Thank you debra18. I am pretty comfortable with the eating every two to three hours, and indeed have regular conversations saying that due to the amount of energy it takes just for a body and brain to function, she needs to eat whether or not she's hungry. I've reassured her (using the words our CAMHS team gave us) that I will not make her fat. [BTW I know that we shouldn't stigmatise the word fat and that we also need to do work around that whole area, but in the context of our older DDs fears it was that what I feed her and the amount I feed her has never, and will never, cause her to be fat.] Actually now that I have started eating every three hours (three meals, three snacks) I have found that I have fewer mood swings - well, apart from when PMT comes to call but that's a different story...
scaredmom thank you for your reply also. Can I respond point by point?
1. I am frightened to weigh DD. To me, she looks fine and she wears age and size appropriate clothes (though again I am aware that all that is subjective). I have deliberately hidden our scales at home as I don't want what any of us weigh to be an indicator of what we are worth (however I guess that didn't do eldest DD much good as she just found other ways of judging her weight/appearance). I honestly don't know what she weighs, but I do know that she has lost weight around her tummy. She had a little tummy which has gradually diminished, but she has in the past six months gained about four inches in height - I know this because at Christmas she was two inches shorter than me, and now she's two inches taller!). I guess I could weigh her now and then use this as a marker.
- Would you suggest I blind weigh her?
- Or should I take her to the GP, explain my concerns, get them to (blind) weigh her and assure her that she is fine?
- And with what frequency should I continue to weigh her?
I am probably overthinking it, but as I have a history of weight gain and loss and a love/hate relationship with the scales, I am genuinely worried that I will pass this on to her.
2. Thanks for the reassurance that I'm not nagging her. It's really difficult because she is a naturally feisty girl and, coupled with those hormones there are often fireworks!
3. I don't know if I could go in to watch her have her lunch at school - it's certainly something I can discuss with them, but I don't know how practical it would be. I have had big chunks off time off with eldest DD and, as I work in a school myself, then getting out in term time is difficult. But I will bear it in mind. It is the summer holidays in three weeks and as we will both be off, soI will be eating most meals and snacks with her anyway.
4. She doesn't really have a fear food - although I am keeping my eye out for that one as looking back, I can see how eldest DD began to stop having things that previously she had really enjoyed. Youngest DD had been getting wary around biscuits, but then the other day I bought her favourite ones and we both had one with a cuppa as our post-work/school snack and she didn't bat an eyelid. So fingers crossed that will not turn into anything, although I remain vigilant.
You're right, an ED does knock the wind out of you. The way I am feeling now is akin to how I felt 15 years ago when our son (our eldest child) died. He was three and a half and it felt like the rug had been pulled out from under our feet. Back then I was on edge for a long time, worrying that eldest DD (our youngest was not yet born) would die too. It took some time for that to settle down, but I think there is now some kind of catastrophic thinking in my mind around the mortality of my children. I thought the worst thing that could happen would be to lose a child - and then it happened. Then I thought, as my girls started to grow up and I was aware of the prevalence of mental health issues in young people, that it must be really hard to support a child with poor MH. And then eldest DD began to self-harm and my world fell apart again, because although I didn't hit the roof and blame her, it still felt like we had failed her somehow by not noticing. We were beginning to come through that (which I now see was probably a way of her dealing with the burgeoning ED) when we had the RA diagnosis. So then I thought "well at least we can help her at home" - and then despite trying really hard to support her, she has ended up as an IP. And although I know she is in the right place for her right now, it feels like I am grieving all over again. Except now I am grieving and trying to raise my youngest DD who is beautiful and funny and smart and perfect as she is - and I am terrified that I will lose her to an ED in the same way that I have (hopefully temporarily) lost my oldest DD. I know I have not always had a good personal relationship with food and weight and body image, but I don't think I have ever been openly judgmental of anyone's size or appearance (because I have been slim and fat myself). I have always focused on the amazing things our bodies can do, and on the even more fantastic things our brains can do. I have challenged the mixed messages that social media, the fashion and beauty industries, and society in general, give us about our appearance. And yet I have still failed to prevent one daughter developing an ED and feel like 'what if I fail my younger DD too'?
I am so sorry for the really long post, and I didn't mean for it to turn into this. And I really don't want to turn it into a pity party. I also don't expect to have loads of replies, but it's how I feel and I am glad that there's a space here to share it with - hopefully - people who might understand what I'm trying to express.
Thank you x