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Member 5 posts
Posted 5 months ago
My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with anorexia in October 2017. At this point she was 72%, weight for height ratio. She has worked extremely hard to eat since then, as she's been desperate to get back to school, and has now reached 90%. We are so proud of her. However, now my daughter is bigger now than she was before the illness took hold and this is causing her to feel extremely low. I know the doctors want her to get to 100%, but she is so unhappy with her size, I don't know how best to support her. She feels she doesn't want to live anymore she is so unhappy. I've discussed that we are making her healthy and safe, inside her body and outside, and that other attributes are important to look at too, such as being beautiful, strong, kind hearted, funny, etc, etc, but the bottom line is she is very unhappy as she is now bigger than she has ever been in her life!
Any advice re how to respond to this would be lovely. Thank you so much.
Admin 153 posts
your daughter has done well to restore and you have done fantastically well to support her. I am sorry though that her restoration has lead to a low mood, I have a few thoughts on it;
- firstly it does take the brain some time to acclimatise to the weight gain, so hopefully as time moves on she will be able to accept her weight. I know that with my own daughter the weight restoration was good for her physical body but she remained unhappy
-this carries on from the last point really, in that people use eating disorders to suppress difficult feeling and emotions, do you think that this is true of your daughter? I wonder if the doctor could arrange a talking therapy that would enable your daughter to deal with any anxieties or worries .
-finally I would ask the doctor why she has to restore t 100% when maybe she wasn't at 100% before she became poorly, because we are all different shapes and sizes and if she were my daughter I would ask to slow down the restoration t give her a chance to get used to her body otherwise she may feel as if all of the control has been taken away form her and then she might go backwards.
hope that helps a bit
Thank you so much for your reply. The paediatrician at the hospital felt that my daughter was under weight before she became ill, even though she has always been so healthy. So he arranged for her to have a bone density scan. This showed that her density is at the very bottom end of normal. As a result of this and the fact that her periods stopped so suddenly, and have never been particularly regular, they feel that she needs to get to 100%.
Our counsellor at Camhs also felt that by reaching 100% my daughter’s low thoughts should diminish. We are following a FBT programme, so we all receive counselling weekly. My husband and I have also has a session recently on our own too which has helped.
As a result of my daughter feeling very low Camhs have changed tack a little bit and have suggested that she starts doing more activities that she hasn’t been able to do, with less focus on weight gain. We have followed this since Tuesday and I have seen a little improvement in my daughter’s overall mood, so hopefully this will continue.
She is still finding it hard to accept that she is bigger than she was before she became ill though, which is so hard for us to respond to.
Many thanks for your help.
Hi it does sound as if your are receiving good and timely care; it is good that the dexia scan explained the need for 100% restoration hopefully that has helped in explaining to your daughter the importance of weight gain.
I think the idea of other activities is also very positive and the family counselling is such a positive, does your daughter receive 1:1 counselling as well? as if not she may feel unable to say the things that are troubling her in the forum of the family counselling. I know for my own child I was kept out of conversations for a long time because she didn't want to upset me when she talked about the darkness of her thoughts. At the time I found it very hurtful, retrospectively I felt disempowered by it because although she had tried to reach out for 1:1 support her request had been ignored. Your story is very different to my story and I do not want to alarm you with my story. You, your daughter and your family are receiving good support and understanding, I just would like to say that if my child had received 1:1 support at that early time maybe she would have been given the tools to address those fearful and anxious thoughts that lead eventually to her eating disorder.
Hope that your daughter is engaging with the activities and that she is feeling more happy with her body shape and size.
Posted 4 months ago
Thank you so much for your reply. It always helps to hear from people who have been through a similar experience. Although our daughter doesn’t really want to go out and do things like she used to before this illness, we are managing to persuade her to do small things, as we think this will help her mental wellbeing. We have been able to get Camhs to agree to maintain our daughter’s weight at 95%, which although means she is still larger than she was previously, is so much better for her than pushing for 100%. We are only having FBT so our daughter doesn’t have 1:1 counselling, but this might be something we could suggest at our next Camhs meeting. She does need a lot of work on body image etc as her confidence is rock bottom and she suffers with feeling low, but with time we are really hoping that this will diminish.
Member 35 posts
I just wanted to say that it sounds as if you, your family and your daughter are working well together. I found that it took my own child a long time to engage in activities, largely because they seemed to need the security of our house. Seeing her friends seemed to cause huge stress largely because she seemed to be battling her thoughts about food and eating whilst still trying to be a good and fun friend.
It is only as time has gone on and those very disconcerting strange days in the eye of the storm of the illness are now a while ago that I can see that my child needed time to calm their thoughts to gain confidence to engage in activities. When she was ready we did things together so that there was still the security and link to home I know that everyone is different just wanted you to know how we did it. hope that things are still positive for you and your family
Hi Fingers Crossed,
Thank you so much for your advice. That’s a good point about not wanting to mix with friends too quickly. Having anorexia is hard enough without feeling that they have to be a fun friend too. Our daughter is trying so hard and over half term we have tried to do something each day together on the advice of Camhs and I think that has definitely helped. I have noticed she hasn’t felt as low on quite as many occasions as last week. So small steps but I’ll take that! I know we will get there eventually.