Journal 2: My Daughter Has an Eating Disorder, The Nightmare Continues…

A few days after my daughter was admitted to the hospital in VA, 5-6 ours from home, we got a call from the team that is caring for her.  I was so pleased at the steps they were taking and the goals they had set for her.  They say my daughter is working hard and I’m so proud of her for recognizing she has a problem and that she is trying.  I’m very impressed with the therapist who is recognizing things immediately.  I believe she is trying her best to help my daughter heal.  My stress level deflated after that call.  I’m impressed with what they’re doing.

The therapist called me and started talking about “disorganized attachment.”   She explained this to me some and recommended I do some reading on it.  Yes, I believe this fits my daughter.  She is adopted and her biological mother had many struggles with domestic violence, substance abuse and bad choices like leaving her kids for weeks at a time to go visit a boyfriend far away.  This has left a mark on my daughter.  Episodes of trauma while the brain is developing affects us far more than if we’re an adult.  Can she work through all of this and get better?  I hope and pray so!

One of the myths people coming into foster care believe is that if you just love these kids they’ll heal and be ok.  I’ve learned love isn’t enough many times.  I love all my adopted children dearly.  They need so much more!  Even though I love my daughter tremendously and have given her a structured safe home her scars still remain.  She lives in constant fear that I will leave her because her mother left her many times.  She projects this onto me, which makes sense, but I’m also learning eating disorders don’t make sense at all!   One thing I learned going to the clinic is that this doesn’t make sense and trying to make sense of something that isn’t rational is irrational in and of itself!

So I get questions like, “What do you think triggered this?”  “What is she upset about?”  “Did something happen at school?”  These are all rational questions that I don’t have an answer for and sitting around speculating all of this can drive one mad.

So now I’m trying my best to love my daughter, pray for her, call her every day, visit her as much as I can even though she is 5-6 hours away.  I believe she wants help and healing and is reaching out for it.  This is what gives me the greatest hope!

The most terrifying element of all of this is my daughter lives in a “unit” that is full of other teen girls all who struggle with difficulties in their lives.  They all have medical and emotional issues.   Some are very angry and look really scary.  Others are delightful but I can tell they are a handful.  So I have to take the good with the bad and keep pressing on to get her the help she needs.  She is being strong and I’m proud of her!

Right now they are keeping her away from the eating disorder group because many of the patients in that group have had their disorder for years.  My daughter started this 7 months ago.   They do not want my child to learn some of the behaviors these other patients display.  So right now she is being encouraged to improve her eating on her own and she is working on her trauma with her therapist.  I appreciate them being cautious.  While we might be postponing the inevitable, we just don’t know yet.  We shall see.

This Journal entry is the second of a six part series.

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