If you struggle with feeling lonely and disconnected at times, you are definitely not alone.
As a society, we have grown increasingly disconnected. Regardless of the reason, more people are reporting feeling lonely. However, while loneliness is on the rise-it feels like no one is talking about it. This can perpetuate feelings of isolation and shame.
It’s important to note that you can be married, in a relationship, or surrounded by people-and still feel lonely and disconnected.
Feelings of loneliness can have a significant on mental and physical health. In fact, one study found that lacking social connections can be as damaging as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
When people feel lonely, they also might turn to things to try to numb out from their feelings, such as food, compulsive exercise, restricting food, sex, workaholism, drugs, or alcohol.
While these things might provide temporary feelings of “comfort,” they often lead to feelings of higher anxiety and increased isolation in the long-term.
Eating Disorders and Loneliness
For people with the underlying genetics, their eating disorder might serve as a way to cope with feelings of loneliness and not feeling “good enough.”
For many people struggling with binge eating disorder, compulsive over-eating, or bulimia, they describe a feeling that “food is my main friend or comfort.” They often report feeling a sense of emptiness, and food becomes the way that they temporarily numb out from their emotions.
As they fill themselves up with food, they feel a temporary sense of “comfort” and “calm.” However, after a binge episode they typically feel shame and guilt.
For people suffering from a restrictive eating disorder like anorexia, they often report feeling a sense of calm through depriving themselves of food. Their eating disorder may tell them that they are “in control” and better than other people. However, they often find that their anxiety and list of “food rules” is…