“I’ve just completed in-patient program, and now I see a therapist every week, but it’s horrible. When I look at myself in the mirror, I feel terrible, I don’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone.” 17 year old Female, Chester
This post is to help and support people who’ve completed all the recommended treatment for their ED. For some people, this might mean that no other treatment is needed and they are cured of their ED. The end of treatment is a difficult and vulnerable time. Not many people feel relieved, cheerful and able to get on with life again, the threat and fear of relapse is always lurking in shadows. So many people feel quite low, depressed about body changes, and simply drained.
Being in treatment gives people a sense of security, as well as being a place of treatment, and many people feel little apprehensive, frightened when they are no longer under treatment. People may feel surprised by emotions such as,
Fear that ED will come back
Anger that you are not able to get on with life again
Irritation that people around you do not understand how you feel.
Please do keep in mind that you’ve done tremendously well to complete your treatment, You’re on your way back to better health and apart from some checkups and watching out for signs for relapse, your life should gradually return to something like it was before your illness. Some people’s life does not return to the way it was. Mine didn’t:). This can feel very unfair and is normal to have feelings of anger, depression and anxiety at this time. Some people find it so hard when the people around expect them to feel great, and encourage them to get on with life again. This maybe last thing some people may feel like doing.
Although you have a very secret strong desire to put ED behind you, but bear in mind that your emotional recovery may just be beginning.
Feelings You May Have
It is natural to have a range of feelings once your treatment has ended. These may include:
Uncertainty: planning the future ahead may feel very strange, as your future has felt uncertain for a very long time.
Some people are afraid that having negative feelings means their ED is back or they are not recovered, or it may slow their recovery. However, when you talk to other people who’ve recovered or been recovered for a long time, even the most optimistic of them will admit to low times, when they feel depressed and anxious. No one can be positive all of the time, so try not to put pressure on yourself to always stay on top of the things when you really want to say that you’re finding it tough. Being positive does not mean always feeling happy and cheerful. It is actually a very positive thing to acknowledge when you feel tired, anxious, depressed or angry.
Tip: Talking honestly about how you feel, and crying if you need to, can help to release tension and stress. If you find it hard to talk to someone in your family, find someone from outside to talk to or one of the many Eating Disorder Support Organizations and Help Lines.
How To Reprogram Your Mind (for Positive Thinking)
We all have whole range of emotions while we are recovering from our ED. Outside of treatment you may become overwhelmed by one type of feeling. You know this is happening when, weeks or months after your treatment has finished, the same thoughts keep whirling in your head, and you find yourself unable to structure your day or go back to your usual way of life. This happens to many, (ahem ahem like me) and is a common feature of recovery. It’s frightening and some days you may feel your going mad, because feelings are so strong.
Some of the feelings you may have include:
Blaming yourself for your situation
The need to blame others for what has happened
Anger and Resentment
Fear of Planning in case ED comes back
Want to learn How to Mind Your Mind? Download this Wonderful Booklet and Be in Control of Your Mind. Mind Your Mind Success Consciousness
Anger and Fear
Anger is a natural reaction to loss, and ED brings with it many losses. As the person who has had ED, you will be dealing with your own losses, and possibly rage or anger about being the person who had to go through the stress and worry of ED. However, you may be able to use some of the energy of your anger to support yourself. Sometimes people find that an angry reaction to having had ED helps them to become clear about what they do and don’t want in their lives. They may become more assertive. On the other hand, some of the things that would previously have caused them stress no longer seem so important.
Always keep in mind that it’s very natural to feel angry when you have had ED- so don’t ever feel bad about feeling this way. Start by telling yourself and a few other people you trust when you are angry. Just saying the words ‘I’m angry’ can be a relief.
When strong feelings like anger are held in, they can cause problems, such as depression, tiredness, hopelessness and lack of motivation. Deal with your anger. Trust me once you do that, you become so strong.
Watch this wonderful video on ‘6 Steps on Coping with Anger and How to Overcome Anger Triggers’
Watch this Excellent Video by Dalai Lama
It’s only natural to feel depressed and experience low moods . Try to be aware of your needs, and think about how they can be met. Make sure you have enough support from family and friends, and above all try to feel caring and supportive toward yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up with without judging yourself as a bad person, or trying to change them. Your Good, What’s Bad has been Perished and will Perish with your Efforts and Self-belief.
Freedom is our destiny. Yet we fear taking the step which will carry us into the greatness which is our own true nature. Brandon Brays
You can make this a very constructive moment in your life, after having experienced a great deal of stress, isolation, anxiety, pain and suffering. You’ll find that if you are able to reduce your fear and distress, you might feel in a better position to recover from the shock of your ED past and to continue enjoying life. You now have the chance to look at how you want to live in the future. You may want to do things you’ve often thought about but never done, perhaps visit places you’ve always dreamed about, or enrich personal relationships.
I had a dream one day I’ll have a pet, it kind of came true, when a friend went to Middle East and left her Hammy in our care. i forced and bribed and begged my brother to look after the Hammy, but they say dreams come true and mine did.
A good coping strategy is to work through any anger, distress, fear or sadness that you may be feeling. It is best to deal with all these nagging worries and then move on with life.
So many people who have had ED say that they actually feel happier in some ways than they did before their ED, because their illness has forced them to reassess and re-evaluate their lives. They may chose to live differently in some ways, such as:
Doing things that they’ve always wanted to do immediately, rather than putting them off indefinitely. Like me, I started to ride my bike and I joined local Walking Group.
Getting to know friends and people and cultures more deeply
Creating Closer family bonds
You may not feel too confident about all this, but with time you’ll enjoy everything and you’ll find that your ED is in remission.
Magic of Complimentary Therapy After ED Treatment
People often feel that they have lost control of their life when they have had ED. Trust me it’s very difficult to cope with the mental implications of this illness and sometimes trying to restore some kind of normalcy in life becomes a huge ordeal. Using Complimentary Therapy can really help you to cope better with life after ED treatment. If you still have ED and have left the treatment, then bear in mind that ED cannot be just cured by the complimentary therapy, you need help of your practitioner and ED team.
Make use of complimentary therapy to maintain your emotional and physical health. There are so many different types of complimentary therapies available, choose a complimentary therapy that best suites you.
Help you feel better and improve your quality of life
Improve your general health
Give you sense of control over what is happening to you
Reduce stress, tension, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and make you feel more relaxed.
Help to reduce the re-occurring symptoms of ED, such as obsessing over food, body image, weight, tiredness, poor appetite.
Diet plays a key role in your life. Whatever you do, do not stray away from balanced diet or you’ll find your ED is back. Stay within balance and you’ll be fine, I promise you that.
Do not cut out any food groups.
Worried About ED Coming Back?
You know yourself better than anyone. If your ED is coming back and you’re engaged in any of it’s behaviors, go and see your doctor immediately and ask for a referral. Control the Demon Before he Strengthens in its might.
In Part 11, I will Talk about Complimentary Therapies and What works Best.
No Copy Right Infringement intended. I adapted above post from one of the booklets from my office. I think it was by BUPA UK, life after Cancer Treatment. I can’t find the booklet anymore, therefore, I am unable to provide reference.