National Eating Disorders Association

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7 months into recovery and my daughter is so depressed

just wondering if anyone else has experienced depression during recovery. my daughter is 18 and came home from college with anorexia in January. She has been working so hard and wants to get better but cannot shake feeling sad and helpless. she keeps saying that she just wants her old life back. she is to tired of fighting this. she misses her friends but then she really doesn't want to see them. she sees pictures on facebook and instagram and she feels sad and alone. she is hoping to go back to school this fall (a different school that she loves) but i am not sure if she will be ready. i am so afraid of her mental state though if she does not get to go back. i am afraid she will fall deeper into this depression.
her therapist said this is a natural part of her recovery but i am worried it is more? i just want to this to lift for her.

any wisdom would be welcomed!
thank you

there is hope

Hi juli427,
It is so hard to see your child struggle. My daughter is 16 and has ED. She went into a center for ED and stayed for 2 months. When she got home she really struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. She went from bathing once to twice a day (before she went to the Center) to not wanting to bath or change clothes for a few days at a time(after she came home). She would even sleep on the floor, instead of her bed, because she did not feel that she deserved to sleep on a bed. I am happy to report that she has been home for over a year and is doing much better. ED can bring on depression, it is such a horrible disease, it can take so much joy out of those it takes a hold of. For my daughter, she used her ED to numb herself and when she started being healthier, she started to feel more emotions and it was so hard on her, she started feeling anger, happiness, sadness, fear and she actually felt those emotions and it was hard and overwhelming and at times brought on depression. She is finding coping skills though to help her when she feels overwhelmed or depressed. She is talking a lot more and that really helps. For her it has helped when she can get our and do things and get together with friends, even though that scares her at times.
I hope that your daughter continues on her journey to recovery. That going back to school helps her.
How are you doing? ED is also devastating to parents also, I hope you are doing well and are able to take care of yourself. I had to finally go to a councilor and it helped me a lot. I wish I had done it sooner.

Hang in there juli427!

Hi juli427!

Welcome to the NEDA online forums! I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling with depression and anorexia right now. I agree with what 2Joy2love posted in the previous comment that an eating disorder can bring on depression even when individuals want to get better. I know from my own personal experience with an eating disorder, my mother had a really hard time coping with my depression and anxiety, especially during the recovery process. It sometimes felt like things got worse before they got better, BUT it got better!

Have you tried looking at NEDA's Parent Toolkit? It has a lot of great resources and can help answer any questions you might have on how to help your daughter and you, as well. The link is,

Please let us know how you and your daughter are doing during this hard time. You always have a listening ear here! :)



Hi juli427,
I wanted to see how you and your daughter are doing? I am thinking about both of you. You are not alone.
Love is so powerful, the love you have for your daughter will help her beyond what you can imagine. Please take care of yourself.


thank you for checking in

thank you for checking in with us! she is doing a little bit better. i think she had reached her breaking point with her recovery and wanted it all to just go away. we still have bad days but it is getting better. she is planning on leaving to return to school in a few weeks and that is giving her hope of a new beginning and planning for these "normal" things is fun and exciting. it also helps to hear her therapist and medical doctor say that they think she is ready. now all we can do is try and trust and pray that we are making the right decision. thank you again!!! i know it is a rollercoaster and i know we will continue this ride.

New member looking for others with adult children with anorexia

Hi everyone,

My D is 32, married with 2 young kids. She lives on the other side of the country from me. I have recently learned that she's in a treatment facility for anorexia for 6-8 weeks or longer. She has a history of self-harm as an adolescent but has not had an eating disorder before. I am saddened beyond belief and would like to connect with others who have adult children with eating disorders.

Hi Dizzygood. I am sorry to

Hi Dizzygood. I am sorry to hear about your distress around your daughter's circumstances. While I am not a parent of an adult child with an ED, I am a parent and WAS an adult with an ED (pre-kids). I'm hoping that you can at least find some solace in the fact that your daughter has taken the difficult step of committing to a treatment facility. I know very well how difficult that would be as a parent of young kids, but she must have concluded that it was worth the disruption and time away from her family. Which is terrific. I would like to encourage you to express to her your commitment to being part of her recovery support network. Having supportive family members can go a long way in moving through recovery. What she's undertaken is very scary, but knowing that she has loved ones rooting for her success is so helpful. Please keep posting on this forum!

Adult child with anorexia

Hi kids, dogs & cat (I'm an animal lover too and have a dog rescue organization)

Thank you so much for responding. I think I had posted on the wrong thread when I wanted to start a new one. I am so happy to hear from someone who is recovered from an adult ED. I applaud you and thank you for giving me hope for my daughter. Unfortunately, I am unable to show her my support because she doesn't want to communicate with me. I didn't even know she was anorexic and had gone into a treatment facility until she was there 2 weeks. She had made her husband promise not to tell me. But I got so worried when she didn't answer emails or phone calls that I wrote him a desperate letter and he got her permission to tell me. Then it took another week for her to give him permission to tell me what facility she is in. She specifically told him to tell me not to write or call. My daughter has apparently been suffering from depression for a long time. I have known she had "issues" stemming from her adolescence but she has always refused to discuss anything personal with me. We have a great relationship when we are exchanging impersonal emails and when I visit, so long as when I'm there I don't bring up anything of consequence. I feel so helpless knowing that she's in great pain and does not want to share with me. Thanks again for your support. I really need it right now.


We've just started recovery

We've just started recovery with my daughter, and depression has been a big part of this from day 1 for us, in fact I was kind of assuming the ED was a result of depression. I guess my impression has been that depression is a condition of the ED, in other words, I couldn't imagine an ED sufferer without depression? I guess I am showing my ignorance here.

Hard to know

Eating disorders and mental health issues go hand in hand and are so intertwined, it's often hard to know what came first. My daughter's eating disorder started with anxiety -- not depression -- and the ED was her coping mechanism. She did develop short bouts of depression during treatment, but those were pretty short lived once we got the anxiety under control. Your daughter could have started with depression and developed the ED to cope. Or she could have developed depression as a result of the ED. Hard to tell.


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