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My daughter is anorexic - long post, Sorry(20 Posts)
I don't know if this is the right thread to ask about this. She's 22 and has been this way since she was 15. I was able to help her as a younger teenager but she's still struggling. She has a lovely boyfriend of 3 years, a good job but bored and lives with her boyfriend quite locally. We're very close. She has sought help via the GP voluntarily and has had NHS counselling which really hasn't helped much. They focus on the medical side as opposed to getting down to the emotional reasons. She's just started private counselling which I'm hoping will help. She came over before her appointment tonight and admitted that the anorexic feelings engulf her. I said to her that I feel so sad for her that life is such a struggle for her because of this and I know she wants to get better. She's had a stable life - my husband & I have been together 32 years, she has a brother who's 24 and loves her, his girlfriend does too. Her boyfriend is very supportive and is a great guy. I just don't know what more I can do to help her. We are all Slim Jims in our family and I've always gone to the gym, worked out etc. but I have been like that since I was a little girl - represented the school since I was 7 for netball, tennis, gymnastics etc so I like sport but not for weight reasons. A lot seems to be about the way boys have treated her from a young age. She's such a lovely girl and I want her to be happy. I know 22 may seem grown up and she's very mature but she's still my little girl. I'm at my wits end. Any advice would be very welcome. Thank you.
Didn't want to read and run but sadly have no useful advice. At my school there were a few girls with serious anorexia. As far as I know they all have now got through it (school was some 20 years ago) and whilst it may still be somewhere in their consciousness, generally by are leading happy lives.
Saxie Thank you. My daughter's a determined girl and she does want to get better but I know it's emotionally painful for her to face up to her demons.
Likewise, no advice but just wanted to say I feel for you and hope the private counselling works for her. Best wishes.
I've not been through this but a dear friend has. What helped her was speaking to a private counsellor and being able to have an almost epiphany moment where she begun discussing some causes of her underlying sadness and self esteem issues. It's a horrible illness and I feel for both you and your daughter. Did any event trigger her anorexia? Hopefully the counsellor will help. Big hugs for you.
Baking Thank you. I don't think anything in particular triggered it. I'm hoping the private counsellor will help. My daughter texted me last night and said her appointment went well and she has 'homework' to do which I'll find out more about later. It was her second appointment and she seems to have clicked with the lady which I'm really pleased about as she may be able to get to the root of her problems. I took her away for a couple of days recently and she can eat but feels furious afterwards. It must be so awful to feel that way.
I have suffered with anorexia & it has taken me a long time to recover.
I still see a psychiatrist & a psychologist as I suffer with depression. There is usually an underlying reason but it can take a long time in therapy to work through the issues. I have a complex childhood history & this is a major contributor to my disorder.
I found the weekly sessions very helpful. You definitely have to click with the person or it just doesn't work. I have seen quite a few & know instantly if I can work with them or not.
There are eating disorder organisations that would have useful links or people that you could speak to as the families do need support too. My husband came to sessions with me & it helped him to understand the reasons behind my disorder.
I now suffer with osteoporosis & have to have bone scans regularly & take medication for my bone density.
I hope your daughter continues to do well.
I'm sorry I've no advice to give but I just wanted to say I hope your daughter continues to make progress. She sounds as though she has a very loving and supportive family behind her. Please keep us updated on her progress.
Thanks for your messages & support. I spoke to her today and the new counsellor seems fab. My daughter has said that she has clicked with her and asked her how she wanted to progress. They decided that they would start with a timeline going back to her first memory. I thought it would start with teenage years but they've gone further back. We've discovered that one of her friends, at 7 years old, told her how to throw up after eating because 'that's what people do'! Also my best friend and I had our daughters within 4 months of each other and then they moved up north when our girls were 4. Plus the great-grandparents died and her grandparents did the move to the coast thing. Then her grandad (my dad) died in 2005 and she was very close to him. There's also a lot of ex boyfriend issues. It's stuff she hasn't had control over and anorexia is a control problem. It's very complex but hopefully she can speak to this new lady and she can help her to deal with it. I've tried to be a good mum but have had my own issues with depression and therefore dealing with it by drinking too much at times so hope that hasn't influenced her in the wrong way. Mums always blame themselves!
A charity called ABC run a chat line specifically for parents of children (any age) with eating disorders - they are fab - you get to speak to other parents who have been in your position, not just an operator - do give them a call for some support:
Your drinking will have affected her sadly, it would be something she would have had no control over in her life that she didn't understand.
You can apologise and support her but let her find her own way with some space.
At some point she may need to be angry with you and you have to accept that rather than asking her to forgive you.
You're right in that anorexia is about control. It's a symptom of a deep emotional issue rather than a condition that can be looked at in isolation. I know this because I suffered badly from it from 19-25 and it was due to feeling out of control after leaving home to go to uni.
You seem really supportive and I'm glad your DD has found a good counsellor she can explore her issues with. Just know that it's not your fault.
Thank you for your advice everyone. I'll update as things progress. Hopefully this may turn into a positive thread. My BF in RL has seen this post and texted me. She knew already and have spoken to her about it. It's lovely to have a friend like her. I'm very lucky
Hope everything works out for you and your daughter. It's good that she feels the counsellor is helping, but ultimately all he/she can do is help and your daughter will have a lot of hard work to do herself to recover. That said, she could still have a great, long and healthy life to look forward to. Stay positive and avoid telling her you feel "sad for her". Sad for yourself, certainly, to see her suffer, but it wouldn't be wise to encourage any feelings that she's been particularly unlucky or hard done by. Yes, she's had challenges but other people have overcome similar challenges and gone on to live fulfilled lives.
Read as much as you can. My daughter is of a similar age and is anorexic. The Maudsley method advocates involving families all who can help and play a role. I have been blogging about what my daughter has experienced and how me and my wife are trying to cope. Www.tomagcro.com
Thank you. I've just read your blog which made me cry. I hope all works out well for your family.
Chateau. this book is really helping me.
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
Also my daughter attends OA meetings over eaters anonymous. They have helped her too.
If you have read my blog you will know its hard......but your not alone.
TOMAGCRO It would be easier if my daughter still lived at home but it was so hard when she did. I always knew when she was lying. Her boyfriend that she lives with is very supportive and she's so lucky to have him. We also get on very well with him and he knows he can call us any time he think she's going too far. She's been for another counselling session tonight and has said that she can really open up to the counsellor which is a big breakthrough. The treatment she had via the NHS wasn't really adequate as I don't feel it was personal enough. I did go to one session with her and although the lady was v nice I felt she was ineffectual. My daughter is as open with me as much as she can be but it's a a very private illness as you probably know. It seems to run in the family as her 2 cousins have the same problem. All 3 have very different upbringings. The older one from a very affluent family, we're average and the younger one doesn't have a stable life. I just so want her to be better and not have this illness holding her back and controlling her whole life. Good luck to you and your family. All will be OK.
Hi chateau. Some of the residential eating disorder clinics hold parent and family sessions regardless of whether your child is a patient of theirs. Also over eaters anonymous have carer sessions. There is a family group at the Savernlake Hospital in Marlborough Wilts. I have not been.
There was an interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 last night (17 April) - Four Thought, in which Emma Woolf a Times columnist explains how she has been battling with anorexia. Well worth a listen.
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