National Eating Disorders Association

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Parental advice

Hello Parents ~

This forum is a safe place to discuss your experience with having a child who suffers from an Eating Disorder. So tell us - what is the most challenging part of supporting your child through an Eating Disorder?

Let us know.

mom111
I find the most challenging

I find the most challenging part is figuring out what is the "right" way to support. For instance, when my loved one got home from inpatient, we were told that we should not walk on eggshells but it is really hard to do that when you are constantly watching what you say or what/how you eat. It became apparent that there were some very obvious triggers and then some not so obvious ones. It is difficult when as a caregiver, you try really hard and it just isn't "good enough".

Droosan
I agree

I am in the same situation. One day I say something and it is okay, the next day it is not. I have asked my daughter to tell me what helps and what doesn't. I try to stick to what she says but it is so hard to watch and do nothing, even when experience has shown me that doing anything but nothing makes everything worse.

michael26
Hi Droosan!

Hi!

Thank you for spending the time to access these forums and for trusting us with your emotions! Supporting a child with an eating disorder is a very complicated and exhausting process. However, there are people who are here to help!! Have you seen NEDA's Parent Toolkit? It includes a lot of resources for how to support your daughter. Here's the link to it:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/toolkits

Also, another great resource that you have access to is the NEDA Navigators! These trained volunteers are available for more personal support and suggestions. If you indicate you are a parent when you request for one, you will be connected with a Navigator who is a parent of a child in recovery. If you would like to learn more, you can check out this link:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Droosan
Thank you

Hi, I have the toolkit. I looked at the navigator's site but I live overseas. I am thinking about trying to start a parent group here because I know our family isn't the only one dealing with ED.

michael26
You're Welcome!

Hi there!

That's great you have the toolkit!

I just wanted to let you know that the NEDA Navigators are open for everyone no matter where they live. We have Navigators in several countries aside from the USA as well, so we would be more than happy to try and assign you with the best possibility!

Stay strong!

LegacyofLove
Loving Challenge

Hi mom111,

First of all, I want to applaud you for your courage to seek guidance in an effort to further support your loved one. ED creates definite challenges for the family, friends or caregiver of a loved one, as well as for the loved one struggling with an ED.

Perhaps you may consider the following NEDA resource link to provide additional insight and guidance regarding the challenges for Parents of ED sufferers:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends

There is also a Support Group resource link you may want to explore:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-help-support

NEDA also has a Parent Toolkit that tackles the complex nature of eating disorders in a way that is useful and easy to understand. I believe you'll find this to be a wealth of information.

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends

Last, but certainly not least, I would encourage you to always feel free to contact the trained and very caring NEDA Helpline staff at #1.800.931.2237. They are available to assist you from 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday.

I hope this provides some measure of help. Rest assured, you are providing the "right" and loving support for your loved one.

Wishing you and your loved one well.

dadsmutt
Mother of now adult son with ED

Hello. I am the mother of a son who is now 21. He started down the dark ED road when he was 15. Been in and out of hospitalization, counseling, treatment, etc., since 15. It's so very difficult once they turn 18 because parents then have little control. He still lives with me. Binge/purges now. Sees his counselor occasionally and a psychiatrist randomly. I am absolutely emotionally drained and exhausted. Everything I've done up to this point has done no good. I am turning the tables and trying to do the 'tough love' stuff. I refuse to continue to buy groceries, refuse to give him money for gas on occasion when he's spending every bit of his spare money on groceries each night so he can binge/purge. I would love ot hear from other parents who have been in this position of having a child with an ED morph into an adult with an ED. Understand too that his emotional maturity level is about that of a 15 year old. He's a good "kid" but so lost in this illness.

eghall
Your frustration is understandable

Dear dadsmutt -

It is all too common for parents to get very frustrated with their child's behavior when he/she is suffering from an eating disorder. It's important to remember he is not choosing to continue his behavior - it's an illness. I can hear your frustration, and understand the switch to 'tough love' behavior. However, generally that may cause him more guilt and push him further into his eating disorder. Punishment, such as withholding groceries, doesn't help him towards recovery. It could worsen the situation. Again, you are not alone in reacting in such a way. It's just that it doesn't promote positive healing and unfortunately you cannot control another person's behavior.

He is struggling everyday with his eating disorder. He didn't choose to get it in the first place and he is not choosing to continue. Let him know that you love and support him and that you believe in him and his ability to recover. It's important for him to know he is loved no matter what. Any feelings of guilt or failure from others is going to send him backwards.

It's good to hear he does have some professional help, although it doesn't seem to be enough. As for you, have you thought about going to a support group for parents? It's important that you get support too and that you have people you can talk to who know what you are going through. Find some in your area here:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment/support-groups-res...

Also, here is a parent toolkit for you to help with how to communicate and best help your son:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/toolkits

I know you are frustrated and that is completely understandable. You guys can get through this! Your son deserves a healthy life! Eating disorders make people feel very unworthy of everything so help him understand he deserves to feel worthy and that he is a valuable person to you and to others.

Any other parents want to comment on this?

erenlightman
Adult eating disordered children

As soon as my daughter turned 18, it became impossible to talk to counselors and so I just gave up. While confidentiality is paramount, there's got to be a way to allow family members to support their adult children. It's almost like your hands are tied once they're 18. I don't blame you for being emotionally exhausted. We have to live with the behaviors and then we end up feeling like we've given and given everything. I don't have an answer yet, either.

michael26
Hi there!!

Hi! Thank you for trusting these forums with your post! I am sorry to hear about the struggles you have had to experience as a parent with a child who has an eating disorder. I know that it was difficult for my parents, but now that I am recovered I have such a sense of respect and love for my parents since they supported me all along the way!!

Have you heard of the NEDA Navigators? They are a group of volunteers who are those who have recovered or are parents of children who have recovered. If you request a Navigator through the link below, you can be put into direct contact with a parent who will have great words of encouragement and help for you and your situation!!

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

Also, have you heard of the Parent, Family, and Friends Network? It includes a whole toolbox that can help you better understand how best to support your child.

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/toolkits

I hope that these resources can help you and your child! Please let me know if you have any questions!

bartliks
helping your son

I hear the frustration, despair and I feel how scared you are. I can relate to you whole heartedly. My son developed ED when he was 17 and had enlisted in the military. Right when he turned 18 was when the real battle began to get him into treatment. He turns 20 in January. He has been in and our of treatment several times including intensive in patient. He has been hospitalized near death 3 times in the past year. He is on the road to recovery but he still has ED behaviors. His weight will drop dramatically and he will get dangerously low, then he gains weight and pulls himself back. This seems to be a pattern with him.

A couple things I would like to share with you about our situation and what I learned along the way. I had become an enabler to his disease which only made ED grow stronger. Trying to stop him from eating our food and then purging, tracking his moves and behaviors, refusing to buy groceries, threatening etc. etc. I had become a prisoner to this disease and our family seemed to be trapped. Today, I no longer enable ED to control my life our that of our family. We moved our son out of our house into his own apt. and have set some strict guidelines if he wants to come over. He understands that we will support his recovery for health and wellness but we simply refuse to support any decisions he makes for sickness and death. If he is having behaviors, he isn't allowed in our house. We will not give him money for gas for his car or give him spending money etc. We will fill his car with gas so he can get back and forth to school. He also understands that at anytime his life is in danger, we will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary. He still sees a therapist on a regular basis.

This has been a painful, exhausting and horrific journey. I'm not telling you to use tough love but from my expeirience and from the treatment centers, interventionists, therapists directions. this is what we are doing and it seems to be working. While ED's are mental health and emotional disorders, they are also about choices. You can't force him not to engage in behaviors or save his life. What you can do is take care of yourself, attend Ala-non groups and be there if he needs you. You can also not enable him. He has to choose to want to get better. While we still get into battles once in a while, we have learned to communicate better. Living on his own has been one of the hardest transitions he has ever had to make. He is lonely but at the same time he is figuring things out for himself and learning to take responsibility for his actions.

Sometimes as parents, the hardest gift and best thing we can do for our children is use tough love and let them figure things out for themselves. You can support your son but you don't have to support ED. We are starting to do speaking engagements so we can educate, offer support and spread the word about this horrible disease that is destroying lives.

SintraM
Daughter is in residential for 2nd time in last 3 months

I am at a complete loss. My 16 year old has been suffering with ED for almost a year now and it was diagnosed in late September. She has been in outpatient program, day program and eventually inpatient for 6 weeks. She was discharged and went back to day program for approximately 3 weeks and is back in residential.
It has been very difficult to live the life we have been living. I am divorced. My daughter has had behavorial issues which make this more difficult. I have done everything to be supportive, including sitting with her during mealtime and playing word games for an hour and a half each meal. I work, I rush home from work because her dinner must be ready by 6 p.m. or else. This has really taken a huge toll on my health.
Has anyone else ever had to deal with the behavorial issues and self bodily harm following each meal? Screaming and yelling constantly? Please somebody, I am in need of such guidance as I will NEVER abandon my daughter but I am close to losing my own sanity.

eghall
You are an amazing mother

Hi SintraM,

I am not a parent, but I did suffer through meal time when recovering from my ED. It is an incredibly difficult struggle in our head right after eating. After a meal, I would be angry and crying. I was hard to reason with, so I know what your daughter is going through. That being said, the impact you are having on her by being there with her and for her is tremendous. I commend you for not giving up on your daughter although I'm sure you've been tempted to. I know your role in all of this is not an easy one, so I am proud of you for your strength.

It's very understandable that your sanity is being tested. EDs are hard on not only the one who suffers from it, but for everyone involved - parents, friends, siblings, etc. My recommendation to you would be to find a therapist for yourself, even better if it is one that specializes in EDs. You need support and understanding too! Maybe even a support group of other parents will help you. Here is a place to search for some in your area:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment/support-groups-res...

Any other parents out there want to discuss their situation with SintraM?

SintraM
Thank you eghall

Thank you so much for your kind words. I did visit my daughter this past weekend and she has actually indicated that she is ready for recovery which I believe is a huge step. She states that now she is struggling because she wants to get better. I am hoping that this is the turnaround we needed.

eghall
Good news

I am so happy to hear that your daughter said that. I, too, hope this is the big step forward that you all need. I had that moment myself in recovery and it really helped move me forward. Keep us updated!

SintraM
Still struggling

Saw my daughter this weekend and she was very angry because she has been complying. She also expressed a lot of anger and hate towards her nutritionist which has me extremely worried and concerned. Is this a normal reaction to feel towards the nutritionist who is making your meal plan?? Help!!! I am very worried and scared that my daughter now says she just wants to get out of there and come home to lose all the weight again. I am hanging on by a thread at this point.

michael26
Hope!

Hi, SintraM,

I know I am new to posting on your thread, but I just wanted to encourage you! Although I cannot state that it is normal to have feelings of dislike towards a nutritionist, I will assure you that it is not your daughter speaking. It is her eating disorder. I don't know how old your daughter is, but it is crucial for her to know that there is the ED and there is her. Maybe you can help her initiate this awareness?

How else can I support you? What are your needs? I am more than willing to share my experience in recovery and also share how my relationship with my parents was like during the process.

SintraM
Please share

Thank you for your response. I would like to know how your experience in recovery was and how your relationship with your parents was like. My daughter is 17 now and I was divorced about 2 years ago. Her dad remarried and I am getting married in September. I know this all had an effect on her. I cannot help but feel guilty of leaving her father and causing her this pain. My marriage was one of abuse though my daughter thank God did not see the physical part but did observe the verbal abuse and the screaming and yelling while growing up.
I am so worried and scared for her and I really wish there was more that I can do.

eghall
Don't blame yourself

Hey SintraM -

I can tell you that while I was in treatment, I, and everyone else, was very mad at our nutritionist. They have a tough job when it comes to those suffering from ED because they are the ones who tell us and enforce how much we need to eat, and that is what our minds are telling us not to do. So, the fact that your daughter is angry at her nutritionist is VERY common. The same goes for her talk of wanting to leave treatment and lose weight. Her battle to rid herself of her ED is going to be one of the biggest and toughest fights of her life. I felt the exact same way, said the exact same things and here I am - recovered. It can be done.

I know you place a lot of blame on yourself for what your daughter is going through. A lot of times it's not just one certain event (i.e. you leaving her dad) that causes these things, but it can be many things. Try to take that energy you are using to blame yourself and use it getting your daughter well. You can't change what she saw/heard/felt in you and her dad's relationship, but you can help her change her future. It is not your fault that you were in an abusive marriage. When you get down about that, remember that you may have saved your daughter from future harm by getting yourselves out of that situation. You walked away from abuse and that is really hard. Be proud. Your daughter is fighting to walk away from her abuser, her ED. If you ever remember feeling scared to leave your abusive husband, that is how your daughter feels leaving her ED. Her ED is controlling her thoughts and her actions and saying "if you leave me, you will fail. You will be alone. You can not survive without me."

My parents have been married 43 years and I still ended up with an ED. My recovery sounded just like your daughters - fighting, tears, holding on with all I had. Trying anything not to eat, blaming everyone who tried to help me eat, acting angry and defiant. But gradually things changed. I know it breaks your heart to hear that your daughter wants to give up. But most of us in recovery want to because we don't know any other way to live and it's a scary prospect. So just be there to listen to her, empathize with her and let her know you love her and you are not giving up on her, even if she gives up on herself.

michael26
My Story

Hi SintraM,

First, I want to provide some comfort and reassurance that your decision to leave your previous abusive relationship was the right decision. No one deserves to be treated like that, and although you might not see it now, your daughter will recognize the strength and value you have within you. This is such an important thing to have demonstrated to your daughter! You are a great mother for the love, concern, and desires you have for your daughter!

As far as how my journey through recovery has looked, my eating disorder was a very secretive thing from when I was 10 until I was 16. At that time, I became medically unstable and my parents found out that way. We went without much of any true help for several years. When I was 19, I decided to go to a residential facility, and I would not have been able to go if my parents were not there to support me in several ways. It was by far the best decision of my life.

Before I entered a higher level of treatment, my parents and I felt extremely alone, especially with me being a male with an eating disorder. But, this did not have to be the case. There are so many resources now that you can use to get support; you don't have to do this alone! Did you know NEDA can help you find a support group? It here:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment/support-groups-res...

My relationship with my parents was extremely rocky when I was sick. But, we now know that it was my eating disorder causing the conflict, and not myself or my parents. We have gone through many months of family therapy, and from that we have learned to communicate better and understand each other more. One thing that I know my parents would have greatly benefited from would have been individual therapy for themselves. Being a parent of a child with an eating disorder is such a difficult and confusing thing. If it is at all financially possible for you, I would truly advise you to seek an eating disorder therapist for you to see. If you need help locating such a therapist, the NEDA Helpline would help guide you. The number is:

1-800-931-2237

I hope this helps... Please consider this, helping your daughter will be most effective when you also receive help and support. I know how scary it felt for me and my parents. Have you heard of NEDA's Navigators? They can give you a lot more options for finding and receiving support. Here's the link:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

Please let me know if you have any more questions! Please don't hesitate to ask to get your needs met.

SintraM
Medication

They recently started my daughter on Lexapro and now are adding Abilify. I am very worried and concerned about these meds. Has anyone ever taken either of these meds? I don't know what to think of this.

eghall
Doctors

I know it can be scary to see your daughter on medications, but try to trust your daughter's doctors and treatment team. It is very common for eating disorders to be accompanied by depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorder, or other mental illnesses. One popular belief among doctors is to treat these with a combination of medicine and therapy. Can you tell us a little more about what your specific concerns are about medication? Have you asked her doctor - or any doctor - your questions? A doctor may be a good source of reassurance.

RunnerKDB
Behavioral Issues

The book Brave Girl Eating really helped me with this. It helps parents to understand when the ED is talking/behaving as opposed to the child or adolescent. If you have not read it maybe it would be of help to you.

SintraM
I am at a total loss

During our family session, the therapist made me feel as though things were hopeless with regard to my daughter and that she was going to be sent home. Upon hearing that, my daughter called me last night in a panic and told me to just give up on her because the facility has given up on her. It was very scary to hear my daughter so upset and I am extremely upset at the facility in allowing my daughter to feel that way. I am really at a total loss and needless to say my daughter said that when she comes home things will be 100 times worse than before for all of us because she will make sure she doesn't get better.
HELP!!!!

eghall
She is NOT a hopeless case

I'm sorry to hear that the facility your daughter is in is talking negatively about her recovery. No one is a hopeless case - EVER. The struggle to escape an eating disorder is by no means a small one, but it can be conquered. Please do not give up on her, and do not let the facility convince you she is hopeless. That is simply not true.

I'm sure your daughter feels things are going to be worse because she now feels even more like a failure than she did before. Again, not true. People recover at different paces. Think of your daughter's eating disorder as an abusive boyfriend. As soon as he realizes she may walk away, he holds on tight and tells her she can't live without him and that he is her only true love. He tells her to trust him and not the people who are telling her to walk away. That's what her struggle is like.

Tell me a little bit more about what your options are. For example, do you have insurance? Can we get her into a different facility? Realize that this may mean she will have to go long distance. But it's her life we are talking about, so think big picture - out of state for a little while in return for having her around for a long time (she may be out of state now, so this may be irrelevant). NEDA has facilities that we can recommend for you.

Your daughter needs to know that you refuse to give up on her and that you KNOW she can recover, regardless of what her facility says. Let her know that you do not see her as a failure, but that you actually see her strength for getting into treatment in the first place. She needs all the positive support she can get.

Here is some treatment information for you: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/treatment

Recovery IS possible for your daughter! I know you don't want to give up on her, so let's find a solution for her next steps into recovery.

SintraM
Thank you

Well a week extension was given to my daughter. However, it now seems that the insurance company is requesting a discharge. This is not good. My daughter has come very far this past week and has learned to give up some of her food rituals. She is terrified of leaving early and feels she needs more time and I feel that same. How can I present a proper appeal to the insurance company to have them grant the additional extensions? Bottom line is that if she comes home Monday, it will be a matter of time until she goes back in. Has anyone ever had this situation and been successful when dealing with insurance companies?

eghall
A common issue

Unfortunately, appeals to insurance companies happen more often than not. This is a common issue and yes, some have been successful in the fight. Here is some insurance information:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/insurance-resources

Also, I suggest you call the helpline at 800-931-2237 (M-F, 9am-5pm EST). They can help walk you through the appeals process and give you some more detailed information about what can be done.

Great news on your daughter's progress! I know that it's scary to think it could be interrupted by a discharge, but the fact that she made progress shows her potential. She can do it!!

SintraM
Yes I have faith in her

Thank you Eghall. Yes my daughter can do it and will do it. I will never give up. Thank you for the information, I will get on it right away.

michael26
Further Thoughts

Hi SintraM!

It's great to hear that your daughter is making progress! She is very fortunate to have you as support!

I'm sorry that you have to do an appeal. When I was in residential last summer my parents also had to go through the same process. There are a couple of things I remember that helped with the appeal. 1) I'm sure the facility your daughter is at is already preparing documentation, but I would make sure you request the head doctor there to include details regarding specific health risks associated if your daughter relapses (but we all hope she won't). 2) Have you contacted an ombudsman at your insurance company? An ombudsman would be another help for sure. 3) Have you considered a letter from you or your daughter stating why more time is truly needed? I'm not sure how much they weigh letters from patients, but I do know that the more evidence that you can provide, the better off your daughter will be?

I know how hard it is for a child to be at a residential facility. How have you been? A key component to your daughter's recovery will be having a strong healthy mom. Have you been able to attend to your needs? If not, is there anything we here on the forums can help with?

SintraM
Thank you Michael & Eghall

Hi Michael: Well we have gotten denied for all 3 appeals, however they did step her down to the day program but have made arrangements of course at a cost to keep her overnight until Sunday which will be the day she comes home. I took her out for a meal pass on Mother's Day and needless to say that I was very pleased with how far she had come, however I do know that she is still struggling severely. We are both very nervous about her homecoming. I had mentioned this site to her and noticed in the forums that she can join the recovery portion and I have spoken very highly about the support I have received from this forum. I want to you thank you so very much for your constant support and I do hope that when my daughter comes home she will find this site as helpful as I do. Will keep you updated as to her return home.

SintraM
She's home!!!

Hi guys, just wanted to update you all. After 7 weeks my daughter is finally home as of yesterday and so far so good. She started the day program today and is actually doing well. I mentioned the different forums to her and I hope that she does go on the recovery one and hopefully has the opportunity to open up with you all.

michael26
That's awesome news!!

I am so glad to hear that your daughter is safe and at home! It is definitely a great thing that she can continue with a day program, it is a great means of support. I also hope your daughter can use these forums. I can remember when I exited residential last summer. It can be overwhelming. Maybe it would help for her to know that there are people on this forum that have been in residential like her? You have my permission to share what I've told you in the past.

Overall, I just wanted to check in to see how you are? How have you been able to devote time to get your needs met?

Again, I'm so glad she's home! Just as a side thought. Does your daughter have a smartphone or ipod touch? If she does, there's an app out there called Recovery Record. It's a really great app. It has stuff from meal logs, to thought logs, to distractions to skills training. It is definitely age appropriate as well!

SintraM
Daughter in recovery

Hello everyone, it has been a few months but I just wanted to update you all that my daughter has been fighting this disease. She formed her own team for the NEDA walk on October 6, 2013 in New York City. If you want to just check it out, her team name is: uncagED and the password is: littlemonster You will be able to see why she named her team that and also read about her progress. Thank you all for the support you have given me.

michael26
Such Great News!!!!!!

Wow!! I am so happy you and your daughter are in this fight together! Both of you are such an inspiration for others!! Congratulations for your daughter's progress!! I can remember her struggles when you first wrote on the forum!

I just wanted to let you know that you and your daughter are both still welcome to use the forum! We are still here to support you all as best as we can!

SintraM
Relapse

As we all know Relapse can happen. Unfortunately it happened to my daughter. She has been inpatient for 2 weeks and is coming home today. You are all so beautiful inside and out and even though a relapse can occur, NEVER GIVE UP because you are all worth living the life as my daughter states: uncagED!!! Free from ED. Keep fighting and always know that you are worth the fight.

michael26
Hi SintraM

Hi!!

I am so sorry to hear that your daughter had to return to inpatient. But, she is a fighter!!! And so are you!! Recovery is possible, and definitely results from challenging but rewarding times.

You are so warming and loving, thank you for sharing encouragement even during this difficult time for you. I must offer some help to you if you are in need of it. Have you signed up for a NEDA Navigator? There are a lot of parent volunteers who had children who recovered, and I am sure they would love to talk to you and support you! Here's a link:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

I hope you and your daughter are well!

erenlightman
Trouble dealing with 30 year old daughter

Hi- I really need advice! My daughter is at Castlewood Monarch Cove, inpatient, and has had anorexia since high school. I'm very glad she finally decided to get this help, because it's been years of recovery and then relapses after treatments. But never inpatient.
Since she's an adult, I'm not allowed to talk to her without a "password" from her, or to know about her treatment like you all have been discussing. I have no idea about anything. First she said she would be going for day treatment, and then I found out she was switched to inpatient. My problem is, I called the center for more information on what I could and could not do, i.e., visiting, phone calls, etc., and the receptionist just said my daughter had to call me. I transferred to an adminstrator and she cut my explanation off, saying What is the password kind of like a drill sargeant. She hung up on me, and then my daughter called,
furious with me for "sneaking around her back to get information about her" and accused me of behaving abnormally.
She is staying with my ex and he's not getting this treatment, in fact, she's been dumping on me for the past few months, and I'm so frustrated and angry, because she even says she won't talk to me at all.
I have done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment. Is this typical? I've tried so hard to be supportive but I'm walking on egg shells. Can I draw boundaries with her without risking failure of her treatment?
Also, does anyone know if Monarch Cove is good with severe anorexia?

Thanks!

Droosan
Concerned.

Hi, I have no idea what is happening with my daughter. I don't know if she's binging or restricting or if she is actually starting to eat 'normally'. Friends of hers say she buys a lot of a certain high-calorie food, but I don't see her eating it. She doesn't seem to be vomiting at home, but I have no idea what she is doing the rest of the time. I noticed she was checking her cheeks in the mirror last night; was she trying to see if the chipmunk effect is getting better or worse?She sees a therapist every week, and is supposed to be journaling, but I don't think she is. If I ask her about things, I just upset her. When we pretend things are normal,things seem to go better, but then I worry that we're just sweeping the problems under the rug. She told us the other weekend that she isn't suicidal but she just doesn't care if she dies. I feel helpless and completely ineffective.

Does anybody else feel like this?

michael26
Checking In

Hi Droosan,

I am very sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling. Your love for her is very evident and you do try helping in every way you can!!! I know that it can be frustrating and worrisome if actions/thoughts/behaviors might not be matching up or making a lot of sense. I know you mentioned that she sees a therapist. Have you tried contacting your therapist for any insight into your daughter's current condition? Maybe she can help?

Being a parent is a really tough job and a lot of the time doing what's best for your child is sometimes hard. Your daughter's behavior is concerning, I do want to validate this, and certainly addressing these behaviors will be difficult. Have you ever considered having a family session with your daughter's therapist? Maybe she can better explain what she is needing for support then...

I know that you also asked a lot of questions regarding her health, and I honestly cannot provide much insight with that. However, I would strongly suggest seeing a behavioral medicine physician, preferably one who knows eating disorders. If you would like some guidance into finding such a physician, the NEDA Helpline (1-800-931-2237) is more than happy to help.

I hope things are better! Please let me know if you need anything else!

Feeling guilty

My 22 year old daughter was in FBT at a hospital in Ann Arbor, MI and was discharged October 28, 2013. We are in follow up treatment with a therapist and she weights her weekly. This past week was a very hard session as the weight was very, very close to her goal weight. ED started his chatter at once and I could see the pain it was causing her. She is almost to the weight that this all began 4 years ago. In FBT the caregiver takes control of all meals and snacks. She must eat whatever is placed in front of her and she doesn't fight that any longer but I'm torn now with how I should be feeling! One one hand I'm over joyed that we are almost to the BMI but on the other hand I'm so confussed because I've taken her back to where it began. How do I handle it? Any comments would be helpful...

michael26
Hi!

Hi there!!

Thank you for trusting these forums with your situation. You are a great parent for helping your daughter in her struggle against the ED. Your love for her truly does shine through!

I know that it may be hard, but we cannot listen to the ED voice. We must trust the physicians and treatment team that your daughter has and know that they have designed he recovery in such a way that is best for her. Yes, it is scary to think about the past and what that meant, weight or otherwise, however the path to healing is accepting the past, being present in the here and now, and always be hopeful for the future. As a parent you have helped your daughter so much and your continual effort to support her is awesome!! I know how scary it was when I was returning to the weight I was at before my ED began, but I was able to push through the fear because I knew that the fear was just uncomfortable. As long as I could sit through this discomfort and use skills to ease my anxiety, I was able to get through those moments.

Maybe you can help your daughter in the same way? Is there a favorite activity you could do together to ease her anxiety?

Again, I cannot stress enough that you have been and will be a great support for your daughter. I think that trust between your daughter and her treatment team is crucial in getting through this momentary time of anxiety and uncertainty.

NEDA knows that navigating recovery as a parent is tough. To help, they have established the NEDA Navigators program to help support people such as yourself! If you would like to learn more about this one on one support, please check out this link.

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

I hope this helps! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with!

Droosan
Holidays

tonight we had a Thanksgiving dinner. I didn't think my daughter had eaten too much, but it was more than usual. It was the first time I've actually seen her in this state and I don't know how to help her during the holidays that are coming up. I should have stopped her but I know she has to learn on her own. I am so worried about what she is doing to herself. I tried to have her walk with me to get past it but she couldn't. How can I help her cope with several weeks of a lot of outings and situations? Just leave her out of them, not have anything to do with them? Is anybody else struggling right now with the time of year?

michael26
Hope = Hold on, pain ends.

Hi again Droosan!!!

I am sorry that your daughter had a rough time with Thanksgiving. I know that it is very hard for those of us with eating disorders to feel relaxed during the holidays and enjoy them.

Have you talked to your daughter about the upcoming holidays? Have you gained a sense from her that she needs to have maybe a quieter time with the holidays? I know that it is extremely confusing understanding how best to help your daughter and at the same time parent her. I'm sorry if I asked this already, but is your daughter seeing a therapist? Maybe she can provide some better insight into how capable your daughter is to be at these social gatherings?

I think that having a whole toolbox of skills for distress tolerance is crucial!! What activities help your daughter relax? Could she maybe bring something liking knitting, etc to these social gatherings that could help her?

I know when I struggled with the holidays, I found things that I would focus on that would help me forget about ED thoughts. I would stay engaged and talk with family. I think that is the crucial thing, to stay engaged in some activity so that the ED does not have free reign over our thoughts during this time.

I hope this helps!!! How have you been since Thanksgiving?

Droosan
Holidays

Thanks for your response. It helps being able to write and then to get a response. My daughter has a therapist. I will talk to her about what she would like to bring along to any social events or about opting out when possible.
I wrote to the therapist and that made the therapist aware of the fact that my daughter isn't being honest with her, so I don't know how things are going, to be honest.

janelleb86
The helplessness we (family

The helplessness we (family and friends) feel. One year ago we had to put our daughter in inpatient treatment and here we are still struggiling with whatever is her driving force. Prior to her inpatient time she was working with different counselors and dietitians trying to find a fit for her. She won't open up to anyone.

barbara54
Adults with eating disorders, and meds

I have a 31 year old daughter who has had an eating disorder for 12 years. She has been inpatient 6 times. She has lived
with me for the past 3 years, and only started working 5 months ago. Getting a job was a huge accomplishment! She had been out of work for 3 years, having previously worked at a NYC hospital, and at an Ivy league college in research.
She is smart and very capable.
I truly admire all of you who seem so caring and kind. I am worn out, and have barely any inner resources left.
My daughter is verbally abusive to me, and I spend a lot of my time in my bedroom, sometimes scared she will enter.
It has been a nightmare. During 10 months of the time she has been here, I also cared for both of my elderly parents who had Alzheimer's. I cared for them in my home, and finally had to put them in a facility, mainly because it was too much to care for them and my daughter. There were 2 instances the police came here…I had called because I thought my daughter was suicidal. Hiding the police from my parents was too much. They both passed away a year ago.
I have no local support regarding my daughter. She sees a psychiatrist who gives her prescriptions for Adderall and Limictol.
My daughter has had many different meds. They work, until they don't work. I feel that she is currently addicted to these meds, and I feel that meds are not the way to go. I feel that healthy eating training…and I do mean intensive training….is the best option. The eating disorder facilities focused on weight gain too quickly, in my opinion. I feel that weight gain needs to happen slowly over time. Currently my daughter is at a normal weight, and I believe her eating disorder is now BED/bulimia.
I wish I had answers to share with everyone. I simply don't.

als2908
Thank you for sharing. It

Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you have been through so much. You’ve done a great job caring for your loved ones, but I can understand why you feel overwhelmed and depleted. Caretaker burden can be overwhelming. Remember to take care of yourself too :) Something as simple as a massage or getting your nails done really helps you to re-focus and there is no shame in taking some time for yourself. In regard to your daughter, have you considered the NEDA Navigator program? NEDA Navigators are volunteers who have first-hand experience with eating disorders and are well into their own, or their loved one’s recovery. They may be a great resource to help you navigate through your daughters struggles. You can find more information here: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators
Keep reaching out for support!

rachelle1968
ARFID

I have just recently discovered this as an official diagnosis. My 16 year old daughter was born with this disorder. As a baby I could never get her to eat any baby food of any kind. If any got in her mouth she spit it out. I let her play with food in the hopes she would ingest some and get used to taste and texture. I would try for a bit then lay off and try again a few weeks later. It took us 3 months to get her to keep basic baby foods in her mouth. We'd push them in and she'd spit them out. She has super sensitive taste buds and strong smells like cinnamon and mint make her gag. She has come a long way and usually is able to add one or two new foods a year. My two issues are that she is a vegetarian but has very few sources of protein that she will consume.The other issue is that she eats a disproportionate amount of junk food. How much should I push or lay off? She's at a healthy height and weight now after failing to grow for a few years in a row.

als2908
Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your story and it’s great to hear how supportive you’ve been to your daughter. I don’t have any personal experience with this, so I can’t provide many comments - but curious to know if she works with a therapist or dietician? A dietician may be able to answer your specific questions about protein sources or ensuring she is getting a good variety of nutrients. Best of luck!

dhutto10
Prozac and Anorexia

My daughter has been in a residential facility for about 2 weeks with an eating disorder. They started her on 20 mg of Prozac and want to increase her dosage eventually up to 60 mg. She is 15 years old. She is doing really well so far and there is have been no setbacks so far in her recovery. Are these dosages normal? Thanks.

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