Since my daughter has been able to speak, she has been singing. When she woke up in the morning, the first thing she did was sing. Sometimes it was just humming, but most of the time it was a favorite song or even one she’d just made up herself. It was always a sign of her emotional health. My daughter also has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, so the music has always been an indicator of how she is feeling. However, when anorexia came at 12, it snuck in and stole the music, and we didn’t notice that she had stopped singing because anorexia was so loud in different ways.
I found F.E.A.S.T. in a frantic search for help when my daughter was hospitalized after we found out she had gone 3 days without eating. Though I credit the hospital with their understanding of what needed to be done and admitting my daughter, the resources for treatment I was being handed did not look promising. My daughter would have been considered as having atypical anorexia nervosa. And all the information I was reading for treatment centers looked frightening. I was worried about so many things. At the top of my list was who would handle my daughter’s medications, physical therapy, and care for her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis if she was to go to residential treatment?
F.E.A.S.T and the ATDT Facebook group gave me the knowledge I needed to move forward and refeed my daughter at home. I read books, I enlisted the help of a local doctor to help me monitor her labs, I found the therapy group we spoke to in the hospital, and I began to trudge my way through refeeding. It was the encouragement and strength of the group that helped me to become the parent my daughter needed at that moment. I watched the parents who had been successful in recovery, I read articles, I watched videos and I read books. But most of all I listened to their lived experience.
Without the vast knowledge and resources of F.E.A.S.T, I would never have been able to bring the music back again. One day, after 6 months of refeeding, I woke up to my daughter singing. And I cried, because I knew the canary was going to be OK. The music was back.
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