There is hope! Us and our refeeding #eatingdisorder #anorexia

My girl was just 11 when we realised there was a problem.  I’m a single mom, but my family and X are very involved.  This is just a glimpse of what it is like to do Family Based Treatment, Maudsley Method. More about that in subsequent posts.
September 14 2013
At any rate… let me embrace the sunshine of my daughter actually eating. Yesterday she also ate and lots of hi cal foods. Ok, mostly what one would consider junk foods but also meals. A bag of Doritos. Two cupcakes. lots of Skittles. Cereal. A cheese avocado mayonnaise mustard tomato sandwich. Two scoops of ice cream with Bounty chocolate bar crushed into them. (Amazing that we have all these things in Dar now! Cost a small fortune but works it because she eats!). She begged for salad for dinner because she had eaten so much junk food. Broccoli, tomato, lettuce, zucchini, almonds and dressing. Olive oil and vinegar. She begged to stop but i made her eat everything but the iceberg lettuce(which I didn’t want her to eat anyway, full of nothing…). A Ceres Drink. Water. Piece of baguette. Then bedtime with no fuss….
On the good days she doesn’t fight so much. Sings songs for me, calls me mommy, asks me to cuddle with her and sing her songs, tells me how her day was.
Some days are good and bad together… breakfast might be bad but she perks up later. All day good but fighting at dinner. Its hard to tell. When she is rested and fortified she’s much happier. When she is happier she eats. So i focus on getting the food in now and making sure she is rested in order to make sure next snack/meal is less stressful. And that she can be a kid and go to school and do her singing and her blogs and her videos and chat with her sisters and brother and think about going skiing, or hiking or swimming etc…. Eish… damn hard work. Damn ED. Damn disease.
I am vocal.. I say to the ED.. “i let you beat me in the past, maybe even yesterday or this morning, but I’m not letting you beat me today/this time.”. ED looks at me glumly or angrily or defiantly… I ignore and just sit and wait. Ignoring seems to work. Distracting sometimes works. Waiting sometimes works. But sometimes I just say, enough. No computer, no phone, no makeup no school. Either eat or drink this nasty meal replacement. ICk. Or we go to clinic where the nurses will make you eat it.
ED is tricky. ED is devious. ED is very clever. ED is a master negotiator and a master debater.
I am exhausted. This is the third day and third week of being up at 530 am with her and the very first day i didn’t need to spend over an hour trying to get her to eat breakfast. And snack. And lunch. And snack. And dinner. And snack. Six times a day.  Is it a turning point? I think she’s settling in to this FBT routine but she has ups and downs. on the downs she screams, calls me names, threatens me, throws things, tells me all sorts of horrible things only designed to make me angry/upset/hurt (eating disorder talking LOUDLY)… tells me to go fuck myself (whattttt?? Where is my sweet 11 year old?).  Tells me i ruined her childhood.Tells me she wants to live with dad. Tells me she hates me and I’m the worst mother ever. Tells me she wants to run away. Throws the food down, hides it under her bed, spits it out. I argued with my boyfriend today over something silly – yet he’s been by my side without question. Has taken abuse from Emma as well and waited patiently. And the other day when he passed by for a few minutes I came into the living room where they were playing games on the iphone, just being silly.  I saw my real girl for just a moment. Since he’s been cautious and respectful he waited for her to approach. She can let her guard down and be a kid because he doesn’t expect things from her.  He invited me for coffee yesterday when Emma was at school but I just couldn’t – it felt like too much pressure on me to attend to anyone else’s needs right now. And it was time to cook a meal (high cal low volume) for dinner.
Its 1 hour until lunchtime.  And we start again.
Today however. This morning however, my girl let her sunshine peek out…and I was grateful. I almost cried. There have been plenty of tears but mostly hers. I’m too scared to cry.
So now I need to energize myself before lunch. :).  Strength…
Online today i saw that the Eating Disorder Coalition in Washington DC is meeting members of congress today on the Hill.I didn’t know about them, heard about it through Mothers Against Eating Disorders… MAED a great fb resource and really helping me…good tips for helping Emma and also for supporting me and the family. I will spread the word and find out more about them and how we can help.
More later…

What to say when someone says “I’d like a little of your eating disorder”..

This is in response to a great blog post written by Rebekah.. read her blog here…

Thanks for this. I’m a lucky survivor and was astonished that two of my girls, the youngest only 11, were hit. It was one thing to deal with this myself as a teen and in my 20s+ but another thing to see my little girl become a hard core AN. We caught it early, are doing family based treatment – its the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and she’s coming along. i’m hopeful she will recover fully with minimal scars. But I also know she will carry this with her for years and I’ll be there making sure she EATS and cares for herself in times of stress. I’ve also gotten that response and comment from friends and strangers.. i could tell them that they DON’T want to know that my sweet girl can be a monster when faced with a meal, which is SIX TIMES A DAY; that her ED will regularly tell me to go f*ck myself; that I often have to peel her off the floor crying – sometimes both of us; that they don’t want to clean up thrown food or cups or glasses or plates; that feeding someone with anorexia essentially takes EVERY MOMENT of your day and forget about work, social life, relaxation at least until you get out of the phase of refeeding; They don’t want to do that or watch that for sure. Or the fear that your little girl, your beautiful, charming, intelligent, charming 11 year old could be a statistic…that she and others like her have a 1 in 10 chance of DYING because of this eating disorder.

But what I do say now is this. I pause. And I say ” In fact Eating Disorders are a BIOLOGICALLY BASED Brain disorder…they are a form of mental illness. They are serious and have a high mortality rate.” Usually the person looks stunned. I will say more if they seem interested. I like to use the phrase ‘mental illness’ even though I know it is loaded. But NO ONE WANTS A MENTAL ILLNESS. I want that to be perfectly clear. and NO ONE WANTS AN EATING DISORDER.

The very amazing thing now, unlike when I was hit 20 years ago, is that sufferers and survivors and their families now have resources and research to support treatment. That just was not there 20 years ago. I remember really thinking I was crazy, and only finding Hilde Bruch – which sent me into alot of therapy and blamed (unfairly) my family and (incompletely) society. Now we know that FBT works, that early treatment works, that FAMILIES have to be involved and part of the treatment, and that we have to make our girls EAT to send ED off to where they belong. Deep down a dark hole, hopefully only a reminder of the past and a tiny alarm to help manage the future.

I think it is fabulous that we can start educating people. Schools need it. Parents need it. Coaches need it. Classmates need it. Media needs it. In the US the FREED Act is a great start to FINALLY get a federally funded effort to address education, advocacy, research, treatment.

Thanks again for your great post… xxxx