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Navigating Loneliness in Eating Disorder Recovery

By: Gabby Morreale M.A. LPC. C-DBT.

Navigating Loneliness during Eating Disorder Recovery - white flowers on pink background

I don’t know about all of you but does this winter feel like the longest one to date? I am so ready for some consistent sunshine and long summer nights. Who’s with me? In the world of recovery, the long laborious winters make me think about one heavy feeling…the feeling of loneliness. How do you deal with loneliness? Personally, for years I ran from loneliness, from all my feelings, but that’s a story for another blog. 

Loneliness often comes with it's friends, depression, sadness, gloom, etc. If you’ve been feeling any of these emotions, it’s ok. Please know you’re not alone. Also, there are ways to cope, and I hope this blog helps you.

What is Loneliness?

First, let’s define loneliness. Loneliness can be described as the isolation or withdraw from others. It can also be described as deep sorrow due to lack of connection. Deep sorrow - Wow, do I relate to that! Many times, in the thick of my eating disorder, my infertility journey, and other times throughout my life, I truly felt deep sorrow. After the loss of my daughter in 2022 and most recently living somewhere I hate that, loneliness and those feelings of heavy sadness have plagued me. During this season I have found 3 main things to be helpful, and I hope you find them helpful too!

Ways to Deal with Loneliness

Feel your feelings

I’m sure I have shared this tip before but all feelings even loneliness are welcome. Of course, none of us want to be lonely but when we can call it out then the healing can begin. It's okay to feel lonely; it's a natural human emotion. Recognizing and naming your emotions can help us to hold space for them instead of using our eating disorder to numb our feelings. 

One thing I often work on and work with clients on is not allowing ourselves to be consumed by emotions. This allows us to embrace all our emotions and not fear them. This allows us to build distress tolerance and by doing this we call it out we sit with it and we do our best to continue to function and take care of ourselves despite how we are feeling. Sometimes we have to sit in the suck, as I often say to clients, and trust that it will be ok. Easier said than done…sure and it can be incredibly healing. 

Put yourself out there

Getting involved and finding community is important. There is healing in community. Grant it not everyone is meant to be best friends and that’s ok! Be realistic in your expectations of social interactions and relationships. Understand that not every interaction will lead to deep connections, and that's okay. What I often tell clients and myself is first find your tribe. Your humans, the ones who no matter love you and make you feel like your best self. Those who see you at your worst and love you anyways. 

After you find your tribe, branch out. Putting yourself out there is brave and is a great way to combat loneliness. I will admit this is something I struggle with. However, I will share, when I am able, I can say it almost always decreases my feelings of loneliness. If you can, try to focus on enjoying the process of connecting with others without placing undue pressure on yourself or others. Eating disorders tends to make us want to isolate which can lead to loneliness and keep us stuck in our disorder. Therefore, the more community, the better. 

group of girl friends laughing

Practice Self-Compassion

My favorite tool to teach clients is self compassion. Self compassion can be a powerful tool in recovery. Possibly the most powerful tool. Be kind to yourself when you're feeling lonely. Beating yourself up often leads to further isolation. Treat yourself with the same empathy and understanding that you would offer to a friend in need. Practice self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Also, if you are struggling with self compassion check out our blog by the amazing Hannah De Groot and an awesome podcast by the Reclaim therapy team

Coping with loneliness in eating disorder recovery requires patience, self-compassion, and the cultivation of supportive connections. You can navigate through feelings of loneliness with resilience and emerge stronger on the path to healing. As we always say healing is possible! Also, remember that you are not alone in your journey, and support is available every step of the way.

Other Mental Health Services Offered in PA, NJ, DE, SC, and FL

We offer a wide variety of services related to eating disorder recovery including trauma therapy!  We offer Support Groups, Nutrition Services, and Family and Parent Therapy, as well as Maternal Mental Health Services, all tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. We offer our services for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Orthorexia online in New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and Florida! We are here to offer our support and understanding in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

We have immediate openings right now for eating disorder therapy in:

Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

And recovery coaching worldwide.

Recovered and Restored is an eating disorder therapy center founded by Gabrielle Morreale. We specialize in helping teens and young women heal from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and binge eating disorder and treat disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We provide eating disorder therapy in the towns of Horsham, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, Doylestown, and nearby towns with eating disorder therapy. Also providing virtual eating disorder therapy in New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Some towns served virtually but are not limited to Pittsburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Center City, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Mount Laurel, Cape May, Avalon, Brick, Dover, New Castle, Bethany Beach, Marydel, and Oceanview


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