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Hi ladies, I am not a member of this board but I need some advice/help with my step-daughter.
My DSD is 13 (14 in Aug) and I noticed about a year and a half ago that her eating habits changed. I was snooping and I read in her diary that she thinks she has an eating disorder and a couple of her friends know and are trying to help her.
She's about 5"5 and 115 lbs and she thinks that 115lbs is still too much. She really is beautiful and people tell her this all the time. She gets a lot of positive comments from her friends and family on a regular basis.
She eats small portions and doesn't usually finish her lunch (today was another un-finished lunch day). She doesn't have the best eating habits in way that she chooses her food (empty calories, junk). Now all of a sudden she has said that she thinks she's got lactose intolerance (this is a new thing. Not sure if it's a cover up but she has never mentioned this before) I am worried she might try throwing up if she hasn't already (I don't think she is). I am going to keep a close watch on her though.
I don't know how I can confront her about it. She will know that I read her private diary (I know I am terrible for doing this but I feel like i'm the only one who's concerned for her)... she never really talks to me or hubby about really personal things unless I ask. Dh is honestly never around very much and when he is home he's not talking about personal things with the kids. He's usually on his phone or the computer. I am also not on speaking terms with her mom and she would flip out if she knew I did what I did. So I don't think I can confront her about it. I am the only one who knows about this and it's only due to my snooping around. I don't want her to feel like she can't trust me but I don't know when the appropriate time to intervene is..
Any advice? It doesn't help that she has an overweight mom and an overweight step-mom who are both struggling with our own insecurities and weight issues. We are not very good role models
First I would say - as gently as i can - you gotta stop reading her diary - witting is one of the few places people especially with eating disorders or depression can let things out and go - and help them think through things and process ... if she finds out your violating this, she wont do it and keep it in and not trust you to talk about anything. If she's having a hard time ... you need her to trust you more than ever. The people that i trusted, helped me the most in my eating disorder journey. It's soooooooooo important to have boundaries for everyone in the family. And it sounds like when you ask her stuff, she's open -- it's sooooooo vital to keep that line of communication going!
Second, It sounds like she might be starting to have a hard time .. and maybe the beginning of an eating disorder ... i started mine at 11/12 (and lasted until i was 24) I would say one of the biggest things that set me back into it lasting so much longer is that my family didn't get me major help until I was 17, before that they just made the school nurse monitor it and yell at me. I would say Talk to her! and see what kind of help you can get for her ... if she's thinking she may have one - she probably does - denial is major, so by the time you start to feel the struggle usually it's an issue. See if she's interested in a group 'therapy' meetup - so she can talk to her peers about what's going on and visa versa - the sessions are conducted by a therapist and are free usually by ANAD or OEA both have the entire gammet of ED's. I think ANAD groups would be perfect at this age. Also see if she's interested in talking to a nutritionist ... they have ones for girls specifaclly struggling with body image ...and maybe a therapist. It may seem like a lot - but the more you do know to help, the more helpful i believe it will be.
When i started my ED - i started with my Best friend at the time...again, my family held off on helping me (just had it as a family secrete) but her family at 13 when they really recognized it - did the full force treat it and she recovered pretty quickly -- it still took about 2 years of shaky recovery but she did it and is so happy and healthy, where as it took me 12/13 years to get to the shaky recovery. (almost been 4 years of it)
It's a lot to deal with and think about. But it's great that you recognized it so quickly!