Topic Tuesday: Grief

“Grief During Recovery (By: Mandy Pirie)

It’s been six months since I made the biggest decision in over a decade…to recover from my eating disorder. In the beginning, I was inundated with support. Supportive texts from family and friends, weekly meetings with my eating disorder support group, therapist once a week, dietician once a week and the list goes on. Those that have recovered know how this goes. You start eating again, you stop the over exercising, social outings become easier and slowly that acute anxiety starts to fade and so does the support.

The Universe loves to test our resilience just when we’re getting cozy. Skipping through life, I get a call. One of my beloved mentors has passed away suddenly. Then a month later, a longtime friend overdoses. This was not how my recovery plan was supposed to go! (Yes, I think of myself first because EDs are selfish jerks.) The sudden urge to numb out and engage in all of those unhealthy habits from the past comes raging back with such force that it seems to physically knock the wind out of me. But this time is different and I resist, this time I have my big girl recovery pants on. If I turn back, my family (including my very impressionable 4 year old daughter) will suffer…..again.  There will surely be chances not taken and opportunities will most certainly be missed. Heck, think of the pasta that will go uneaten! I have what we call in our house a “comin’ to Jesus” meeting in the beloved backyard hammock. In the past, I felt I had no choice, my eating disorder always won. This time is different and I decide to choose love instead.

Love for myself; love for my tribe and for all those who haven’t chosen recovery yet. And yes, there are lots of tears, a few 9-1-1 calls to friends and I’m proud to say 2 or 3 pints of ice cream that never stood a chance. When faced with adversity, unfortunate life events or just daily tough stuff my best advice is to just choose love. It’s okay to not be okay. As long as you feel the feelings and move forward. Write a love letter to yourself, call someone you trust (I know, hello 1990’s!), grab a seat at an online support group, have a living room dance party, whatever fills your cup and gets you through the grief. Never give up and never look back.

About the Author

Mandy Pirie is a native Floridian living near Tampa, FL. She is proudly recovered and passionate about promoting body neutrality and respect for all shapes, sizes and colors. A massage therapist for over 8 years, Mandy enjoys helping her clients practice mindfulness and body awareness during their sessions. She loves practicing yoga inversions in her backyard and teaching her daughter to “be the change.”