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chrissy

Help---bulimia

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well, i learned today that my extremely underweight daughter is bulimic, depressed and suicidal. there is no inpatient place near us to take her, but there are a few social workers that may be able to do some counceling with her------but i need her health evaluated. i've put in a call to the ped gi hoping he can give me some direction. any help would be very appreciated!

christine

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I had a friend in college who was bulimic. She belonged to a support group and took me along with her once. Even though I never had an eating disorder, I could see that she got as much from that group as we do from this one. There was one anorexic girl there who wouldn't talk because she was still so upset about it yet never missed a meeting. I remember them talking about what they ate, for example, one girl was making progress because she ate an apple for a snack! My friend took me along because I was trying to lose 20 pounds I had gained and she didn't want me to follow in her footsteps. It certainly opened my eyes to eating disorders! I don't think I ever would have gotten one, but it did help me to keep my dieting reasonable. It took a year of eating healthy and exercising to take off the 20 pounds. I would definately recommend finding a group like this for your daughter.

I also would be sure you're getting immediate help for her suicidal tendencies as you are looking for the root of the problem. Could she have celiac?

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I would definatley suspect the celiac as being a source of the depression; you're doing the right thing getting her to a doc for it. Be sure to take care of the psychological problem regarding the bulimia, too. I'll keep her in my prayers, and you as well that you are guided to make the right decisions.

Carla

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Guest nini

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I reccommend a good counselor, a licensed clinical social worker, a church counselor, anyone who has experience with eating disorders and depressed and suicidal teens. I've been there... my mom calls those my dark years... I think the only reason I survived them at all was because of my counselor... I saw her every week, sometimes several times a week, she had me keep a journal and write poetry...

I will be keeping her and your entire family in my thoughts... keep me posted please

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I can't imagine what you're going through, but know that my prayers are with you, your daughter, and the rest of your family. Hugs coming your way.....

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the ped gi will be admitting tianna to the hospital tomorrow. she will have an NG tube placed for feeding----the doc said tube feeding doesn't always work with bulimics, but they will get her stabilized while they try to get my insurance to pay for in-house treatment at a feeding disorder clinic--------i hope they know how to deal with celiac. as of last night, she was down to 67 1/2 lbs.

christine

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tianna is one of my twins. she and kassie will turn 15 on the 31st of this month. kassie is pretty thin also, but she weighs 20 lbs more than tianna---and kassie looks healthy. after talking to a counselor today, i think that tianna is anorexic, not bulimic. she doesn't do the binge eating. he explained to me that anorexics will throw up also. kassie has been beside herself worrying about tianna----she said that for a long time now that tianna has been eating less-----i guess i just hadn't noticed. it is only in the last 2 months or so that she has started making herself throw up. she looks like a walking skeleton. she and kassie used to just get hysterically silly some times-------i miss that.

chrsitine

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I've dated a number of girls with eating disorders. Now, if someone is puking to get rid of gluten, I'm sure it's an eating disorder, but I don't think it's one of the normal ones. (is that what she's doing?)

It's usually an issue of either unrealistic body image or in somecases a realistic one and wanting body changes too quickly. But the motivation is to be thin.

Now, I cannot claim to be an expert on the following, but it is my understanding, and if anyone has a better one, feel free to correct me.

One thing that frequently helps a great deal is to get them to understand what happens to the metabolism when the body goes into survival mode. Starving yourself is the worse possible way to get thin.

First, the body in 'survival mode' will start eating itself to stay alive. This might be alright if it would only consume the fat, but alas, it doesn't work that way. The first thing it consumes is your muscle, and that includes heart muscle. The Fat is actually one of the last things to really go. The body wants to hang on to fat for as long as it can, veiwing that as the thing that can keep it alive the longest.

Further, the metabolism changes in order to put the fat back on as quickly as possible when normal eating is restarted. I knew a thin girl, who starved herself to a very unhealthy weight, then started eating again and went up a good bit above where she had started. (She still looked fabulous though. The only thing wrong with her was that she was a psycho. But that's not important right now.)

Once you explain to people that starvation will actually make them fatter in the long term, they are frequently much less inclinded to do it. (Attack the problem at it's root motivation. Note it's usually impossible to convince them they are thin enough, atleast without a huge amount of therapy.) That said, they may still work themselves to death in the gym.

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Greysaber, you make some good points. Many anorexic/bulimic women look at themselves in the mirror and see fat. They lose weight, and even though they are skinnier, they have a higher % fat now than muscle because they lost more muscle than fat. So, the thinner they get, the "fatter" they are, and they see the solution to be losing more weight. With this logic, it would seem that encouraging a young girl with a poor body image to lift weights to get muscle tone would be a help in addition to counseling, of course. Plus, the added advantage of sending her to the gym is that people there are trying to build muscle, not get skinny (doesn't mean a women will start looking like a guy ... I'm a weight lifter myself).

In this case, could the issue be that she eats gluten then throws it up, as someone else mentioned? Or is it a negative body image? That would be an important thing to know.

When I was at my thinnest with this disease, I was the size of the movie stars and actually got mistaken for a mannequin at Nordstrom. It started to make me a bit angry that so many famous people are so sickly thin. It really makes it difficult for young girls to feel pretty. My own 18 year old daughter said that my being sick and getting so thin really helped her to not have such a desire to be really thin, whereas I can assume from her comment that she had that desire before.

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In this case, could the issue be that she eats gluten then throws it up, as someone else mentioned? Or is it a negative body image? That would be an important thing to know.

<SNIP>

It started to make me a bit angry that so many famous people are so sickly thin.

Yes, it's very important to understand people's motivations. (Now, it's also important to know that they aren't always honest about their motivations.) For example, many people think a phobia is a 'silly fear.' Like with the woman who was terrified of eating fish. Everyone thought it was silly, until someone asked her about it, and it turned out she wasn't afriad of eating fish, she was terrified of choking to death on a fish bone, like her grandmother. (As a result of eating fish)

Most phobias are very realistic fears taken to unreasonable levels.

As to famous thin ones, I remember making some rather unkind jokes about Calistia Flockheart, comparing her to certain workers in the sex industry whose employment benefits include non-prescription use of refined and melted coca leaves.

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I'm sorry your family is having such a hard time. I've had several anorexic/bulemic friends and it's rough to even be around. I can relate to looking in the mirror and seeing fat.

I lost a good 50 lbs between my senior year of high school and the end of my freshman year of college. I was 220, so it was needed. Anyway, I still saw myself as the same as I did before I lost weight. I remember looking at a full length mirror in the dorm and actually *saw* myself get fatter in the mirror. At that point I realized I had a distorted body image. That helped me a lot, and I got a taste of what my friends with eating disorders saw.

She'll struggle with this her whole life, but with proper treatment, she will get better. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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hi i don't know if i will be any help but a few years ago i was bulmic, and during high school i had 5 friends committ suicide in 6 months, so needless to say I tried it to. first of all you are doing what my mother did, is to be there and try to understand. she never left me alone, and always told me she loved me, it drove me crazy, i yelled at her , hated her.....anyways now i know i am alive because of her. just keep searching for more advice and don't give up. i am always here if you have any questions.

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I just wanted to say that you and your family, especially Tianna, are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that you are doing the right thing by getting her the help that she needs. This is something that will not go away on its own and something that needs LOTS of professional help. I hope that you all find the strength and patience that it will take for her to overcome this and for your family to heal.

Be strong and know that there are lots of prayers going up for you all.

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I feel very sorry for you, I can't believe what is going on with your family right now. I am 15 also, and am underweight, and am tring to gain weight. I could never imagine a 15 year old at 69 pounds. I got down to around 70 this summer after jaw surgery and couldn't eat for 6 weeks, and yes i am tall, but i looked deathly until a couple weeks ago when i finally started gaining weight. all doctors thought that i bulimic and needed to be treated, i have been to counselors who think i have eating disorders, but i know i don't, so i just deal with it.

I hope you are doing better now she is admitted, i know hospitals well, and have roomed with annorexics many a time (they try to get all the teens together).

Hope she gets better soon! and i am hoping that your family will be back to normal soon!

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hi---i'm home again for a short stay to get things ready for the time that kevin and i will be gone. i am emotionally drained. thurs. at the hospital i would cry almost everytime i went to the bathroom, then get myself back together and go back to tianna's room. we will probably fly to seattle on wed or thurs. kevin and i will need to be there the first week to 10 days at the start of her treatment, then we can go home for a period of time, then we will need to return again during the last 3rd or her treatment. my oldest daughter is coming home to stay with the other kids.

christine

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tianna will be in-patient at seattle children's hospital in their eating disorder program. we will be having an online conference with them on monday at the hospital tianna is in now. they will explain the program to all of us. they will have classes for kevin and i to take while we are there, and reading to do when we come home. i have the feeling it is going to be a pretty intensive program. i think they have a 75-80% success rate at 5 years out.

christine

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chrissy, if you're here in seattle over the weekend, and are available and want a short break, there's a celiac walk in seattle on the morning of the 20th. I'll be there, as will others from the board. I have no experience with bulimia, but we're all here to support each other!

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