It’s common for people who struggle with food to struggle with being alone.
“I’ll take anything to distract me from being alone – food, wine, scrolling, texting my ex…” – my client is both sad and frustrated as she shares this.
You are fine at work when external demands consume your attention, or at home when you are doing one task after the next, but the moment you are by yourself – you find it incredibly challenging.
Your own company is both not enough, and too much.
One person may struggle because their inner world is overwhelmed by sensations and emotions they are afraid of facing on their own, so they will do anything to silence the signals that come from the body.
For another, being idle, with nothing to occupy “the doer”, dark thoughts of worry, dread, or shame and criticism flood the mind.
The very state of being alone may be a reminder of a time you had to face the energies of anger, grief, shame or disappointment on your own, feeling that there is no one to come to your rescue, no one to comfort you and support you.
“When everything is done – kids are in bed, laundry is folded, my computer is closed…my feet take me to the fridge and the next thing I know I am at the bottom of a tub of ice-cream. I just don’t get it!” – another student shares, letting me in on her out of body experience with being alone.
You may live alone and long for a partner, or you may be partnered, and feel utterly alone. I work both with people who are single and feel deeply connected, and people who’ve been married for decades and are devastated by isolation.
The experience of being alone and feeling alone itself tells a story – from everything I shared above to our history of literally being alone when we got hurt, injured, endured medical procedures or accidents, or suffered neglect, abandonment and rejection in our early life.
There are as many paths to the fear of being alone as there are people – and the longing to be connected, feel safe, held, seen, cared for, nurtured, understood and supported – is etched deep into our human hearts and biology.
I wanted to share a beautiful poem by Pádraig Ó Tuama, visualized in a short and touching movie by Leo Franchi.
May these words be a reminder for you to find ways to listen to the community of cells inside of you.
And as you listen may you hear the interesting conversation inside of you and remember, as the poet reminds us: that you belong here!