When our world changes considerably, be it through the experience of the pandemic or entering a new chapter in life such as university, we can experience a feeling of great loss or fracture.
Eating disorders can arise during this time as a means of coping. By focusing our attention on details such as food, weight, or body shape, we can distract ourselves from the difficult and uncomfortable emotions we may be feeling deeper down.
Romy, our Senior Psychotherapist, recognises the uncertainty that comes alongside the experience of transition:
“Uncertainty taps into all of our difficulties, and it naturally will bring about parts of us that long for the safety in the familiar. Part of recovery is about seeking certainty outside the familiarity of the eating disorder. Leaning into well support mechanisms during a space of transition is necessary in times like this – especially when the whole world is experiencing uncertainty.” – Romy, Senior Psychotherapist
Our Registered Mental Health Nurse, Victoria, acknowledges how moments of transition can impact our emotions and energy levels, but also highlights the opportunity that comes with challenge:
“All of us experience moments of transition in life that are so impactful that they can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depleted. For individuals with eating disorders, change is often difficult to manage and even the happiest of moments in life can produce unexpected stress on our mental wellbeing and recovery. Yet, with the right knowledge and plan in place, managing life transitions does not have to get the better of us!” – Victoria, Registered Mental Health Nurse
Their tips for those that may be caring for someone with an eating disorder
If you are currently supporting a loved one through a transitional phase, keep in mind the following:
“You also deserve the space for nurture and anchoring. Create space in which you are also taken care of. Allow yourself to separate for a short while to anchor yourself. Mirroring self-care is sometimes the best way we can help our loved ones.” – Romy
“Be compassionate with yourself. It takes time to adjust to life transitions and it is okay to feel unease about that. Make space for you to experience and work through your emotions – this can help you feel a sense of calm and clarity in the most turbulent times. Take a deep breath, slow down, and journal how you are feeling right now. All of these can provide the self-care necessary to staying grounded in high-stress transitions.” – Victoria
And if you, reading this, are going through your own difficult transitional phase right now:
“Remember honesty. Staying truthful to both yourself and your loved ones ensures that everyone comes alongside you in your journey.” – Romy
“Be present in the moment. While it may be tempting to look back at a more stable time in life or to anticipate the future when you start to feel a sense of unease, staying present with your emotions can help keep you grounded. Focusing your attention and energy in the moment, on the impact of these experiences on your mind and body, can help your tap into your needs. When your body is telling you to slow down, get support and take time out.” – Victoria