I agree with the above responses in that you have been really brave in reaching out for help. Some of our most basic needs as humans are to feel love and emotional connection and when these needs are met it contributes to us feeling lovable and worthy. Wanting to connect is human, there is nothing wrong in feeling like this and it makes sense that feeling lonely has really impacted on you.
When we feel lonely, it is the painful awareness that we don’t feel connected, and it is often accompanied by feelings of emptiness, disconnection, sadness, resentment or anxiety. In many ways being aware that you have been feeling like this is helpful in that it signals that it is time to make changes, to begin the process of developing connection in your life, with your self, others and the environment.
It is important to remember that the feeling of loneliness comes and goes, and that just because you feel lonely there is no need to define yourself by it. Eating seems to have become a way for you to “get rid” of your feelings and give you comfort which might help you in the short term, however in the long term maintains unpleasant feelings and does not solve the issues you are facing. You would benefit from techniques to learn how to cope and accept your emotions with acceptance, kindness and compassion.
Working with an experienced therapist might also help you to understand your ways of relating to others and determine if there are any unhelpful patterns that are impacting on your ability to connect. Awareness can empower you to make helpful changes to build stronger and more fulfilling connections with other people.
Some constructive ways to respond to your loneliness and to connect might be:
- Connect with yourself through mindfulness, self-care, engaging in pleasurable and relaxing activity, starting a hobby or exercising
- Connect with other people through involving yourself in group activity; let others know that you are interested in meeting up for a walk, lunch or dinner; smile, nod and say hello to strangers; volunteer; reconnect with old friends or family; attend a community event; play with a pet
- Connect with the environment through taking a walk in the park, browse through a museum or art gallery, swimming etc
An experienced therapist would be able to help you explore these issues and I would be happy to discuss this with you further.
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