The Uncertainty of Transition
Posted on April 13, 2020
Artwork by Kristel G., patient of The Renfrew Center
"A depiction of what control looks like for me amid the COVID19 pandemic. After identifying the things I could do for my own mental and physical health as well as that of my friends and family, what started as a few major concerns that were "out of my hands" branched out into a stream-of-consciousness type of brain dump of all the things, big and small, that prompted feelings of anxiety and fear. Getting those things out of my head and onto the paper allowed me to acknowledge those feelings while recognizing in a visual way that my time and energy is better spent on the things within my reach."
Transitions often act as fuel for eating disorders. It's no coincidence people often seek treatment during transitional periods in their lives, whether they're entering puberty, leaving college, starting a family, or beginning menopause. The uncertainty of transition can be difficult to sit with, and the eating disorder can fly in with false balm for that pain.
Right now the world is in flux. Almost everyone is in a constant state of transition. The things that felt certain mere weeks ago have been thrown up into the air, and no one can say exactly when things will feel normal again. In these times, it would make sense for the eating disorder to lift its head and offer to help. Unfortunately, as so many know, the certainty the eating disorder promises does not come to be. It mostly throws another element of chaos into the equation with ever changing rules and regulations, promising if one can only follow along, then all will be well.
Amidst the chaos of this moment, I wonder how things may feel less frightening if one can embrace the uncertainty. Even outside of a global pandemic, our sense of control is often lying to us. In other times of ambiguity, I try to remind myself of something I've been repeating quite frequently recently: this moment is finite. Whatever emotions we may be experiencing now will change as time moves on. Though the direction they move is not certain, that they will move is guaranteed. Trying to control the flow is one of the things that can breed suffering, so allowing moments to evolve and change without forcing them to do so is the way to survive times of disarray and confusion.
Meghan Brown, LMHC, NCC, is the Admissions Team Leader at The Renfrew Center of Massachusetts. A Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from The College of William and Mary where she engaged in research on body image improvement and eating disorder prevention in college-aged women. Ms. Brown received her Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine from Boston University where she trained to work with adolescents and adults in IOP, PHP, and residential levels of care. Prior to joining Renfrew, she worked with clients on both the generally psychiatric and eating disorder inpatient units at Walden Behavioral Care. Ms. Brown is passionate about client advocacy and eating disorder prevention.