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  • Writer's pictureMandy Hendrickson B.A.

The Ebb & Flow

Author: Mandy Hendrickson B.A.


Healing is not a linear process, rather it is a continuous journey filled with beautiful moments of self-exploration and discovery. In this, there also may be times marked by moments of uncertainty, challenge, and setbacks. Acknowledging what in therapy we refer to as the Ebbs and Flows of Eating Disorder recovery, can be a profound and moving moment.

So, where does the idiom “ebb and flow” come from? Well, it is commonly understood that it was used first in the 1800s, acknowledging the recurring patterns of the ascent and descent of the tides.

The ebb state occurs when the water recedes from the shore, whereas the flow happens when the water comes back and rises again. Many see the ebb as moments in recovery when motivation diminishes (the hard part). However, to reiterate, this process is not linear, meaning it is circular! With every ebb, comes a flow. The flow can be seen as an opportunity for regrowth and learning.

While the ebb feels like it is taking you far out to sea, reminders through compassion and accountability may help minimize how far you are taken out to sea. The more we are able to acknowledge the coming and going of the waves, we will become much more effective surfers, able to combat tidal waves and appreciate when the water is still as glass.

When the waters of recovery are turbulent, utilizing breathwork can be an effective coping mechanism to ease and stabilize the mind.

Slow Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique recommendations:

  1. Sit comfortably – either in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground, or lying on the ground

  2. Fold your hands on your abdomen.

  3. Slowly breathe in normally. Your hands will rise with your inhalation

  4. Breathe out slowly to the count of 5; holding at the bottom for 3 seconds.

  5. Continue until your breath slows, or discomfort begins to dissipate.

Tip: Use this breathing technique as a way to get through the tough moment, rather than to get rid of them.

Always remember you deserve recovery, and in that recovery comes the Ebbs and Flows. It’s all a part of the journey. This too shall pass.


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