Susan Youngsteadt—Family Centered Treatment Therapist and Family Coach and Intake Supervisor—lost both of her parents by the age of 25. And while they were devastating losses, she has grown immensely from grieving those losses: “My grieving process has shown me how I want to present myself in this world. I was broken and down to nothing after losing my father and best friend, the one man who loved me unconditionally. But what a blessing that was! I have been able to build myself up from the bottom, truly embracing the traits I wanted and getting my life in the direction I wanted to go. I was finally pushed, or forced, to live my life instead of letting life happen to me. I became more choosey with my friends and who I spent my time with. I became more aware of my worth.”
Susan Youngsteadt—Family Center Treatment Therapist and Family Coach and Intake Supervisor—explains this profound impact of grief on memory. “If someone has lost a loved one, memories about that loved one or emotions surrounding the loved one, can consume one’s thoughts, impacting the ability for someone to take in new information,” she says. “Grief is also draining on the human body. When an individual is grieving and mourning, a lot of energy is being used towards these feelings and emotions, leaving limited energy for taking in new information or remembering items unrelated to the grief.”
Susan Youngsteadt—Family Centered Treatment Therapist and Family Coach and Intake Supervisor—understands the detrimental effects of loss and grief, as she’s experienced them herself, but she also understands how important it is to take extra good care of yourself during this time:
“From personally losing both of my parents, I experienced significant weight loss. My body spent so much time and energy ruminating over the loss and feeling empty, that I simply was not hungry. Hunger became a secondary need for my body,” she explains. “I would find myself sitting alone for hours on the floor, not realizing I hadn’t eaten all day.” Fortunately, she had some good friends who helped her through and she was able to recognize her needs, as well. “In order to eat, my friends would cook meals or take me out to eat, which helped tremendously. Listening to what your body needs will help you move through the grieving process. Getting good sleep and eating healthy foods (no processed or fast food) are key,” she says.