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13 yo dd with anorexia - any advice?(20 Posts)
DD2 saw CAMHS for the first time last Friday week. Despite this she still managed to lose weight over the weekend when they saw her again on Monday. Nothing's improved intake wise and I'm terrified since the dietician mentioned admitting her. Any ideas on what I can do to make it easier for her? They've stopped her doing PE and cycling to school which means she's terrified her friends will find out (although I'm sure they must know already), but even that hasn't given her the bump to eat a bit more. I just wish I understood enough to help her even a little bit.
Didn't want to swing by and not comment. Is she dangerously underweight to the extent she should be hospitalised? It may be that appropriate help is more easily available in an emergency situation.
The thing to remember about anorexia is that it's not really about not eating although that's the dangerous aspect of it. It's an incredibly complex condition that needs extensive counselling as quickly as possible before it becomes an ingrained habit.
My only experience of anorexia is through seeing my sister suffer from it but it's with her for life. She's never got to the life-threatening stage (there must be some element of self-preservation there) but she was living on apples and carrots only at around 13, and not many of those either. I think the sooner you can deal with it the better. Good luck!
I wouldn't panic about her being admitted. It may well be the very best thing for her.
A girl we know (babysitter, and daughter of a friend) has Anorexia, she spent quite some time in a residential facility and it was the best thing for her. She has also had to be re-admitted a few times afterwards, it is a very very long/ life long condition.
I wouldn't force your DD particularly, do trust the professionals. It is usually to do with the girl (usually) feeling a lack of control and so controlling the one thing they can.
Are CAMHS giving you support? This site might help.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hiya and so sorry you are both/all going through this.
I don't know if I can help at all, but I was anorexic properly in my twenties though had various eating issues from a pretty early age.
The thing that made it hardest for me was being coerced, tricked, talked into eating - it sent my barriers right up to the ceiling and made it far more difficult for me to turn the corner myself as I always felt it was being controlled by other people, being steered and manipulated by them into doing it/
What I wanted was to be left alone to go through the process myself and figure out a way back
which I did eventually, but I only could do it when everyone else stopped telling me to eat. You can talk to her about other issues, what;s making her unhappy deep down, because it sure as heck won't be food doing that - concentrate on the inner person, not the weight, not the food. Let her know you don't care how thin she is, only how unhappy she is, and what can you do to help her - ask her this directly. Don't tell her what she has to do to make you happy. (ie eat)
ask her what she wants you to do for her.
Good luck x
I also hated being told/treated like I was 'ill'. It made me angry because I wasn't ill, I was miserable and depressed and I just wanted someone to recognise that.
The more people saw the weight as an issue or the eating, the less I felt they understood the real problem and the less I wanted to do what they said. It was a trust issue for me.
Rooney, do you think it would have helped if someone had said to you: "this illness is not about the food but you will end up very seriously ill before you can recover from what is really ailing you so we have to make sure you eat enough to stay alive while we work on the things that are troubling you."?
That's not bad Duchesse. Always always rather someone was direct with me than any sort of trickery to get me to eat.
as long as they understand. But still - the fact they had said 'we have to get you to eat' would be a black mark in my book and not be helpful.
The point is I could eat when I tried. I was scared but I could do it when I was left to my own devices.
I just needed that not to be at the forefront of their minds - we must make you eat. Why? It isn't about eating. No one ever asked me what I needed them to do.
I think that anorexia is still very misunderstood- it's a work in progress. Isn't there a very good anorexia specialist in one of the London hospitals?
I don';t know Duchesse - this is going back 10-15 years for me now. There was a great person at the Maudsley that I used to see.
Thank you all, and thank you Rooney for your perspective. You say you could eat if you tried - I'm just wondering what it was that would make you want to try.
I have a feeling this might all be down to the relationship I have with H, which is not great. It's just whether parting would be a good idea right now, for her, or indeed her sister who is feeling quite isolated at, for want of a better word, 'losing' her sister to this.
I will look at that link - thanks mummytime. I know she will have lost weight by the time we go back on Monday and am just so sad for her that she is so sad at the moment. If she does get admitted she won't even have any nice recent memories about being at home because she is so miserable. And I worry for her that at 13 she'll find it a hard thing for anyonee to say her name without associating her with the illness, rather than her for who she is. It's so sad. I can't bear the thought of losing her to hospital but I think I'm going to.
Rooney, if no-one had asked you to eat would you have done so anyway? We saw the dietician last time who wanted her to include a fat free yoghort in her day. If I left it up to her rather than trying to get her to follow the dietician's plan I fear she'd easily end up eating nothing at all. She's not following the plan but at least had a bowl of soup today. What I'm trying rather badly to say is I'd love to throw the dietician's plan in the fire and let her do her own thing but I think her own thing would be to eat nothing. And I can't do the plan without at least asking her to have the stuff on the list. But that's the sort of thing that hacked you off. So I don't know which is the lesser of the two evils.
Complete ramble, sorry.
And although I've tried explaining it all to dd1 (who's just over a year older) who is completely worried by it all she feels pushed out and feels dd2 is getting loads more attention. Which she isn't, if you take anorexia and the issues surrounding that out of the equation. But it must be really hard for her too and I don't know what best to do for her either, to make it a bit easier for her.
I too had (have) AN. Not much I can add, the condition is sooooooo different from person to person. I was treated in an ED unit and it has its pro's and cons. Yes they do save lives and in someways it's a relief to relinquish control to the pro's but its certainly no holiday, it's bloody hard work. The other thing to be very aware of is that throwing someone with AN into a unit with other anorexics can really rile the competitive streak. My mum remains convinced to this day that I learnt to be anorexic in the unit. That said it did save my life and give my family a very much needed rest bite from me.
With regards to eating, I've always struggled to eat because anyone else told me too. It had to be on my terms, but I did find myself some 'safe foods'.
There's no way to trick an anorexic into eating.
My best piece of advice, the thing that saved more more than anything was learning there was more to life than AN.
Keep as much normality as normal. Your dd needs to experience being good at things other than anorexia.
Good luck, feel free to ask any qu's I'll help if i can.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I was admitted to a unit at a similar age to your daughter; if it had been left up to me to eat I wouldn't have eaten a thing, the illness had really got a hold. I did get better; my school friends supported me for who I was, no one really knew a lot about the illness in those days and I think the support is much, much better now. I went to school in the Unit and had a fabulous if unconventional education which introduced me to TS Eliot and Beowulf and much other stuff not on our regular curriculum.
I don't know what to suggest when it comes to your daughter, because everyone is so different. Remembering to see her as herself, not just a disorder, is something you seem well aware of. Try not to blame her.
When I began eating again the patterns were very disordered and it dominated most of my teens. It is a long road, along which your daughter will learn to value herself again - you sound super supportive and I am very very sorry you are going through this.
Thank you all so much for your responses. I really appreciate it, not least because it's something I know absolutely nothing about, which seems an obvious thing to say, but normally someone knows someone who can give you some idea, or you've read something about it in the past.
I suppose all I can do for now is what they've told me to do and hope it doesn't isolate me from her. I think it sounds like a very lonely place to be. I've told her that there will be absolutely no way I'll be sneaking anything extra in to what she eats, and I mean it, and I think she trusts me. But it's hard because I've got the dietician telling me one thing and I ask her to do it and she will and then tells me through tears it will make her feel guilty all day. And be really upset.
We turned up for CAMHS yesterday but they'd made a mistake in their appointments, so instead of seeing the nurse and the dietician she saw the psychiatrist instead, who she hates. And didn't get weighed.
I feel I'm rambling a bit. Thank you so much. When I'm a bit clearer in my head - it just all seems so flipping sudden - although in fact in retrospect it must have been going on for ages, I'd love to ask you about it DQ. I just feel at the moment I'm not even sure what I need to know. But I really appreciate all your replies
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Hi my daughters is anorexic. i am a dad trying to cope. some books may help
Skills based learning for caring for a loved one with an eating disorder the new Maudsley method
by Janet treasure, Grannie Smith and Anna Crane
And "my kid is back"
I blog about how I am coping....some of the posts may help.
Hello, OP. I'm so sorry you're all going through this nightmare. It was something I felt I narrowly escaped with my daughter and I can only guess at how impotent you feel.
You say your relationship with your husband might be a contributory factor. Is he the father of your children? Do you think they would be better spending time away from him?
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