Eating Disorders and Intimacy

Eating Disorders and Intimacy

Eating Disorders and Intimacy: Curing an Eating Disorder As a therapist, I often hear about the shame and secrecy surrounding eating disorders. Usually clients experience this pain behind locked doors, in their bedrooms and bathrooms, separate from the rest of the world. There is a fear that many clients have of feeling utterly alone whilst simultaneously thinking that no one could possibly love them if they were “found out.” Isolation feeds eating disorders. Connection feeds recovery. This begins by allowing eating disorders and intimacy to go hand-in-hand, and through this process the “cure” will naturally unfold. In my client work, I have seen two primary barriers to intimacy, which can block us from our inherent desire to connect. This causes us to feel alone, separate, and desperate. Here are some ideas to overcome these barriers to eating disorders and intimacy: Intimacy Requires Being Vulnerable: In order to feel connected to others, we have to reveal truths about ourselves, even the ones we don’t like to share. If I only share the positive aspects of myself with someone, then I am robbing them of actually knowing me. We are made up of good and bad, light and dark, and everything in between. How can we truly feel loved if we only share certain parts of ourselves? Many clients think that there is no possible way they will be loved or accepted if they share their deepest, darkest secrets. Although I think everyone has the right to keep things secret or decide when and where they want to reveal more about themselves, I also believe that true love and acceptance comes from an appreciation or understanding of...
Eating Disorders and Valentine’s Day Sadness

Eating Disorders and Valentine’s Day Sadness

February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day – which has been celebrated as a day of romance for many years. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making this the second most popular card-sending day after Christmas (Source: History.com). And then there are all the flowers, jewelry and other gifts – and of course, chocolates in a heart-shaped box. If you are currently in a relationship with a “significant other,” then this time of year may be very special to you. However, if you have recently gone through a breakup – or, if you have been single for a while – then you might think of St. Valentine’s Day as “St. Sadness Day.” If your eating disorder (ED) seems like the only relationship you have, and you’re tempted to binge on those chocolates (or engage in other ED behaviors) – consider these strategies instead: Name Your Feelings: You may notice a sense of discomfort, or an awareness of low energy levels – see if you can get more specific, and identify the actual feelings you are experiencing. Sadness? Loneliness? Grief? Depression? Explore WHY You Have These Feelings: Perhaps you feel sad because you know that no one is going to buy you a romantic card or give you flowers. You might feel lonely, because you realize that you don’t have anyone to spend this “special day” with. Maybe you are thinking about previous years, when you were in a relationship – and you are grieving the loss of this relationship. You might even feel depressed, because you wonder if you will ever find that “special someone” to share your life with. Although these...