Feel bad as son been sectioned in hospital as very ill

I feel terrible because I told my doctor I thought my son was seriously underweight, and managed to get him there for blood text, they got eating disorder unit involved and now have been sectioned him in hospital. He is only 16 but his pulse was very low, he had dropped 3 stone in a very short time so they worried about his heart. The reason I am posting is have I done the right thing as he hates me now ? He was eating 3 very small meals a day but would not stop exercising (obsessive behaviour!) so thought it was the best place for him, and my other two kids, husband and me were walking on eggshells to try not to upset him !

18 Replies

  • Heartbeat1 ~ there is nothing that can be said to ease your heart ache 😢 His behavior led to the outcome. You are only trying to help him. He doesn't really hate you, that's his Eating Disorder speaking, not him. He is young and he needs to address this disease now, not later. You as his mum know this. Most hospitals are far too busy to take a patient who really doesn't need care. You, your husband and your 2 other children need a break from walking on eggshells. You need to regroup and gather all your strength, because he will come home. 💞

  • Thank you joolzzz for your kindness as it means a lot, and as you said as his mum I felt I had to be cruel to be kind, and get him the help now before it got any worse and his heart rate was so low they admitted him as it was the only logical thing to do, to keep him safe too. Thanks again 😄

  • My heart goes out to you - what a tough choice to make - I know as an anorexic how powerful the disease is and how it turns you against anyone who tries to break its hold over you - I also know how destructive it is for families and relationships - and how hard it must have been for you as a mother to watch your son self destruct and then "force" him into treatment he didn't want - I've been there (at his end) - you've done the right thing - got him to professionals and I pray that he will recover completely and will bless you at the end of what I know will be a hard and painful journey for him and for you. Suggest you contact ABC helpline for parents - they are extremely supportive - and you are going to need it - I know the hell I put my family through!!

  • Thank you crazycrosstitcher for your kind and honest reply. I realise it will be extremely hard and long journey for all of us, but hate the fact he is still so mad at us and is still trying to get us to bring books in to him to do work as he is obsessed with studying and exercise which led him to get this bad ! I only hope once he starts gaining weight (he has a feeding tube which he agreed to) his brain starts telling him that we are here for him and not the enemy. I will keep you updated and thanks again😄

  • Heartbeat1, you did the right thing. x

  • Hi Heartbeat 1, my heart goes out to you. Two and a half years ago, I was in exact same position with our 12 year old. At first she held it against me that she had been taken into hospital as an emergency, but after a year or so, she began to see that it had been necessary. She had also lost weight very rapidly (at the time eating around 300 calories a day and losing 1 kg a week) and it was actually our GP who made the call to emergency services when she contracted tonsillitis and developed very low blood pressure and low pulse. She was put on an ECG for the first night which was terrifying for us both.

    An anorexic will fight against treatment in the early stages, which is why it can be difficult to treat. It may take some time for your son to accept treatment, but believe me, he will come to want help even if it takes a year or two like it did with my daughter. She is now embracing therapies and actively wants to put the ED behind her. It is hard on a parent, because you want them to get well and watching a child self destruct is incredibly painful.

    Hang on in there, it will require enormous strength and patience, but if his family stands by him, your son will beat the anorexia.

  • Same happened to him low pulse and needed ecg and then taken to hospital to keep him safe. His Eating disorder has come from his obsession to excercise excessively and he has been very anxious for a while, can't even pinpoint when but he got anxious when taking his exams and he always wants to do his best at everything! It is scary how he controlled everything (and still trying to) and now the eating disorder is controlling him ! Did your daughter go to a unit where she stayed in? They want him to go there but not sure he will like it. It is nice to know there is light at the end of this very long tunnel 😀. Thank you

  • Yes, she did go to a specialist unit as an in-patient, but not till the second year. The first year she made up her mind to restore her weight and controlled her meal plan to do so. Unfortunately she refused any therapy and when her problems re-surfaced when she got back to school, the ED kicked in again. She fought against being admitted too, but that is because, as you say, the ED is controlling them and they are terrified of losing the crutch that anorexia has become. We ended up driving her there and back every day for the first months until she was comfortable with staying over. Fortunately that was an option as the unit was 'only' a 40 minute drive away.

    I wish you luck, and I would advise you to take any help offered, especially from a specialist unit. The one positive of being admitted as an emergency, if you can see it that way, is that the sufferer is usually fast-tracked to get the help they need. Recovery is a journey, and your son may need to go round the wheel of change a few times before finally breaking free i.e. relapses are common. If you expect them, it can help cope. Don't see them as failures, just another step. He will get there in the end. x

  • Hi susiecoo,

    Can you tell me when your daughter was in hospital if she refused to see you ? My son has been in hospital nearly a week now and being assessed and waiting bed in Ed unit(not sure there are any !) he now seems to be getting angry and fed up and last night when we visited he refused to have the feed put in, and told us to leave. It is so difficult to not know what to do! We have not spoken about his ED as he wont accept he has a problem and we are letting the ed team deal with it. Not sure this is right but are in limbo not knowing what is happening, and also found out he has lost weight, but is eating breakfast, lunch and dinber. I think his brain is so messed up and as he has been starved he is not my son if you know what I mean. No empathy and saying some strange things too! Any advice or help would be appreciated. I think I will also call ABc for help. Thanks in advance

  • Hi heartbeat1,

    What you describe about your son's behaviour sounds pretty familiar to me. Our daughter never refused visits that I can remember but she did get angry with us, has told us she hates us, we're useless, run away on more than one occasion from home (thankfully never missing for more than an hour or two and never far away)... As you say, when they are low weight they don't seem like your child any more and you are quite right: his brain is messed up - the lower the weight, the less capacity they have for normal, rational thought. That is why therapy is not normally started until they have restored some weight. It is hard to know what to do - we still feel that way on occasions two years down the line. Go with the flow and continue to show him you love him and support him, though I know it can be hard when they are shouting abuse or lashing out. Forgive yourself if you also 'lose it' on occasions - we are only human and I sometimes think they are trying to provoke a reaction. I think it would help you to ring one of the helplines, take time to look after yourself. Keep posting here if you want more support. Good luck x

  • susiecoo, very wise words. as a mother of an anorexic daughter, it does hurt so much when she constantly lashes out at me no matter what I do. And yet, today when her blood labs came back critical again and she refuses any help, I am over the edge with anxiety. I have heard her doctors tell me to take care of myself but how can I, when I feel her needs more important. Thank you. x

  • I feel for you and yes it hurts so much as a Mum to be blamed and hated for only trying to help. He is angry at me and his dad for putting him in hospital, although I never did, but I did get him to doctors re a blood test and knew once they saw him they would act quickly. We did not go and see him tonight but took our daughter out for dinner (she is 21 and been brilliant) as she needs to be looked after too. He texted her and said she could come and see him briefly but not us! I texted him saying we would not be swing him tonight but Loved him and were there for Him But got no reply. It is so hard not to feel such guilt and I constantly feel anxious and sick in the stomach like you do, I expect which is not good for us, but what can we do. My 21 and 19 year old have been brilliant and I don't understand how he can be so different as we have treated them all the same and loved them all equally. Sorry I am rambling on but it's helps to have someone who understands what I am going through. Thank you so much for caring enough to reply to me. I hope your daughters one day, see what you did to help them get better. God bless you xx

  • Bless you. I was anorexic as a teenager and didn't like my mum watching my eating, it almost got to the stage you say. I look back now and can see my parents were distressd and worked for me to get better

  • Well done on your recovery, and I only hope he does as well as you, but after a week in inpatient place, he is still unhappy and feels we have put him there, and hates the fact there are 11 girls and him on that ward! Plus he has 1-1 to keep him from keep moving around and I do feel for him, but still feel this is the best place for him to get weight restored, and hopefully he will then be abe to deal with some therapy. Keep and stay well mysmugcat xxx

  • So sorry you are going through this, though as everyone else has said, you did the right thing. He is in good hands, even if he fights the treatment at first. He may be angry and lash out and claim he hates you, but he does not truly mean it. As someone who suffered from AN for nearly a decade from age 12, I can say that I felt I HATED my family, friends, anybody who challenged my behaviour, but upon actually making progress with recovery and restoring weight, I realised these feelings were completely ridiculous, and people acted with love rather than trying to get at me. He will come around when he starts getting better, 100%. I know that may seem forever away, but he will get there, and one day he will be thankful for you saving his life. Remember, none of this is your fault, and keep sticking by him and showing him you know he can recover. Keep going, you're obviously a wonderful parent X

  • Thank you so much hbpencil28, yes it is a very difficult time all round, but we will support him all the way. He has been in ED hospital now 2 weeks and doing so well, so much friendly with us, although he is desperate to get out and appealed against decision to be detained on a level 3, which was so upsetting. I told him we want him home, but we feel he is in the best place to get the treatment he needs right now, as he does have OCD symptoms too. I think if he comes homes now, he might revert back. He is eating though, and putting on weight so that is good, as his brain will start mending and he will see things more clearly. I wish you, and everyone on this website recovery and peace, and take whatever help and support you can to fight this horrible illness. Take care xx

  • That's really great to hear, I am so glad he is making progress, and already doing much better. I know he will continue to improve. Yes, he is in the right place and I believe he does need to stay there. For many (including myself) as soon as I was able to get away with not eating again, I stopped, so it's better from him to keep making progress in a safe environment so that eating becomes a normal behaviour for him again, and also, as you said, to help address the OCD symptoms. The two often go hand in hand, so I am sure as he improves with the ED, the OCD will also improve. Thank you for your kind words, and I wish you all the best and hope your son continues to improve. I am sure you will have him back with you very soon. Keep going, you're obviously doing a great job of looking after him. Take some time out for yourself too though, and maybe talk to someone if you can; unfortunately an ED impacts on the whole family. Good luck! X

  • I really think you have taken the best possible action. When your son's health is at risk, you have no choice and although your son may say he hates you now, one day he will be so very grateful and appreciative for your intervention. I really admire you for your decision and I wish my parents had been as caring as you. Maybe then I would not have suffered for so many years. Your son is in the best possible place and I wish you love and luck with his recovery xx

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