Eating Disorders

Loneliness and Eating Disorder Recovery

You are not alone in this battle – no matter how badly your eating disorder wants you to believe you are.

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Originally published October 6, 2010. Updated June 6, 2024.

Content Warning: loneliness, eating disorders

I’ve been there. I’ve felt those feelings of loneliness. Those feelings that I am the only one, that nobody understands me, that nobody understands my eating disorder. I know what it’s like.

But I am here to tell you that you are not alone.

See, the thing about eating disorders is that they want us to feel like we are alone; that is why they feed us all of these lies.

That is why they fill us with feelings of shame and guilt and ideas that nobody understands, or cares, or wants to listen.

I remember thinking that because I didn’t fall into any specific “category” or diagnosis (I bounced between anorexia, anorexia athletica, disordered eating, bulimia, binge eating…you get the picture), others who struggled with some form of eating disorder would not understand my ‘unique case’.

I also felt like I couldn’t talk about my struggles with anyone because they wouldn’t understand me or my eating disorder.

This was true to a point; they probably wouldn’t ever FULLY understand what I was going through, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t care. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be willing to listen.

Sometimes, having someone listen to us is all that we need.

People Can Relate

One thing I have learnt through the process of recovery is that although not everyone struggles with an eating disorder or disordered eating, that doesn’t mean they cannot relate to certain aspects of what I’m going through.

Everyone experiences pain, insecurity, depression, loss, and anxiety at some point.

Even if it is not regarding body image or food, they can still relate to inner battles. They can still relate to that inner voice that tells us we aren’t good enough, that we can’t (and even don’t want to) recover, and that makes us feel unbeautiful.

We all experience brokenness at some point. We can all relate.

This is why we are not alone.

What if People Don’t Understand?

Now, maybe you have friends that you have been able to talk to about your eating disorder, but for some reason, you still feel like you are not understood.

Maybe they can relate to the feelings you are having, but they struggle to understand what makes a person engage in eating disorder behaviours as a response to these emotions.

Maybe your feelings of loneliness aren’t about being alone in the literal sense; maybe they’re about feeling alone in your eating disorder because it feels like nobody understands.

Maybe your family tells you, “Just eat!” or your friends respond simply by saying, “But you’re not fat…” They don’t get it, I understand that.

But let me tell you that there are people who do. There are people who understand that it’s about so much more than a number on a scale or simply eating.

There are people who get that. I am here right now telling you that I get it.

The Importance of Trying

This is what I need you to understand: you are not alone in this.

You are not alone in this battle – no matter how badly your eating disorder wants you to believe you are.

But let’s get practical for a minute. We all know that things generally don’t simply fall into our laps—we have to put ourselves out there.

So, instead of assuming someone won’t understand, start by trying.

Talk to them. See if they understand; give them a chance! Try to find commonality.

If it doesn’t work with one person, try someone else—a counsellor, teacher, cousin, or anyone else who feels safe. Just keep trying.

You never know who is going to understand; you never know who is going to change your life.

We are not alone in this.

You are not alone in this.

Reach out.

You never know who may be waiting for you to do just that.

Team and Contributors | Libero Magazine 5
Lauren Bersaglio

Lauren is the Founder of Libero Magazine. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now, Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate for mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing cozy video games, and taking selfies with her 65lb goldendoodle, Zoey.

SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in any content on our site, social media, or YouTube channel may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We are not liable for any harm incurred from viewing our content. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.


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