Dealing with the many ups and downs of eating disorder recovery can be extremely challenging. Losing a loved one during that process amplifies the pain of both experiences and can throw the upward trajectory of your healing into a downward spiral. However, as we discuss with the people we work with at our teen eating disorder recovery center, you can make it through this very difficult time.
The Stages of Grieving
One of the keys to surviving the loss of a loved one while in recovery is understanding that grieving is a process. And while everyone’s grief experience is different, there are some well-defined stages that people pass through. They are:
- Denial. While you know intellectually that the person has died, your heart refuses to accept the loss. It’s very difficult to reconcile your thoughts and emotions during this period.
- Anger. As you start to come to grips with the fact that your loved one is gone, you will likely feel anger and frustration. “How could this happen? How could the powers that be do this to my loved one and to me?”
- Bargaining. In this stage, you try to create compromises that will allow you to wake up and find that this never happened. “I swear I’ll be a better person from this point on. Just let them be here.”
- Depression. The reality of the situation hits hard in this phase, causing renewed and intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
- Acceptance. Ultimately, you begin to find stability in your emotions and take physical and emotional steps toward “moving on.”
The benefit of having an awareness of these stages is that moving from one to the next helps you see that you are making progress in your healing. There’s no set time period for the stages, of course, as we all recover at our own pace.
For people in eating disorder recovery, it’s important to:
- Be prepared to feel a pull toward negative eating behaviors
- Continue with your therapy if you are receive counseling
- Consider resuming counseling if necessary
- Stay connected to family and friends
- Give yourself time to grieve
You Can Make it Through This
As hard as it is to go on when you lose someone while in eating disorder recovery, you can, one day at a time. Call us today to learn more about the programs at our teen eating disorder recovery center: 916-784-1120.