Are you a male with an eating disorder who feels very alone in your disease as if you are the only male who has an eating disorder? Does the secret of your eating disorder keep you from connecting with others in an authentic way?
Or perhaps, you are a parent who feels very alone, overwhelmed, and helpless as you try to help your loved one. To protect the privacy of the person with the eating disorder, do you keep his secret? You may justify not talking about his eating disorder, because you believe people wouldn’t understand it any ways and its embarrassing to talk about.
Eating disorders affect both females and males, so it is a misconception to think eating disorders are a “female” disease. Furthermore, both straight and gay men get eating disorders. Eating disorders do not discriminate! As a boy or man with
an eating disorder, you are not alone. An estimated 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male and an
estimated 25% of those with anorexia and bulimia are male.
Feeling alone and ashamed only makes us sink deeper into depression and our disorder and further distances us from our relationships. At these times it is difficult to reach out for help or accept help. It is important to talk to someone who you trust about your problems rather than bottling them up inside. Start with a therapist and later reach out to close family and/or friends who can support you in your recovery.
But, learning to share ourselves goes far beyond disclosing about our eating disorder. As people in recovery from an eating disorder, we have to learn how to reconnect with people in a new way as our self-esteem grows and we set aside our rules with food. Socializing, sharing, connecting with others will take our sense of isolation and aloneness away.
Group therapy helps people in recovery in various ways. Participants can express their feelings in a safe environment and healthy context, get support and feedback, and also have the opportunity to help others in the same way. Group therapy helps give participants skills on how to interact with one another. It is as much about finding solutions as process.
In conclusion, it is important to reach out to someone you trust, such as therapist, to express your problems and get feedback and support. When your dealing with something as complex and serious as an eating disorder, it is important for you to seek
treatment from an eating disorder specialist who can help move you through your recovery process.
- Why do you feel isolated or alone?
- What can you do to feel less alone?
- Name one thing you might try to do to feel more connected with others?
The author of this article, Chris Clark is the Executive
Director of The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders
(N.A.M.E.D.). N.A.M.E.D. offers support
to males with eating disorders in recovery and their families and is a resource
of information on the subject.