Hi, I hope someone out there can help!
I am a mum of four - ages 15, 12, 10 and 1. 2 Boys, 2 Girls, lucky me! However today I have come across the biggest and saddest hurdle of my parenting. My eldest daughter (15) has been quite poorly lately, she ended up being off school for nearly 3 weeks and is in her final year so was not good! She became extremely lethargic, dizzy, nauseous and had a complete loss of appetite. She barley ate anything in 4 weeks and although she won't let me weigh her I think she's lost nearly a stone in weight.
She has always been thin and have always had to buy her 2 years behind in clothes sizes, but when she reached 13 she was a size 6 in adults. Before she became ill she was a size 8-10 but is now a small 8. She has always complained about 'turning into a woman' and wanting to be thinner but no more than a usual teenage girl.
I took her to the doctors when she was ill, they ran urine and blood samples but both came back clear with no infection etc but the doctor asked me if I thought she may have an eating disorder, which I dismissed as she has always eaten relatively well although very healthily. It wasn't until I had put the kids to bed and started to think about her eating habits and change in body consciousness e.g wouldn't go swimming because she thinks she looks fat in a bikini, not wearing shorts because she thinks her legs are fat etc...
I have tried to talk to her numerous times regarding eating disorders and her perception of herself but she closes up and will not talk about it and simply dismisses the fact that she may have a problem, however she came home from school today and has spent most of the time in her room, when I went to take her a drink she was crying. It took me over an hour to find out what was upsetting her and she admitted that she thinks she is really fat and hates her body and she can't think about anything else. She has started to refuse any food that contains fat and gets disgusted if her brother is eating junk food.
I have a follow-up appointment with her GP on Thursday and am going to seek her help but just wondered if anyone else has been through this and could give any advice? I have sat and talked for 2 hours with her and she has cried her eyes out and I feel as though I have let her down. I work 20 hours a week and have 3 other children, one of whom is very small and takes up most of my time - could this be a result of lack of attention? I am a very attentive mum who lives for her kids and I try to make sure I spend time individually and as a family on a daily basis but I do feel as though I leave her to get on with things as she is 15 but she hardly spends any time with her friends and likes to be at home, I am feeling pretty desperate right now and just want her to be happy and to see herself as a beautiful, talented and caring young lady like everyone else sees her!
PLEASE do not blame yourself for this. It is definitely not lack of your attention that is causing your daughter's problems. Sadly, eating disorders effect all kinds of people. There are so many young girls especially in this day and age that struggle with poor body image.You are not letting her down you are there for her and you're getting her the help she needs! I am so sorry that she and you are going through this and I wish your family the very best. Big hugs.
This is definitely not due to a lack of attention. I am glad you are getting her help. We started on our journey when my son was 4, he's now 15. It has gotten better for us but it has been a journey for sure.