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Reflections on the Around the Dinner Table Forum

By Deenl, Around the Dinner Table Forum Moderator

It is a time of anniversaries in my house and I find myself in a reflective mood. I’m thinking back to the initial stages when we were confused and terrified, to the learning curve at the beginning when it was all fighting and difficulties. We then moved on to the phase when it was all cooking, cleaning and supervising but with more skills and confidence, and then to the period of solidifying progress and dealing with hiccups. And now, we have reached the stage of my son’s first week in university.

There has been no stand out theme on the Around The Dinner Table forum this month, but many of the posts have been reflective of phases that I went through myself.

We have had posts from parents at the beginning of the process. They have been looking for knowledge about the illness and what to expect. There is such a steep learning curve. As the refeeding has begun they have been asking about the nitty gritty details of getting through each meal and each day. We are cheering them on through this often overwhelming phase. Many are also asking questions about finding a treatment provider who meets the needs of their loved ones.

We have heard from parents who are past the initial weeks of refeeding and have a fairly settled routine but are looking for support with back to school, friendships and trying to figure out what is normal teen behaviour and what is the eating disorder.

Parents have also been looking for ideas and support around resistance to treatment and refusal to communicate with parents and therapists. Many (most?) parents are not getting optimal support from their professional teams. The collective knowledge of the parents here has really helped in some cases, unfortunately not in all. In those cases, the forum members are here to listen and support when the need to vent is great.

We have had posts about the practicalities of nutrition; hypermetabolism, maintenance diets, intuitive eating and if weight loss is ever okay. 

Many of the issues are outside the realm of my personal experience. What I love about the Around the Dinner Table forum is that pretty much any issue that comes up has been experienced by someone who will take the time to share their story. 

Some relate to young adults who continue to struggle with eating disorders. Although I do not feel qualified to reply in most cases, I read these posts eagerly so that I know what issues might pop up in the future. Forewarned is forearmed!

We see the full range of severity on the forum, and I really hope that we provide a caring and knowledgeable space when parents share difficult times with us, even when their loved one has had the illness for a long time. This month there have been a number of people who have had difficulty combining the uncertainty and changes caused by the coronavirus rules and the challenges of eating disorder recovery. There have been slips and full blown relapses. In such a difficult situation, it is nice to see parents in similar circumstances reaching out to each other. 

As for us, I have realised that in the last few weeks I have been saying things like ‘has recovered’ and ‘had an eating disorder’. I am still nudging and guiding and sometimes downright demanding as necessary, but I am becoming more and more convinced that we are on the other side, just dealing with the final hiccups and glitches. (oh I hope I am not jinxing it – will I ever be confident enough to just say it loud and proud?)

One thing I know for sure is that if we hit a hiccup or a relapse, I will once again be leaning on the collective knowledge and emotional support I know is waiting for me on the Around the Dinner Table forum.

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  1. Daryl

    Thanks so much, Deenl for this reflection. You’ve captured the spectrum of queries and concerns that parents and families bring to Around the Dinner Table. Hats off to you & the other moderators for keeping the forum a safe and kind place where any carer can come and feel welcomed and able to find others with insight and experience to share as they walk their own family’s eating disorder journey. So lovely that hear that your own kid has moved so strongly forward! We are cheering you and your family on, and thank you for being there for others as they reach out for support.

  2. Lisa B

    So wonderfully reflective of the journey! I do know that fear of exhaling, our D is in recovery now as well and I find it hard to breathe still some days too ❤
    And knowing I have the support of so many, makes each day a little easier.

  3. Jo

    Thanks for your reflections,how very encouraging because We are parents that have been so foolish to ignore what was happening to our precious daughter, thinking she was managing IBS by eliminating food groups and becoming a vegetarian. She is an adult with a loving husband and children. She battled anorexia as a seventeen and eighteen year old and she had recovered and for twenty years seemed healthy.
    So here is what we are diligently seeking now. We are researching treatment facilities, we have read the helpful article posted by F.E.A.S.T. It suggests we ask those families that have experienced facilities and found them to be a positive help. She is resisting and frightened (and so am I). There are a couple of facilities that seemed to maybe fit her needs but her BMI is too low for them to admit her. She has been deceived by Doctors and a therapist That didn’t know how to council Anorexia. So she has reason not to trust what facilities say on a website or over the phone.
    We are asking for your help to find a good facility that is qualified and not just after money.
    We can’t afford to keep making mistakes. I promised her I would fight this monster of a disease

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