National Eating Disorders Association

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Meeka2
residential treatment

Hello, I have a 15 year old daughter suffering with ED for just over two years. Have been doing weekly counseling/dietician/pediatrician since. We have tried IOP for 6 weeks about a year ago. She just can not get to "range". She has also struggled with OCD/anxiety since about age 4. We are now looking at residential treatment for her. She is very ready to get started as soon as possible with residential. She knows she can not do this anymore and she just ready to be done with this disease ruining her life. I try very hard to understand what she is going thru and be supportive but she has a way of twisting your words and then blaming you for being "triggering". So this is my question and I hope someone can shed light on this for me because it makes me feel bad but it might be normal. She said she does not want her family to visit her in treatment because her biggest fear is us thinking she looks healthy or saying she looks good. Also, She said she feels guilty eating. She wants to go where no one knows her so no one will judge her on how she looked before and when she gets back to normal. I do not feel like anyone has ever judged her on her looks or weight or anything else is our house. So confused and just want her to be happy and healthy.

jladdish
I know this is such a

I know this is such a frustrating and confusing disease. I have a 22 year old daughter who has been suffering from AN for about 3 years. She is just now in treatment (she's on about week 6). She refused to go (had to withhold her phone and car) so if there's anything good - it's that your daughter wants help. I was told they can't get healthy until they're ready, so I hope that's a good sign for your daughter. What I'm learning is that it isn't your daughter talking and lashing out at you - it's the anorexia talking. I've compared it to a little "anorexic devil" on her shoulder competing with the "non-anorexic angel" on the other shoulder. It's taken me a while to just let some things go that she says to me - otherwise I would just want to yell and scream at her which I know wouldn't help. It's a lot of being the punching bag and I can deal with that if it means it helps her get her feelings out. It's not easy - I won't lie. My daughter, also, doesn't want family or friends knowing her business. She only wants me to go to therapy (she won't let her dad go). And we have to respect that. It's a disease with such a stigma attached and my daughter tells me she's embarrassed that everyone is judging her. I've tried to tell her it's a disease and noone would blame her if she had cancer, but we know her brain doesn't comprehend things like a healthy brain, so I just keep reassuring her and wait for the day her brain is healthy again. I've talked to friends and family and explained my daughter's wishes. I know they all want to help - but this is how they can help. Just treat her as if nothing is wrong. I tell them don't call or text any more than you normally would. Don't tell her "you look good" or "treatment seems to be working". Anything that references her appearance is detrimental. I'm learning it's not what you've done in the past - it's just the mind of someone with AN. This is my 2nd daughter to be treated for AN (the other was 12 when she went to treatment and has never relapsed). There is genetic ties to it which is helping me with the "mom" guilt that I did this to my daughters. I have found a family support group at a local church and hope that will help me with my questions on how to get through this. I hope only the best for your daughter and you family. It sounds like she's on the right track - hang in there!

BobJ48
"Triggers" etc.

" I try very hard to understand what she is going thru and be supportive but she has a way of twisting your words and then blaming you for being "triggering". "

The whole "triggering" thing is really common among people who are questioning things internally. Keep in mind : EDs are about control, and yet here they are, going somewhere that's going to take that control away from them. Or so it feels like to them. So you can understand why they might be on edge. "Triggering" is basically the current term for anything that's upsetting to a person, and it's normal for people with EDs to be upset and unsettled by the thought going into treatment, no matter how much they understand that it's for their own good.

Again, it's the many paradoxes that have begun to swirl around the theme of control for them. Is restricting being in control ? Is getting back to a healthy weight being in control ? It all used to be so clear-cut for them, and so easily measured by numbers, but now they don't really know what to think. And people can find themselves really on edge about that. Just as you might if you felt that life was slipping beyond your control, despite everything that you tried to do.

Also it's common for people to feel like they are going to be judged on their appearance when in treatment. As Jlladish mentioned above, pretty much every comment regarding appearance, no matter how positive seeming to us, is going to get translated into "You look fat". Best to keep it to comments like "It's always so good to see you" you know ?

The positive in all this is that studies have shown that the strongest predictor of good outcomes in treatment is the attitude that people arrive with. So the fact that your daughter actually feels the need to go is an honest reason for encouragement !

iwanttolive
Meeka2

Hi there. I hear your struggles and as a daughter having been where your daughter is at, I just want to let you know that when the eating disorder takes over, you daughter isn't thinking clearly and will lash out and seemingly be mean. I am shocked when my mother tells me how I treated her when I was struggling at my worst. I had no idea and still don't know the degree to which I hurt both my parents by my anger, fear and again, fear. I would never want to hurt them. I suspect it is the same with your daughter. Fear speaking and the eating disorder trying to keep her stuck. The eating disorder caused me to be a different person. I lost myself in the disease. SO I hope this helps you and that you don't blame yourself and take on the wounding words. Your daughter is scared. Even when we want to surrender the eating disorder, it is still very difficult.

I also hated when people told me I looked good or healthy. The anorexic brain hears, you got fat. That is all it hears. So if people want to encourage her maybe they can comment on something other than her appearance. You have compassion, or you do this well, something unrelated to her appearance.

I hope this helps some. I am into my ninth month of full recovery. My parents live three houses away and we are very close. Just be patient, and please don't take on her anger. Her rage. It isn't your fault. All parents make mistakes because they learn as they go along and there is no "how to be a parent" programs out there. If you are doing the best you can do given the circumstances, then shake off the negativity and just love your daughter. That is what she needs right now. Love and for you to be there when she needs you. Again, I do hope some of what I said you found helpful. I have to go now so take care and I hope to see you again and give us an update.
iwanttolive

Meeka2
Thanks for reaching out

Thanks. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to reach out to me. Hope some day when I look back on this situation I can do the same for others.

Meeka2
Still trying to get approved for residential.

Thank you all for your comments on my last post. We had an intake interview with a residential place and they are saying she does not meet criteria. She has not been in her weight Range for over 2 years. She is dehydrated every time they take blood and her estrogen level is that of an 80 year old post menopausal woman. The thought of food controls her life and stress and anxiety fuel it. I want her to go to a different place that will meet her where she is at but it is out of network with insurance. When they finally want help you have to hurry up and wait.

2Joy2love
Meeka2

So stressful. To get to the point of getting her into a program to help and then have her turned away. When my daughter was admitted, she was a bit underweight. It was not her weight, but her heart issues that got her admitted. ED not only causes low weight, but can cause issues with heart, potassium levels, ect. Did they check her heart?
Good luck. I hope you can find a program to help her. Take care of yourself.
2Joy2love

Meeka2
EKG shows bradycardia, which

EKG shows bradycardia, which she has had since before this ED started. Her potassium is low and has been since this all started. I think because to her water makes her feel full and full means fat in her mind. Her estrogen is very low with no periods f0r 6 months. Other labs looked ok. Still waiting to hear what is going on. What is the difference between inpt and residential? I don't want inpt if they are just gonna get her weight and and labs good and send her home. She needs coping tools and someone to teach her how to eat on her own again instead of being on a meal plan. She does not even know what is normal as far as using your hunger as a way to eat. Thanks for listening. I feel soo clueless.

Meeka2
residential treatment-waiting list

So she was accepted into the residential program and they explained that they made a mistake when they told me she did not meet criteria. They really meant that they were trying to decide if she met criteria for inpt. or residential. So she is on the waiting list for residential, which could take a month. Just hope she can maintain til she can get the help she needs. I have faith in her. I know she is a fighter and she has such big goals that are being threatened by this disease. She sees it and wants to get this behind her. I am reading these posts over and over to get thru the days, they really do help. Just knowing we are not alone in this is helpful. I will miss her horribly when she is away, she is my baby, but it gives us all hope that she can conquer this and come back with some tools to control it for good. Thanks everyone.

BobJ48
Don't ask me !

Meeka,

Oh brother, all those various terms for treatment ! IP, OP, POP, IOP, Residential : It's hard to keep them straight, and understand what their various thrusts and approaches are.

As I understand it ( hopefully others will speak up ! ). IP means "inpatient", and means that a "patient" is "in" the hospital 24/7 to primarily address the pressing medical aspects of their ED. It's the most intense of the medical approaches, and doesn't always have much to do with therapy. It's more about addressing what are viewed as significant and immediate medical dangers. So for people who might drop dead at any moment, IP is usually where they get sent.

Residential is also 24/7, but is more for people who are fairly stable on the medical end of things, and is often like a group home experience where we think of them doing therapy and other activities to address their issues, along with working on eating issues via taking supervised meals along with the rest of the group. So it's pretty much the most intense of the therapy approaches.

IOP, POP, OP are various other less intensive approaches, where the person may attend treatment for part of the day, while living "off campus" and thus take part in more of the outside world. So they are still "P"s (for "patient") but they are "O" (for "out") rather than "I" (for "in") the hospital.

To confuse matters more, the "I" in IOP means "Intensive", and often means that they live in somewhat conventional housing that is close at hand, but not at the hospital per sa, but which is often associated with the program. IOP folks will indeed spend most of their day at the program, but go home at night, where they live unsupervised.

POP means "partial out patient" and along with OP, the people can still live at home, and go to school or live at college.

I may be wrong about much of this, but it's the best decipherment I've been able to come up with for all these various terms and levels of approaches!

Meeka2
Thanks. So she is leaving

Thanks. So she is leaving for residential on Thursday. She is ready, scared but ready. Her labs are getting worse, she needs this to happen soon. I will miss her like crazy but I know we can not do this on an outpt basis anymore. Its been 2+ years and my daughter just looks defeated and honestly we are all tired. This will be a good thing in the long run, hopefully she will come home with all she needs to fight it. The holidays will really suck and she will be gone for her birthday but as soon as she is ready for visitors we will be there. We will keep you posted on how she is doing. God bless.

iwanttolive
Meeka2

Hi. I myself had to go to residential more than once. So I am happy that your daughter is going. Please do not feel guilty about being tired and having time to heal yourself. Eating disorders are insidious as you well know. Is she going to be far? I was several hours away by plane. This can be a time of healing for your family. And especially your daughter. Do you know how long she will be in? Have you considered therapy for yourself? It may help you. I will say a prayer for you and your family. Best of luck.
iwanttolive

Meeka2
She will be a couple hours

She will be a couple hours drive from us. They said she could be gone 30 to 90 days, depending on how much time she needs. Honestly I want her to stay as long as it takes so hopefully we wont have to do it again. I will be soo happy when she is home but I want her home happy and able to live a somewhat normal teenage life. So if that takes 3 months or more, so be it. I have not had time for therapy really. My son went to treatment about a year ago for drugs and co exiting anxiety and I am also the primary care giver for my 88 year old mother. So the last 2+ years have been stressful around here. I am sure us dealing with my sons problems has not made the AN easier for my daughter. I have gone to 1 Alanon meeting and bought the book and that really did help me deal with both the AN and drug issues. I have been turning to God for help and that really has saved me in a lot of ways. Thanks for responding. It is nice to hear from someone who actually lived it. It is so difficult to understand what goes thru the mind of a person affected by this disease. As stressful as it is for family and friends it has to be 1000 fold more stressful for the patient and so exhausting. I think just getting away from everything and everyone has to be such a relief in a lot of ways. School, social media, family and friend drama, and maybe not having to think so much about following a meal plan (letting someone else take control of it) and just having time to focus on how to talk yourself thru ED thoughts without any distractions. It will be a good thing, I just know it. Thanks for listening. God Bless.