Some of the worst and most uncomfortable situations we find ourselves in as binge eaters, are those that are placed in a social setting. We find ourselves dredged with so much internal pain, that often enough a good time with pals seems to cause more anxiety than excitement. We make up excuses why we can’t attend, bail last minute with “the flu”, or simply do attend with the hopes that we can self soothe via enough booze and/or food to ease the internal pressures. Basically, BED causes us to become pretty good avoiders, in mind and body. Not only have we become good mental escape artists, but we’ve also become pretty good Houdinis when some social event rolls into town.
There are several components to the “internal struggle” of placing ourselves in a social function. Mine was mostly body image and self-confidence. You could usually find me before an event stamping my feet (yes, stamping) on the verge of tears complaining to my spouse that I had nothing to wear. Truth be told, I had plenty of articles of clothing to produce an outfit well worth the occasion. What I didn’t have however, was the positive self-image to face my peers. I had gained weight and whether it was noticeable or not, I felt so uncomfortable. Bottom line here was I felt so gross that no matter what I pieced together on the outside it wouldn’t mask the truth about the sad, depressed, lonely binge eating me on the inside.
When feeling so darn down about ourselves we tend to retract to our protective cocoon. We have this need to stay wrapped tightly in our own environment and not face the outside world. The problem becomes when we frequently bail on friends time and time again our social lives tank and we become antisocial hermits. Our forced anti-socialism causes us to become bitterly lonely, leading us to the darkest of places that yuckiest of creatures are found. It is all about surrounding yourself with people that will make you a better person; surprisingly enough they could be the least likely suspects. If you truly feel your current social group really is dragging you down, than change it. Allow yourself to spread those wings and explore new, healthy social environments and people. The important thing to always remember is to never let yourself fly solo for too long.
We need to face the fact that we are human and we are a species that thrives on integrations with other people. When we mess with those integrations we tend to be left feeling worse than before. As part of our recovery, if we can learn to look past the moments of fear that arises from having to approach your super-great looking group of non-bed friends, than that’s the first step. We need to focus on the fact that our avoidances only hurt us more than they help. We need to find our inner strength and fly on it to become better mentally and physically.