I'm Not Alone But I Feel Alone
I was thinking about loneliness the other day.
I have an amazing family, a wonderful network of friends, and an incredibly supportive treatment team. Yet still, I find myself to be lonely.
It has nothing to do with living alone. I really love living by myself and being independent, and I wouldn’t swap my living situation for anything.
It has nothing to do with not socializing. I socialize all day long at work and always make a point to see my friends and family on the weekend.
It has nothing to do with being single, either. I am at the point where being in a committed relationship would be nice, but I am also okay with the fact that I need to work on myself a little bit first before I can be available for a romantic partner.
Rather, this feeling of loneliness has everything to do with the eating disorder.
Being in an intensive treatment setting is not fun. For some, it is reassuring to a be in a place where all of our needs are met on a continual basis. But for me, my anxiety in recent years has left treatment centres feeling anything but comforting. However, there is something to be said about living in a place where people GET you.
I was crying to my mom on the phone a couple of days ago because I felt so lonely. No one in my life at the moment understands how I’m feeling, or gets the Hell that I’m going through every day. People try, and I want to acknowledge that my loved ones have made it VERY clear to me that they will always be there to support me. I had my mom tell me that she would literally do “anything” to help me at this point.
But try as they might, my friends and family don’t get it. My treatment team doesn’t get it. At least not fully. And that can make one feel pretty damn lonely.
Ultimately, I’m the one who has to deal with my own sh*t. People can help me pick up the pieces, but for now, I feel as though I am crumbling under the pressure of recovery without any supports to prevent me from crumbling in the first place.
I’m the furthest thing from being alone in this recovery process. Yet still, this illness is incredibly isolating and lonely. Managing my everyday life on a day to day basis without being surrounded by those who “get it” is getting tough. But that’s life, I suppose. That’s recovery. Managing your own demons and temptations and voices telling you to restrict or weigh yourself or purge or exercise.
Just to be clear, I am not condemning anyone for a lack of trying. If anything, you are all going above and beyond your duties as a friend/family member/therapist. But what makes eating disorders so difficult is that I am the one in charge of putting food in my mouth. I have to make the decision to eat every single day. I have to make the decision to rest and resist weighing myself and resist calorie counting. It’s me against my thoughts.
I wish I wasn’t so lonely. But I guess the only way to feel “less lonely” is to continue to fight the eating disorder thoughts and continue to immerse myself in the life events that really matter.
So, thank you for being patient with me. One thing is for sure - I have amazing people in my life, and that includes every single one of my readers. I hope I have it in me to continue to fight because I know I would be better off without the critical voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough.
Wishing you all a great week. If you’re fighting that fight, regardless of what it might be, I’m sending you all the spare strength I have. It may not be much, but anything is better than nothing! xx