Kelly - posted on 11/15/2015 ( 1 mom has responded )
Hi I have just joined this forum and am relieved to find others who are experiencing similar difficulties as I have felt so alone and confused. My 17 year old daughter was diagnosed around 2 months ago with Aspergers. She is the eldest of 3 so every stage of development was new to me. Looking back I can see there were definite signs of autistic traits but I genuinely had no idea. She was always more challenging than my two younger children but I just thought her a bit uncoordinated and quite quirky. She was such a beautiful little girl who sang before she could talk, had a huge vocabulary and achieved above average academically. She was a brilliant story writer and great at art. On top of her academic achievements she was a beautiful singer and won a national song competition and her performance was televised. Probably looking back the high point of her life!
Around her 14 birthday we decided to move back to Ireland from the UK and the couple of months leading up to the move she starting obsessing about her weight. She took up running and we were delighted because she found an exercise that she could manage and she really seemed to enjoy it. At first she appeared to settle well in her new school and made a few friends. However, very quickly her behaviour changed dramatically, she became extremely argumentative and obsessive about clothes, makeup and her phone. All these behaviours screamed teenager to me so although she was acting in a very unpleasant way I was not overly concerned. However, six months after the move I discovered she was bulimic and her unpleasant behaviour was portraying as more like severe temper tantrums. We found vomit in drawers in her bedroom, in plastic bags, in bowls hidden in her wardrobe. It was very strange that she didn't just use the bathroom. After one particularly bad episode which resulted in smashing up my bedroom I decided that I needed to get medical help for her. This was the beginning of a very difficult three year process. Because bulimia fell under the mental health umbrella, and her rages could be associated as part of an addiction to bingeing and purging she was treated for an eating disorder. I started doing my own research as things were just not adding up for me and her behaviour was getting more and more bizarre. I started looking up aspergers and everything I was reading was making sense to me. I asked the adolescent mental health professionals if they thought if she could perhaps have high functioning autism but was told that no it was the bulimia that was causing her aggressive and violent behaviour. She ended up in an adolescent mental health hospital for her violence and bulimia and we welcomed this because we felt she needed to be in a controlled eating environment. However the hospital kept sending her home at weekends and she would be violent and very bulimic on her visits home and then be on her best behaviour at the hospital during the week. I again suggested autism but was told that the problem is in the family home with us and they said she was being released because she was fine, even though she later told us that she managed to vomit several times whilst in hospital without being noticed. This was extremely upsetting for us because we knew it was not us and that something horrendous was happening to our child. We also knew our other two children were extremely happy and well adjusted.
Things have gone from bad to worse. She can no longer attend school due to her high anxiety. She has no friends as her peculiar behaviour drove the handful of friends she had away. She has depression, anxiety, is lonely yet pushes people away with her verbal and physical abuse. She constantly asks for help to overcome her bulimia but refuses all the help when it is offered to her by refusing to attend appointments. She says she is depressed but will not take the anti-depressants that she has been prescribed. But the worse thing is her bulimia is so severe and no matter what we try it is unsuccessful. She will raid and eat all the food in the house. We have had to lock the kitchen and she has frequently kicked the door in to get food. She steals money to go buy junk food and will eat shopping bags full at a time and then vomit it all up. Her beautiful hair and teeth are so damaged now, and she is constantly exhausted. She can no longer live at home because the violence got so bad along with the eating disorder and she is currently back in the UK working at my mothers hotel. She is left alone with her bulimia there as she earns money to buy what she needs to binge. Her room is chaos and she finds it extremely difficult to clean it and keep it in any sort of order. Sometimes she doesn't turn up for her shifts because she has overslept due to being on social networking or watching movies all hours of the night. She suffers insomnia but again will not take any advice in relation to changing her behaviour to rectify this. She wears the same clothes constantly even though she had a vast wardrobe. She is so anxious about her appearance that she constantly tries on clothes only to end up back in the same ones again. We have been told that the bulimia is a side effect of her aspergers and is her narrow focus and obsession and that it could stop one day overnight. But what do you do in the meantime, hope that she doesn't die of a heart attack? Any solutions greatly appreciated. I am not too optimistic of any but feel better getting it off my chest and reading others albeit sad and depressing stories, gives me some comfort that I am no longer alone.
I feel such grief for the child I have lost. It is like someone came along and put another child in my daughters body at age 14. I am longing to have my daughter back and feel robbed by what has happened. I see all her peers and cousins of the same age getting older, going to college etc., and it is so painful to see my beautiful daughter stuck and left behind.