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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CourageForAll
My D16 has been inpatient at a hospital for a month.   She will likely be released early next week.  Her physical health has improved, she's now at 90% of her goal weight and her heart rate has stabilized but it seems like her mental health has not improved at all.  She still doesn't want to eat, though she has been eating about 80% of her food and taking Ensure for the other 20%.  She required an NG tube for one meal a couple of weeks ago but other than that she's eating the food and/or the ensure.  She told me yesterday that she doesn't want to get better. She still doesn't want to eat.  I thought her mental health would start to improve as her physical health improves but I am not seeing any of that at all.  She will be connected with an outpatient team and I'm hoping that she will slowly start to regain her desire to eat and start to be happy and hopeful again but right now I am seeing no signs of that.  How long does it take to get to a stage where she will willingly eat?
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Enn

What you are seeing is expected. It takes months after proper WR for the brain to start to heal. 

The only way is through and you need to just keep feeding. For us after discharge it took about 4 full months to see improvement on mood and attitude at 6 months after dx she was WR but that weight was not high enough. (Many note that their kids needed more than the professionals said- we were one of those families who needed more weight and time). Weight restoration is the first part that helps the body to heal and time and more nutrition and other supports, be them meds or therapy or other, is needed for the brain. 

You need to ensure she eats, she may not tell you she wants to eat for a long time. It took two years for d to say she was hungry. She ate well but never said she wanted to eat. She did have preferred good foods but never said she loved or wanted to have them. It takes time, and by that I mean years for full recovery. 

I know it is hard to see that right now and that to tell you years may be daunting to know. The refeeding takes months at minimum that is where you are now . The rest , well takes much longer.

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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Barberton
@GTAMom@Enn is correct. It takes a while for a child's state to improve and nearly everyone here will tell you that you have to keep refeeding until you do reach that positive state place.

While it would be super to think your d will come home and want to eat, and even feed herself given that she's probably an independent 16yo. But that is probably not what is going to happen. She will most likely need you to tell her what to eat, when to eat it and keep telling her that she is safe and doing the right thing. Keep yourself in the driver's seat on this one - as @Enn says the only way is through - even if the road takes a lot of twists and turns. 
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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salmy

We are 10 months post dx and wr + full 10% with AN D16 and are just in the last 3 weeks seeing real brain recovery where she is gaining more freedom
with selecting and plating as well as less and less ED behaviors including extra face and hand washing and body checking. Another thing is she is using her words instead of bottling up or reacting or shutting down when she is upset. We found we had to stay home to allow more traction for her... same schedule as opposed to traveling. 

Through is the only way. Sadly, there aren’t any shortcuts and the insanity of rooting out every last ED behavior and fear food may drive you bat bleep crazy in the meantime. 😘

D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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PurpleRain
It took 6 months after WR+ cushion here to see brain healing, improved mood etc. It's really a marathon. We still have things to work (clothes, body image) 14 months after WR. But some things improved much much sooner. Sadly, recovery is not linear. 
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018. We found ATDT and started refeeding at home march 2019. WR+ cushion June 2019.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
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CourageForAll
We’re now into the blaming - telling me that her clothes don’t fit, etc.  This is all so heartbreaking.   Your post actually gives me some hope that this might get better in months rather than years.   Maybe we can hope for a good summer 2021.  
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Phinnc
We have been at the recovery game for 10 months now. As.ofnyesterday daughter was at 96% weight for height with only 1.8 kgs to go to reach 100%. I do not see us pushing to go past 100% as she looks fabulous and more importantly around 8 weeks ago her thought and behaviours almost seemed to change overnight. She is almost the girl she was AN struck although not quite there completely. She has had a tough week, exam results plus she split with her boyfriend and although there was upset these situations have been dealt with maturely and not derailed recovery at all. 

I am feeling positive and proud. She goes back to school and Wednesday of this week.and hopefully back to her running club very soon although we will think twice about competitive running for just now. It just happened for us after a lot of hard work from mex my partner and daughter herself. Long may it continue.
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mfab12

Hi my D17 got to 100% WR and a lot behaviours disappeared and Socially/Mood higher. 

Then April  she started back with some exercise - online pe lesson aimed at primary school children and that sparked a rapid step back (Weight loss/moods dived etc), within a couple of weeks we stopped it and had to take back control (she is now getting back to where she was). I’m sharing this as it sounds great @Phinnc that things have moved on but be aware of the running, as exercise can be a massive trigger especially if not in full recovery for a long time. I would not want anyone else to go through any step backs if it can be helped in any way. 

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Phinnc
Thanks MFab12, we will keep an eye on this. Her social life revolved around running and all of her friends are there. I am keen for the social.element that comes with running but will be very aware. She will run.with coaches only and we will be on alert for changes in behaviour away from the club. Gosh, this is not easy but we have come far and should always remember that. X
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salmy
GTAMom wrote:
We’re now into the blaming - telling me that her clothes don’t fit, etc.  This is all so heartbreaking.   Your post actually gives me some hope that this might get better in months rather than years.   Maybe we can hope for a good summer 2021.  

Seeing the physical discomfort... when they just can’t stand to be in their own skin and nothing fits right plus any body dysmorphia is hard. I’m going to tell you what I did, but it went poorly and I think I would do it differently if I had to do this again. When D started outgrowing her clothes I went and bought replacements that were exactly the same or as close to it as I could ... and I silently removed the clothes that no longer fit. D felt disempowered by my
doing this and it took us a long time to recover from that. COVID lockdown happened just around this same time and was hugely beneficial to D because she could stay in cozy clothes, wear her dads shirts and my clothes (which she never asked for but helped herself to) and it not be an issue. We have seen her go from wearing all black, long sleeve and pants when it’s not appropriate, too small vests that squeeze her when she is having a hard time, to shorts and tank tops, dresses, etc. Again, no short cut, only through. Refeeding to get weight restored required me to pretend to be blind and emotionless to her distress. “I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable, keep eating, this is the nourishment your body needs...”
D16 diagnosed AN October 2019 -25% of body weight, but still "healthy weight" per Dr.
Started FBT Dec 2019
July 2020 Fully WR + 10%
2 Months in to Phase 2
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CourageForAll
My daughter's clothes actually do fit her but she's not seeing herself clearly.  She's a competitive athlete and had very strong muscular legs.  She developed her ED during COVID and lost weight quickly over a few weeks, she's now at about 90% WR but not nearly as muscular as she was before so her clothes fit her fine, but I'm sure she's comparing with how she looked 5 weeks ago when she went into the hospital.  Thankfully we still have times now when she is acting like her usual self, but so much of our days is spent with sadness and anger...when she's sobbing that we are forcing her to eat too much,  when she gets the scary ED look on her face when we try to get her to eat, etc.
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Barberton
@GTAMom, you mention above that you are into the "blaming". Ride the wave. Do not get into discussions with her about whether her clothes fit well or not. Let her know that you hear what she is saying, but move things along as best you can. 
D fell down the rabbit hole of AN at age 11 after difficulty swallowing followed by rapid weight loss. Progressing well through recovery, but still climbing our way out of the hole.
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PurpleRain
My D is doing so much better, she is 14 months back to her growth curve +cushion, and just started high school in a new school (still remote learning). Clothes are still complicated, mostly black or gray sweatshirts, baggy jeans, t-shirts (at least not my husband's any more). We went away for a week and she managed to put on a swimming suit, shorts, some sleeveless shirts (I insisted). It's hard to know sometimes what is normal teen behaviour and what is residual ED when it's not about food. It is definitely easier than it was a year,a 9 months ago, but lockdown complicated things obviously, she was doing great just before (sigh).
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018. We found ATDT and started refeeding at home march 2019. WR+ cushion June 2019.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
 
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CourageForAll
Glad that she's doing better.  We have a week's vacation coming up also and it would be great if my D would be comfortable enough to wear a bathing suit.  She's only been home from the hospital for a couple of days and we've had some major low points already.  However, she was able to get her G1 (first level driving licence) this week also so that was a high point for her and there have been some other good moments also.  She was in the hospital for 5 weeks and will be seeing friends tonight for the first time since she was released (just her two best friends coming over for a short backyard visit after mealtime in the evening) which I hope will help her ease back into some kind of social life and provide some kind of reminder as to why it's worthwhile to eat so she can live and enjoy her life.

I haven't responded to her comments about clothes not fitting, etc.  The truth is that she's beautiful (my unbiased opinion of course) but I am not getting into any discussions at all about her body, how she looks, etc.
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CourageForAll
Feeling like the worst parent ever.  Just tried all of my tricks to get her to eat dinner.  She won't take any food or any ensure.  My husband is not home to relieve me and I got frustrated and told her to "just f-ing eat."    I am not good at this.   Finding it so hard to stay calm when there are so many emotions bubbling up.   It took so long to eat lunch today that she had her lunch and snack together when we finally got her to eat.   I guess we will do the same for dinner when hubby gets home.  He can usually get her to eat when she won't listen to me.  We have an appointment tomorrow so we'll see how her weight is after a few days at home.  Sigh.  
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Enn
This is a very trying illness. It is so hard. All day and night I focussed on ED! Truly exhausting and exasperating! We all blow a gasket periodically.Self compassion is something I learned during this journey. It is ok to be human. It is ok to break down a bit. But when that happens remember it is a sign that you need self care , support and or a short a break. I hope you get one. Do something nice for yourself. Sending my best 
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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CourageForAll
Thank you.
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KatieR
We are fairy new to this but have found distraction to be the best technique for us. It is absolutely heart breaking to watch them hate their body and themselves and sob like I have never seen before. I have been using a technique that is used for PTSD where you try and switch off the emotional side of the brain and switch on the logical side. Basically even though my daughter is hysterically sobbing I try to jump in as quickly as possible le and ask her logical questions like count backwards from 325 or tell me the birthdays of the members of your favourite band. This works very quickly and she stops crying almost immediately. You then need to keep the conversation going. I use this sometimes if she's feeling anxious about eating as well and is trying to avoid eating her dinner. It is absolutely exhausting and I am constantly drained and tearful, thinking this will never end but we are seeing progress so we just keep plodding on. I hope this might help you. Big hugs from one mum to another
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