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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

HateEDwithApassion
Hi, 18 yo WR ED D. WR for more than three years - eating mostly intuitively, knock on wood. Praise! I hope that gives some of you hope. It's a long road, but it can improve.

Hard road though with continuing deep depression that medication doesn't help much. Wants to come home from school most days. Not engaged in school work, friends, etc. In DBT, starting second module - emotional regulation. Not engaged. Says it doesn't work - doesn't really try. Doesn't do homework or diary card. Therapist is working on that, and she likes him. It's adherent and a very good program, in my opinion.

Still pursuing college applications because deadlines are now, and we can always not send her when decision time comes. She says she'll pay for herself if we don't agree to let her go due to health concerns. Ha! 

I feel very angry towards her today. I feel that if she doesn't even try to do DBT skills that might help her, how will anything change? If she won't participate or at least try skills, I can't MAKE her.

How do you parent this? When they are young adults? How do you grapple with wanting to make them well when they don't seem to have the energy or desire to do it themselves? How do you not resent them? Sorry for the vent. I realize others have more dire things today, but three years and counting, I'm tired. And sad.


19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
Quote
Torie
Hi HEWAP,

You've been such a strong support for so long ... no wonder you have periods of tired and exasperated.  And, as you note, you and your d have come a long way, so hoorah for that. 

I don't have any brilliant suggestions, but I'll toss out there what small ideas come to mind.

Has she tried a change up of meds?  Sometimes the third or fourth is the charm.  Haven't some here tried EMDR for depression?  Maybe worth considering if you haven't already.

And, of course, time for yourself.  I hope you're able to treat yourself on a regular basis now that your d has the worst behind her.

Hang in there.  You've done a fabulous job for your d. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Quote
melstevUK
Hi HateEDwithApassion.

It's great that your d is eating well and is at a good weight.  However, at 18 she still has a lot of brain changes and development to go through before she emerges as an adult.

Right now, I am picking up that, while she may be clinically depressed, she is not very happy with her situation. 

I assume she has discussed what she wants to do at college and why but - does she have a clear idea of what she wants her future to be?

At this point a solution-focused approach may help you all - getting your d to state her dreams clearly, and then breaking down into small steps how she can achieve that.  At the moment, what does she think the DBT is helping her to achieve?  There seems to be some apathy around her present life - why might that be?

What you can say in all this is that - whatever her illness and suffering - she has to learn to mature enough to lead a useful, fulfilling and worthwhile life and that she needs to make some effort towards this.  You don't have to be angry, maybe take a more philosophical approach.  

I share your frustration - what we would all give just to have kids with 'normal' teenage difficulties - but we don't.  And we have to try and steer them through in whatever way is possible. I have always pushed my d into fighting for a worthwhile future, and while she was low weight for years, this approach worked well for us.  

Also, if life for your d is not very enjoyable in the present - maybe you can encourage her to do something every day which lifts her mood a little.  We all have to find space in the day for keeping our spirits up when life is tough, if we are to keep going.

Hope this helps a little.  You have done a great job so far. x


Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
Quote
Francie
Hi HateED,
I am sorry for what you're going through. You have been so supportive of your d and so supportive of me and many of us here on the forum.

I am sure that when you feel better you are validating your daughter's ambivalence. Ambivalence is a part of the recovery process.

Does your d at least make the effort to go to DBT? Does she go to school and do her schoolwork/homework? If so, make a notice of it and praise her for getting up in the morning and doing what she has to do even though right now she's not feeling that any of it is helpful. Say something like 'I know you are not feeling like DBT/school is helpful right now and you are just going through the motions but I give you a lot of credit for putting in the effort to show up despite how bad you are feeling.' or something along those lines if you think it's warranted.

It may be that you and she just have to ride out these doldrums for the moment. Maybe all she can do for the time being is show up. Show you have faith in her that her mood and her situation will improve, that you're proud of all she's accomplished, that you love her and that she'll get through this.

And remember that for yourself, too: be proud of all that you've accomplished and remember these angry/sad feelings are temporary. Tomorrow is a brand new day and a brand new start. XOXOXO


Francie

Quote
HateEDwithApassion
Hi ladies,
You are all so sweet. Thanks for the encouragement. Update a few days later is the same, but I am seeing a therapist in the DBT group who is helping me sort out some of this and at least lets me give voice to my frustration.  D does go to DBT - just says it's boring. Likes her individual therapist though. She does her homework right before group, and her diary card last minute without thought. Today her therapist offered to let her skip one group class if she did her diary card for a certain time period. He must be getting to the end of his rope, too. haha.  

It's true - if someone won't engage in DBT, there's not much to do about it. We have changed up the meds a few weeks ago - adding Wellbutrin, which I can't say is helping much if at all. 

I am taking time for myself, but boy am I co-dependent on this child - so desperate to make her well. I'm having a hard time letting go of "normal" and readjusting my hopes/expectations. I really need to work on that. It's painful - I know you all know. 

You all gave good advice. One that really stuck with me was when you said, Francie, that maybe for now just going is enough. And that I need to positively reinforce even just that. I think you are right - and actually it's a tenet of DBT to reinforce what you want to see more of. Thanks for pointing that out. It's a hard one to reinforce something you think they should just be doing anyway.

Thanks for taking the time to respond even though I know this is not as urgent as some of our other friends' situations on here. I really appreciate it. [smile]
19 yo D. AN - since about 15 years old. WR quickly - but the last four years have been tough. Since Sept. 2017, two residential stays, now in IOP, fighting a relapse. ED is hanging on, mental state not great, can't get her to remain at a weight long enough or high enough to see mental healing. She's on a gap year that will likely now turn into two.
Quote
Psycho_Mom
Hi,

So sorry you're having such a long, frustrating, slow road. I'd like to echo whoever pointed out that she igoing, and doing the homework. Also remember, that it sometimes happens at this age that a teen would rather DIE than admit to a parent that they like something, find something useful, or that the parent was in any way right. 
Your girl is going to DBT and being exposed to ideas that can help her. That's a lot.  
And yes, keep searching for the right combination of meds.

best wishes,
D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
Quote
Francie
....so desperate to make her well. I'm having a hard time letting go of "normal" and readjusting my hopes/expectations. I really need to work on that. It's painful - I know you all know. 


HateED: you very pointedly got to me with that line. You are so right.

Francie

Quote
Kali
Hi HateEdWithaPassion

Sorry your d. is still struggling with the depression.

It is possible that as far as the depression goes, that a change of scene might actually help her, if the eating is not a problem. (leaving for college)

Just saying from the point of view that in retrospect, I was depressed as a teen living at home; we had moved halfway through my high school years and I HATED the new high school and had trouble making friends, then when I went away to college and was really engaged in what I was doing and had new friends and saw a new world opening up, it helped enormously. I even remember my parents trying to get me to see a therapist and I completely refused to speak to the person and sat through several silent sessions before they gave up on that. Then they tried to get me to do transcendental meditation and I also refused to speak with that person because they told me I would have to stop smoking weed in order to meditate properly. (and why would my 16 year old self want to do that?) So part of my teenage rebellion was refusing to do TM. My parents were way cooler than I realized from my very limited teenage perspective! And now I think meditation is a wonderful thing.

So sometimes a new life, new friends and new challenges can bring new hope to someone who is suffering from depression.

Kali
Food=Love
Quote
Penny31
I agree wholeheartedly with Kali. It was definitely going to uni that helped my own recovery from AN. I was unhappy at school, and having been labelled as the 'anorexic girl' I felt that that identity had stuck and that it would therefore be pointless trying to shake it. At uni I was able to reinvent myself, and also risk making mistakes on my own road to recovery now that I was no longer under my mum's constant scrutiny. I actually found it really liberating to be able to eat more without anyone making a massive song and dance about it, as they would have done at home. I know lots of people are at greater risk when they move away from their parents, but with me it was the opposite. After having been unhappy at school I loved every minute of uni, and had something to live for. College may be exactly what your D needs. 
14 year-old D diagnosed with AN in March 2016. Episodes of self-harming, anxiety, severe depression. Waiting for a CAMHS assessment to see if there's an additional diagnosis. 
Quote
BattyMatty_UK
Hi HateED, you sound just like me 4 or 5 years ago! Taking a back seat, gradually, was something that was very difficult to do - but my son was always aware that I was there for him should he need me. In 2012, he was eager to go to uni (his treatment team said there was no reason on this earth why he wasn't well enough to go) and away he went. But he was back within days; he simply wasn't ready. He took a gap year and did some voluntary work (I insisted he do this as a caveat for returning home). He made a 2nd attempt at uni the following year and although it was a rocky road (and he came home every weekend), it very gradually got better over the 3 years he was at university. The final year, especially, was massively successful on every front and he is still at uni, now doing a Masters - and fully recovered. Back in 2012 he was struggling with the remnants of the ED plus the fact that it had destroyed his social life and isolated him. He was very lonely. But at uni (once he'd settled in, probably by the start of the 2nd year) he met like-minded young people through a couple of university societies. (For the past 3 years he's been on the Committee of the biggest society!) The transformation on the social front has been HUGE - and this was one of the last ED-induced problems to disappear. I hope this offers hope - and help!
Bev Mattocks, mother of 24-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
 
Quote
Francie
Hi HateED, I like the idea that Kali came up with, also. Would you feel safe sending your d off to college? Maybe she does just need a change. XO

Francie

Quote
Kali
Hi

I just want to add that I am only saying that it might be an idea to send her to college because she is able to eat independently and her weight is not an issue. But since freshman year/transitions are a time where relapse is a real possibility, maybe there should be some supports in place. 

Depression is a very serious illness. Perhaps she should be near enough to home that you can have eyes on visits every couple of weeks in the beginning, (no more than 2-3 hours drive away?) and encourage her to continue in therapy with a good therapist who can sound the alarm bell if she should become more depressed. If she is on medication she will also need to be seeing a psychiatrist. Although I'm suggesting that a change has the possibility to inspire her and reignite her interests and passions and lift her out of the depression and into the next stage of her life, you know your daughter best and I would not want to suggest something that might be dangerous for her. 

Best

Kali
Food=Love
Quote
Francie
HI HateED, I would not want to put Kali on the spot, and I'm afraid I may have contributed to that with my posting above. Yes, you know your daughter best so you'll do what is best for her.

I remember being depressed as a teen / ya and what got me out of it was discovering a hobby that I became passionate about, and that I was able to immerse myself in, and which I still enjoy. So the solution to getting out of depression is not one size fits all.

Sending good thoughts your way. XO

Francie

Quote
WeNWinning
Depression is just as lethal as an EDO and as they get older, it is important that the weight is increasing as well.

A treatment that I saw really helped my D with Major Depression was rTMS and it is now covered by many insurance companies.  You can look it up on neurostar website and see where there is a provider near you.

I also get this treatment for my seasonal affective disorder and they do bilateral treatment for PTSD.

there are studies using this treatment for EDO and body dissatisfaction.

If your D is not responding to medications then this is another option

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
Quote
mjkz
I would be very careful of a geographical treatment having tried that myself for my depression.  No matter where you go, there you are so it can be very dangerous to think that will help things.

HateED, how is the family group going? (I think you said you were doing family DBT skills group too?-Sorry if I got that wrong).

Another thought and I've done this with pretty good success is Al-Anon family group meetings.  It really helped me reframe what I could do and how to help without the co-dependency and learning how to deal with wanting something for my daughter far more than she seemed too.
Quote
believing
Hi hateEDwithpassion,
I read your post and could have written it myself. I don't have much to offer but just to say you are not alone! And it also reminds me I am not alone as I've been feeling a lot of sadness in all of this. We are also in the same position, dbt program and college apps. As I see my daughter filling out the diary card and homework moments before leaving for appt I remind her this is not how it's to be done. How can that be an accurate assessment of skills used etc? Is she engaged in this? She also says she "knows all the skills". After four years of struggles (adding ED 1 year ago) I am exhausted and know I can only do so much. I'm worn out and it is her life and I feel I've offered the best help (which has been a huge sacrifice in all areas including$$$$$) and done the best I can to parent and love her. She has done one college app and wants desperately to go, but I don't know that she has the motivation or maturity. I want all things in place if she ends up being able to go. Sometimes I feel I have parented her poorly by doing so much for her and wonder if she can be successful on her own, yet it seems that's what has been needed especially with the food. Now her therapist is showing her weight because she says she's no longer restricting (2 weeks) That was probably a big mistake and I told her therapist that. Now she knows she's gained. I do feel so bad for all the others who have it far worse with the eating disorders as well. I think I too may need to work on accepting this is our reality and may be forever and not wishing things were different. They may never change and I can find ways to move forward in it. Thanks for your post! ❤️
Quote
Kali
Hi HateEdwithaPassion,

Here is a link to an article which has some good ideas about how to support a YA with an eating disorder in transitioning to more independence and eventually, college:

http://www.edcatalogue.com/complex-considerations-for-parents-of-a-college-student-with-an-eating-disorder/

Kali
Food=Love
Quote

        

WTadmin