My 19 year old daughter is in her second year of college (just went back this week - she commutes).
She has had a problem with anorexia starting in the 11th grade of high school. We took her to a psychologist and she seemed to get much better.
Recently, my husband and I noticed a change in her appearance (this past April) - her face looked bloated, stomach seemed extended a bit, color was a bit off ... just not right. When confronted, she said everything was fine. Long story short...I was cleaning her room and found vomit in bags hidden all over her room. Horrible to say the least. I confronted her about it, she said that she could stop since I "called her out" on it. A few weeks went by and my husband walked in on her vomiting into an empty fish tank in her room (it was almost full and she had filled another bowl next to it). I took her to her physician and he ran blood work and urged her to get psychological counseling. The blood work came back that her liver enzymes were elevated (she has fatty liver disease because of her eating disorder). She agreed to see a psychiatrist. Two hours before the appointment she cancelled it, told us she's an adult and we can't make her go (doctor's office won't even talk to us). The primary physician gave her a month's worth of zoloft and it seemed to calm her down a bit. I didn't find any vomit for a couple of months.
However, yesterday I found a large container of vomit in her closet. We are at our wits end, very worried about her and feel like our hands are tied due to privacy laws. We have two other daughters who are very upset about the whole situation. I tried to talk to her about it last night but she shuts down and refuses to discuss it at all. We offered to get family therapy, one-on-one therapy - she refuses everything. She's got an appointment for followup blood work on Saturday. Hopefully, she'll go. Any suggestions?
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this as a family. You are NOT alone though, trust me. The behavior your daughter is exhibiting is obviously nowhere near normal by societies standards, but in the the Bulimics perspective it's common protocol. This coming from a year long sufferer myself. Recently I've just become so consumed with the disease that I've not only almost completely lost my sense of self worth, motivation, an hope, but I've also become almost completely broke from buying foods to binge and purge on (whether it me in a jug in the confines of my room or in the toilet when thankfully I'm home alone for the day). It is a disgusting, shameful, vicious cycle. I never actively chose to become this ghost of a person, or lie to my family and friends. I never wanted to throw up. I'm sure if there was a magical switch your daughter and I could turn off inside ourselves that made us wake up one day and only have to choose how we would wear our hair instead of how many times we would have to purge to feel at peace, less anxious, or uncomfortable in our own skin, we certainly would. This disease has much more complexity in it's manifestations, I've come to learn, that it does in it's road to recovery. Everyone progresses differently, but the few things I can say so far in my brief but extremely helpful experiences with therapy and lots of research are these: you CANNOT try to control her intake of food. It will only make her thoughts more worried and obsessed. Find the right therapist for her is extremely important. She needs to feel comfortable completely opening up about not just her disease, but everything in her life thus far. It is a lonely battle, so let her know that you can and will o EVERYTHING to make things normal again. Please tell her she is not alone, ever. Not only can she relate to me, but I know there are TONS of other people out there suffering as well. My new therapist enlightened me today on a group called OA (over-eaters anonymous) that you can google and find meetings for in most areas. I'm going to give it a try. She also told me to start keeping a journal and writing down how I'm feeling when I want to, or have purged. I'm sorry I can't tell you yet if this helps, since I haven't tried it yet (we just met today), but guess what... she went through the SAME thing when she was a teenager, an didn't recover until she was 20! Now she is helping others 20 something years later and is happy and healthy an an amazing woman. If that isn't the best form of hope, I'm not sure what is. I hope I've helped.
The following user gives a hug of support to itsnevertoolate: Phoenix (09-02-2012)
My pleasure! If she is willing to give it a try, you can let her know I would gladly talk to her any time she would like to! I know how lonely it gets, and how pertinent support is in the growing process.
I am 17 and what it sound like she is suffering with is bulimia ( i say sounds like because the puffy face, bloated stomach, off colour skin and hiding vomit in her closet is exactly what I do and I am diagnosed Bulimic) Sometimes disorders can change or switch symptoms unfortunately. Whats even more unfortunate is unlike me, your daughter is of age and if you force her into any kind of treatment that she is unwilling or ncomfortable going into, you will just push her away and the disorder will make her lie to you. She wont recover until she is ready I'm so sorry your family is affected by this
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: E55ie 71herrick (10-16-2012), Phoenix (10-15-2012)