies/happiness.  The catalyst was a very close family friend who went on the latest fad diet.  The one with an EXTREMELY MINIMAL caloric intake.  Sadly, that sent very damaging and conflicting messages to my teen.
Probably the most horrible of all "I'll take you back if you lose weight" from a boy who dumped her  followed by healthy eating and compulsive exercise. Even healthy food (ie olive oil, lean meats etc) became unhealthy and if I interrupted her obsessive stationary bike riding she would start her count again. 
I tell you if I saw that boy hmm,
YIKES--I can well imagine that you might need to be restrained if you ever ran across that "boy" ...  

"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
D told me that her ED started with her desire of losing her weight. At that time, her body changed because of puberty. Before she was a very happy girl: play hard and eat hard. After she started her period, she really cared about her body image. Even worse, her friends in the middle school competed for who ate less in lunch (peer pressure?) At the beginning, she just wanted to lose several pounds and she thought she could control it. Gradually she lost her control and her weight dropped 30 lbs.  
19 yr old d Dx Feb 2012. WR June 2012. Now she is in Phase III and enjoy her study and activities. Try to give the control back to her but still keep vigilant. 
"The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow."
YP for my d it was a mixed bag. Underlying anxiety trait which for early years I used to refer to as worry wArt like her dad. Never saw it as a problem. Followed by perfectionism and self driven. And lastly she didn't restrict until college. But she did have major energy calorie deficit from her extremely active lifestyle of competitive sports which she seemed to enjoy. She ate well 4-5 times a day but burned more than she ate, was always lean and strong so we didn't get it. She fis gave body dysmorphia as a teenager but didn't restrict in response to it so I thought it was adolescent angst. III missed so many clues I wished someone would have recognized. I really believe the people who can most help spot this now are educated parents, pediatricians , coaches , music teachers , dance instructors and my hope us thatched providers who are part if the current scientific research and treatments.
"Sometimes you just have to be your own hero"
My d felt sick and had severe pain plus other symptoms after eating. Was told by multiple drs, paramedics, nurses etc that she was faking it. We have since found out she has lots of benign tumors that cause bad organ capsule pain, exacerbated by increased tummy size after eating plus extra endocrine symptoms.
She stopped eating to initially attempt to decrease amount of pain and pain was helped; subsequently lost lots of weight very quickly and pain improved plus started vomiting anywhere and everywhere 'uncontrollably' and got drs to pay attention, not ignore her , and then this behaviour was reinforced by drs paying attention and then finding her tumors. It was then she became too scared to eat and we continue trying to balance a legitimate inability to eat certain foods and what is an Ed excuse.
I want a realistic dr and team, not someone who says what I want to hear and not a 'touchy feely nice' dr that doesn't have success.
I agree with proposed links of depression and ED.

For my D, she became clinically depressed. After a couple of months, lost appetite, and combined with low body image, began restricting. 
I believe continuing depression also kept D ill - increased hopelessness and lethargy.
I do think it's important for us to look at what our child's triggers were for restricting their intake.
The reason is so that we are mindful of guiding them away from those triggers while they are adolescents and into young adulthood.  If they have a comorbid condition, it needs to be treated.  They  need to learn healthier coping skills and to maintain their nutritional needs throughout their lifetime.
WenWinning (formerly wenlow) - a Mom who has learned patience, determination, empathy, and inner strength to help her young adult daughter gain full remission after over a decade of illness and clinician set inaccurate weights
I have found this thread and everyone's stories to be very interesting, and sad to see all of the suffering of our children.

I started this thread because I thought it was important, not that the trigger is the "cause," but that there is a misunderstanding out there in the world that AN is dieting gone wrong, or that everyone with AN is obsessed with becoming thin and thinks that they are not.

My little one started by wanting to "eat healthy," but also became afraid of being fat. I don't know the order of these things--did the fear-of-fat come once she was down the rabbit hole, or before? That certainly can't be disentangled here ...

What is interesting to me here is that these various stories confirm what is now believed about AN, that the fact of becoming too thin, for the pre-disposed person, sets off a cascade of brain events that are the mental illness. The initial weight loss may not be part of the mental illness--it may be caused by some physical problem, by a diet, by a fast undertaken for social or religious reasons, by an illness, by vegetarianism or another change in diet, by stress or trauma, etc.

It isn't about "fixing" the trigger, because that won't heal the AN (though certainly it might help in some cases--if there is stress/trauma/abuse, that certainly has to be eliminated!). But I do think that these are interesting and show the diversity of early stages of AN.

"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
My daughter and I both suffer, as well as many many family members. So there is a very strong genetic component in my family...

But that said I can always remember some sort of body dissatisfaction from a very young age. I can pinpoint the actual event (trauma/rape) that kicked my eating disorder into an active state. I kept the traumas and my eds a secret from age 13 until two years ago. 15 years of this hell now... I am thankful for everyday I am able to say I am in recovery.

I do wonder what the actual rate of traumas in EDs are... When I was in residential treatment, in the group I was with, it was about 75% of the women had some sort of major trauma history (there were about 30-40 of us in all). It makes me ponder wether there really is such a high rate of traumas in EDs or if it was just a concentrated group because of the inpatient/residential level of care.

In my daughter the genetic component is multiplied by alcoholism and eds on my husbands side as well. My daughter had a big jump in height at her fourth birthday that dropped her growth percentile significantly, then followed by a failure to gain any weight for almost a year. By her fifth birthday ED had crept in and she started restricting and asking for "healthy food" so she would not get fat. I feel it's a very chicken & egg situation for her. Knowing she was very high risk for ED I have always been careful to prescreen media and influences.
Sink or Swim
Pacific Northwest USA
Anorexic Mom and 5 year old Anorexic daughter
Fighting ED together!
Losing 5 lbs to run faster. It worked so she thought a little more would be great and lost control of it
My daughter has always said she was just trying to eat healthy. We eat a fairly healthy diet so I wasn't sure why there was a big push. She cut out all fat, sugars first, then just about everything else followed. She also increased exercising to be healthier still.

I totally agree that the presence of lots of patients-who-have-had-trauma in residential treatment doesn't mean that trauma causes ED. If it did, there would be a lot more ED.

One thing I recall reading somewhere (Carrie Arnold?) was that a lot of the residential therapy focused on trying to get to the cause, and get patients to 'dig deep' to uncover past trauma. The writer said that she felt quite badgered. I also read on another forum for sufferers, where a couple of women posted that they made up traumas just to get the therapists off of their backs.

I also know that lots of people have difficult relationships with parents. I had a volatile father. I even had occasional PTSD-like symptoms related to seeing him, or him being home, even though he never hit me. Did I get ED? No. Might someone who lived in the house I grew up in AND got ED blame dad? Sure! OH! And, I was also molested by a babysitter when I was in 4th or 5th grade. Did I get an ED? Um ... no ... but I did tell my mom that I didn't want any more boy babysitters and we had all girls after that (though I didn't tell her about the abuse till I was in my 40's). So, golly gee, I'm an example of trauma-without-mental-illness-as-a-result.

I appreciate your perspective and your wisdom to realize that even though your daughter has no trauma and has loving parents, that she was at risk anyway. Good for you!

"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
Perfect storm here - genetic predisposition (ed on both sides), perfectionism and cross country.
A combination of the top 3 really... My son was overweight at primary school, discovered sport at secondary school, fat was replaced with muscle, son became very popular after being shy and introvert at primary school (and bullied). Began to hate sport, figured that if he switched to diet / "healthy" foods he could eat the same and do less sport without putting on weight and getting fat again. But found he was doing MORE exercise while eating LESS. A toxic combination...
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
In our ED world, it is a form of self punishment.  He doesn't deserve to eat.  His crime that deserves such punitive measures?  As a wee child of 6-8, he was raped repeatedly, and he never stopped it.  So in his mind, that is unforgivable.
ValesMom, I am so sorry. That is devastating. Your poor boy.
How about adding normal growth without sustaining nutrition to the list? As in, she got taller but didn't put on the weight to maintain a healthy BPI for whatever reason; I'm not sure how to phrase it appropriately though.
New Mexico USA | Step-Daughter dx. AN on 10th birthday (2012) | Still fighting back

The most beautiful people I've known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 

These surveys only allow a limited number of choices!!! And, after they are up, they can't be changed.

My question would be--what do you think might have triggered the restricting that caused the plateau in her weight? For my daughter, it was trying to "eat healthy." If you're not sure, then it would be "unknown"...

"Hope is a wonderful thing ... but hope by itself is not enough. Hope is the reason to take action, to make a plan and then to change the plan when it isn’t working - over and over and over again if necessary." Hannah Joseph (Let's Feast Friday Reflection, "Just Keep Going," Friday, March 3rd, 2015)
Operation April 2012.  In a wheelchair and crutches for 8 weeks.  Lost her social life - sport.  Lost the one thing she thought she was good at - sport.  I think ED may have been bubbling around before but the op brought it to the fore.

my husbands sister had AN and I suffered from bullimia, so I think there is a genetic predisposition.  My daughter also fits the personality component>over achieving, OCD, perfectionist.  My daughter states the trigger was a bout of the stomach flu about one year ago.  she now has an abnormal fear of vomiting and food poisoning.  Her issues began with her wanting to "eat healthy" which seems to be a common characteristic.  This then led to more and more restrictions and obsessively reading sugar content, fat content etc on food labels.  I would like to believe that I had nothing to do with her disorder but I am not so sure.  I stressed eating healthy....no high fructose corn syrup, limited fast food and such but sometimes I wonder if this may have also fueled the fire.  I do believe it is multifactoral and not just one contributing incident.  She had the predisposition and WHAM....there you go.