Okay, I've experienced eating disorders throughout my life, most recently was this past year with my daughter's best friend. To keep things short, the friend told her mother that I should know that my daughter skips lunch most days. My husband and I watched her very closely but never saw anything alarming.
Today, I got a call from one of my daughter's teachers (one who knows her quite well) and she told me that my daughter was crying pretty heavily last week but wouldn't talk to anyone about it. When another teacher of hers questioned one of the girls, she told the teacher that the boys were making fun of my daughter and some other girls at lunch. My daughter refused to eat. I'm not sure if that's WHY she was teased or if this was how she reacted to the teasing. Regardless, the girl then told the teacher that my daughter often times refuses to eat at lunch.
I have a teacher observing my daughter today at lunch. I don't want to "spy" on my daughter but I don't want to watch her go through what her best friend went through.
When she's with us, she seems fine. What I want to know is when or if I should begin to worry. We have another child with OCD so I can't help but wonder if there really is something going on with her... My hope is that this is a normal teenage social thing - maybe she's become aware of how boys view her and doesn't want to eat in front of them. I don't know. Any advice?
I myself am 'recovered' from anorexcia and compulsive exercise. I was 12-13 when I first developed my eating disorder. Very young, but VERY aware of my body and the other girls in my class. I began slowly cutting back one day after I had ENOUGH! I ate very little at home and my parents were OK with it at first. Then, the pace picked up and my parents became aware.
I would certainly become cautious of your daughters behavior. For me, my parents intervention was overwhelming for me and I RESENTED them for stepping in. I would come up with CRAZY ways to get around their plots and plans. I am not, by no means, a Doctor or counselor, but I do remember how I felt at her age. I would advise to put your antenna up, but watch with caution. Being loving and very real about a potential ED is the best way. Trying to 'catch' her is not going to work. If she is concerned about her weight, try to help her get involved with activities, school sports, and training her to eat properly and healthy.
ED starts at early ages these days. It is very sad and my heart hurts to see people like this! Let me share a quick story:
I was a gymnastics teacher for several years. I would teach beginner level classes sometimes with girls ages 6-9. There was a SIX year old who would did not want to participate and would NOT take off her t-shirt that covered her leotard because she said she was 'fat.' SHE WAS ONLY 6 years old!!! A baby! I knew right then that before I would teach class I would teach how we love our bodies, how to eat healthy, and how to exercise in a healthy manor!
I wish you luck while dealing with your daughter. I know that you love her very much.
I had a mom approach me tonight about the same incident I wrote about earlier. Evidently, my daughter's friends are pretty worried. She's a smart, popular girl. She's very, very active and that might be contributing to all of this. She dances almost every day and has been trying to get her feet wet in modeling and acting. She's also a good student. She's just got it all together. Just like so many girls who've struggled with ED.
Her teacher called me back this afternoon and told me that she set up a scenario for all the girls and asked them all to talk to her or someone they trusted if they felt they might have a problem with eating or body image. My daughter approached her a little while later and told her that she thinks she's fat. She's actually quite slim and tall with an adorable figure. BUT, I also remember how I felt about myself at that age. It's a difficult time, even for the girls who seem to have it all together...
Anyway, I'm getting ready to go talk to her. I appreciate everything you said. It's nice to hear from someone who's dealt with this first-hand. I'll keep you posted.
The talk went well. Thank goodness. There were some tears but I think we've got a hold on this. Early intervention helped! I'm going to send her to a counselor to see if there are other things going on and possibly to a nutritionist. My daughter and I talked about shopping for healthy foods so that she can get the right nutrients she needs to keep her body fueled throughout her busy day. She seemed very happy about this. So, I'll let you know if anything changes. I'm just so glad someone (several people) got involved. If this had happened for my friend's daughter, she might not have suffered quite so badly with this.
Take care Alabama!!
I am glad to hear Jewels. And it is WONDERFUL that she has accepted the idea of speaking with a councelor and keeping fuled throughout the day in a healthy way. You are a very good mother! Being honest with yourself upfront and dealing with things before it spins out of control is very stable and a good early intervention. That goes for EVERYTHING in life!!!
I'm sorry to intrude on your conversation, but I just really wanted to commend you. I actually joined this site for Fibromyalgia, but when I saw it had an eating disorder section I had to visit. When I was 12 years old I start with my eating disorder. I had an extreme case of anorexia for about 3 years. I'm surprised I lived since at one point I was in 8th grade and <very underweight>. I just really want to make sure you keep and eye on your daughter, and I wanted to commend you on taking action and trying to help her. Prevent this from happening to her because if it does, it could effect her entire life. I'm now fine, at a healthy weight, and eat constantly! I'm 18 now. But I still have effects. My anorexia gave me early osteoporosis, hypoglycemia, and a terrible immune system. I get sick constantly. These are effects I will have the rest of my life because of my Junior High years. Eating disorders consume your life, I'm glad you're not going to let it consume hers.
You sound like an amazing mother, and I just wanted to comment and tell you that.
Last edited by mod-anon; 11-03-2007 at 12:00 AM.
Reason: edited triggering words
Thank you so much for your comment. What you and Alabama have said brought tears to my eyes. I think it's the first time I let my guard down about this whole thing. I've been so focused on what might be going on that I never stopped to allow myself to release my emotions. My daughter is amazing and has such a bright future ahead of her. Sometimes we're so busy coming and going that I don't think about how she's coping with everything. We talk constantly but she's not going to tell me everything. I'd be kidding myself if I thought she did...
I guess I always assumed that watching her best friend deal with anorexia would keep my daughter "safe". She saw her friend drop to a dangerously low weight and was with her when her hair began falling out. She even thought her friend might die....
Now I realize that she didn't even know that what she was thinking and feeling could have been the early stages of an eating disorder. I'm watching her closely but not too closely.
Thanks, again, to both of you. I truly appreciate your kindness! And I'm glad to hear you're doing better now.