By Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LSCW-C
In my opinion, connection is one of the main reasons that we are here.
We are hard-wired to want to connect with others, as back in the day our survival often hinged on traveling in groups. Plus, as infants we relied on our caregivers in order to get our basic needs met.
Connection, relationships, and a sense of belonging, are natural and hard-wired human needs.
My Eating Disorder Days
When I was struggling with an eating disorder, I had other relationships. I had a boyfriend, friends, and family members who I spent time with.
The problem was, I wasn’t 100 percent there. And as my illness progressed-I wasn’t even 50% present in my relationships.
Out to dinner with my boyfriend, my mind was racing about calories, fat content, and anxiety about gaining weight. I couldn’t tell you conversations that we had or even ‘fun’ memories that were made because they were all so colored by the misery that is living with an eating disorder.
My brain was consumed with constant thoughts of food, weight, exercise, and my body-there wasn't room for much else.
Eventually, spending time with people became less frequent. People often wanted to get together around food and not feeling ‘in control’ of what would be served (by putting my safe foods together myself) threw me into a panic.
My eating disorder began to isolate me from other people, while at the same time promising that it was my ‘friend’ and would provide me ‘comfort.’
Sure, it gave me a false sense of security in the short term-but in the long term it made me increasingly anxious, depressed, and isolated.
One of the many devastating things about eating disorders is that they can cause increased disconnection and isolation.
My Relationships Now
This past year or so has been a tough year when it comes to connection. The pandemic and social isolation has been tough for many-and I definitely missed the in-person connection.
That being sad, my relationships are completely different now because I am actually able to be present for them.
I have wonderful memories of trips that I’ve gone on with my fiancé, lunches and dinners with friends, and quality time spent with family.
I have so much more brain space, my memories are no longer tainted by an eating disorder, and I am able to be much more present in my relationships.
1.What qualities are important to you in a relationship i.e. friendship/significant other etc?
2.Think of one person in your life (past or present) who you are grateful for. Explain why.
3.Thinking about the relationships in your life-do you long to have more relationships or deeper relationships? If so, how might that benefit you?
4.If you are in recovery, does your eating disorder impact your relationships? How so?
5.Think of 2 people who you could reach out to and connect with and make a plan to do so within the next week (a text asking them how they are doing counts!)
6.Think of 1 recovery goal that you could set, which could have the side benefit of improving your relationships i.e. challenging yourself. to go to lunch with a friend.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center founded by Jennifer Rollin. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, OSFED, and body image issues. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We also provide eating disorder therapy in Arlington, Virginia and virtually throughout Virginia. Additionally, we offer eating disorder therapy virtually in New York (NYC), Florida, Pennsylvania, and California, serving those in cities including Palo Alto, San Francisco, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, San Jose, and Beverly Hills. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
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The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.