Intentional Isolation

by tessa8m on March 5, 2012

in Serious Stuff

Good Morning!

So I had a very nice weekend home and did all of the usual activities that add some delight into my life- baked, cooked, shopped for food and clothes, worked out, went for walks with Mumzy and whatever else tickled my fancy! I had managed to get a majority of my homework done before venturing home, so at least that was not on my mind and I was able to enjoy myself even more.

Oh and Ma and I saw the Descendents on Friday night… tear-jerker, but a great story nonetheless, I recommend it! Plus you get to see this piece of work throughout the movie,

Hehe. No but in all seriousness, it was a compelling movie, and now I want to read the book!

I wish I could say that I had a “care-free” weekend, but something was continuously on my mind, thoughts that were stubborn and relentless.. making their presence known and waiting to be explored. I love going home- seeing my mom, sleeping in my own bed, showering without shoes, being in my hometown- but I also left school because well, I just didn’t feel like being here.

To any outside observer, this is a pretty odd move for me to make. I mean I am 22 years old, currently in my last semester of college, am physically healthy, single, and don’t have any major assignments to do. So why in the heck would I leave school for an entire weekend, especially with spring break so soon!? Shouldn’t I be “making the most” of my time at college and youth by hanging out with friends, partying, going on adventures and overall just being social?!

Well yes, that is the “normal” thing to be doing, and makes sense of course. Who wouldn’t want to spend their free time with other people- making memories, going out to eat, drinking, dancing, playing… all together?

Me, that’s who.

I honestly was not planning on talking about this for a long time… but readers did express interest in hearing my thoughts on it, and yeah, it’s time. I will preface this by saying this is a wordy post but one where I simply MUST get my personal ideas out. I apologize if it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but get ready for word vomit at it’s finest.

Intentional isolation. The compulsive need to be alone. Anti-social? Maybe. These are all phrases to describe my current mental and physical status when it comes to being around others. I simply do not want to, but what is very confusing and difficult for me is to understand WHY this is the case.

Goodness my mind is all over the place right now… where to begin?

I would say that about hmm I don’t know, 95% of the time I am by myself.

  • I workout or run in the morning- alone
  • Eat breakfast- alone
  • Walk to class- alone
  • Eat lunch- alone
  • Go food shopping/run errands- alone
  • Eating dinner- alone
  • Spend most weekends unless I get myself out there to hang out with others- alone

It’s not that I am spending my time ALONE in my room or anything that extreme. I am continuously out and about- around campus, in town, finding new places to study/read, driving my car somewhere far for a new adventure of some sort. But almost CONSTANTLY I am alone.

Okay I think you get it…. no wonder I don’t really have friends.

An ideal way to spend a Saturday would be as follows (all by myself mind you)- wake up early, put my laundry in, eat breakfast, workout, come back to my room to shower, clean, refuel with a snack, get some homework done, go to lunch, drive to Barnes and Noble and spend a few hours there, come back, eat dinner in my room, go to bed early. ALONE.

This does not seem “normal” to me. However, if I am perfectly happy with a day like this (alone), is this an “okay” way to spend my day? At the same time though, is this REALLY want I want to be doing with my time? How much of this has to do with the eating disorder and how much is it ME, the real Tessa? What does that really even mean…

Gah I am asking so many questions, but I have to. I am just so confused.

I didn’t used to be like this. In fact, my Junior and Senior year of high school are filled with fantastic memories and remain to be the most “fun” times of my life thus far. You can read about it here if you would like… I don’t want to repeat myself on a post already lengthy post.

Slowly but surely I lost everyone when the disorder hit. When I started to care more about my physical appearance, my weight, how much and what KIND of food I was eating, my weight, pant size… my priorities were corrupted by the illness. Friends pulled away and I didn’t care because I had everything “set.” I was losing weight and feeling fantastic. Who cares that I was missing out on everything and anything FUN? At least I knew how to diet, lose a jean size and eat healthy.

Of course I understand now that (at least part of) the reason for my relentless sadness during that time, these past few years and to this day, is because of the eating disorder.

I know this. You know this. Anyone that has had or is currently dealing with this knows (at least to some extent) that an eating disorder really kicks your ass in every way possible. It’s just NOT GOOD no matter what way you look at it.

I KNOW that when I was with people all of the time that I loved my life. I also KNOW that when I do force my butt out the door to hang with others, I at least have a good time. I mean it’s never “horrible” and I don’t regret the times I do go out. And yet, I prefer to be alone.

So where is this coming from now, what is causing it, and is the intentional isolation REALLY something I want?

Some of this stems from my childhood, the transition time from fourth to fifth grade- elementary to middle school. I had an amazingly awesome best friend who I did everything with- played after school, sat together in classes, had sleepovers, endless play dates and so on. And then the summer before fifth grade when we went to the same camp together, I was suddenly just not cool enough and I was dumped like a sack of potatoes.

For whatever reason, I have been rejected or eventually ignored by several men out there. Sure they may have their own stuff going on, but I can’t help but think, what am I doing wrong? What is so just so darn offensive about me? What annoying tendencies am I doing that they just do not want to me around me?

And then I can’t help but repeat these questions in my mind and relate them back to the loss of friends from high school and recent rejections in the past few years. I MUST be doing something just so incredibly awful. What is it though?

I have reached a point where I am VERY honest with myself and truthful about my own flaws. I now understand that I lost that huge group of friends in high school because I was pushing them away during the eating disorder. When it comes to men, well some of them could “just not be that into me.” And most importantly, people are only going to ask you so many times to hang out and will give up if you keep declining their invitations.

At the same time though, my social life growing up has impacted me and the whole isolation thing. I mean here I am attempting to articulate my thoughts on it.. something must be nagging me.

I have been hurt so many damn times in my life… why the hell would I want to bother meeting others and risk getting hurt AGAIN?

I am very aware of the fact that FOOD, my body image, weight, etc, all continue to play a critical role in my daily decisions and choices. I mean duh.

When I am alone, I can eat what I want to, when I want to and without worrying about what people are going to say about what I choose to consume. For example, I know eating salad with ketchup is effing weird but I HATE when someone says something about it and I want to scream MYOBeeswax! <– That is part of the eating disorder and I know this.

Confession- I eat dinner alone in my room almost every.single.night. I like to it in front of the TV/computer, enjoy my perfectly prepared oatmeal with a few tablespoons of nut butter- calorie dense, nutritious, healthy. Physically it’s great for me, but I am isolating during dinner… I don’t feel like dealing with other at the end of the day during my dinner time. This meal provides me comfort and safety. It won’t make me “fat,” I know what is in it, and I don’t have anyone asking about my food. Yikes.

So I eat alone and I honestly enjoy it. But do I really or is it the sick Tessa!?

I have gotten so much better about going out and knowing it won’t kill me to have one “indulgent meal,” or a few drinks, skip my usual healthy dinner, and so on. In fact, I feel much more in control when I am with others and will actually eat and drink less in a social setting. I am not saying this is a good thing at all, but it is what it is.

When I actually make the effort to get my ass out the door and meet up with others, I have a good time and feel NORMAL! And yet my mood picks up when I know I can escape from the people I am with and do my own thing.

So now I can’t help but go back to the question I keep asking, what the hell is my problem? WHY don’t I want to be around people? And how much does this have to do with the disorder!?! I have written all of this nonsense and still I don’t know…

When I had those friends in high school, I was full-of-life, always up for an adventure, loved to eat (was at a semi-normal weight for the record) and was just a FUN person. The eating disorder stole away my former personality and I am became very withdrawn, sad, quiet, skeptical, uneasy, and critical as a result, characteristics that are still mine to this day. I am not nearly as bad I was over a year ago, but this obsessive illness has dramatically changed me.

Now I can’t help but think…. who would want to be friends with someone like me? I feel like a constant BORE, a burden, so different and serious from everyone. Why would someone desire to be around me? While I recognize that those thoughts are irrational, they still play a part into my daily decisions to be with people… and I make the choice to be alone.

I am no longer the person that is…

  • Spontaneous
  • Up for anything
  • Conscious of my weight, but it does not play into my daily decisions
  • Eats pretty much whatever and whenever because I know in the long run it doesn’t really matter
  • Going out more often than not
  • Laughing and smiling all of the time
  • I am no longer the person that is full of life….

As I said before, this illness has changed me in every single possible way. So who I am now, is this REALLY ME or is it the eating disorder? Do I genuinely like to spend my days alone or is it just easier than having to pretend to be someone I am not?

On the rare times I spend time with people literally all day long for work, school, etc (I am not talking about family), I feel… for a lack of a better term.. weird after the several long hours. It’s as if I am disconnected from my true self and I am pretending to be joyous, quirky, witty and funnybut is that all pretend? I mean it can’t all be… RIGHT? Part of the “old” me still has to be there, or is this “me” now? I don’t know if it can if I am feeling so odd by the end of the day!

Almost disconnected from reality? You are probably wondering what in the hell am I even talking about right now. I am wondering a bit too. Clearly I am confused on my true personality, and what is a result of the eating disorder and well, who the “REAL ME” is.

Someone that is happy, silly, and funny is a whole lot more fun and pleasant to be around then the opposite side of the spectrum. Currently I feel I am that latter individual and that I just don’t have much to offer. With that thinking in mind part of the reason I isolate myself is because I don’t have to worry about anyone seeing the “true” me, or the eating disorder Tessa, or the person that i have become.

I can be alone and be who I am right now, and not burden others and pretend to be someone that I am not. When I am alone, I can be, act, and do what I choose.

I have become someone that thrives off of my isolation, and is the most productive and clear thinker when alone. I know what I want and need to do and I don’t have to rely on or worry about others. I am independent, and need the time to be alone in order to function in my life.

But is this an okay thing and is it REALLY what I want and enjoy? I am not sure and I don’t believe I could have gone on rambling like this if I was perfectly fine with the way I behave and spend my time now. How much of a role does the eating disorder play into my daily life now… WHO AM I WITHOUT IT?

I don’t know the answer to that, or the numerous other questions I asked throughout this post.

I do know that something is still “off.” Heck, there is plenty that is “off” about me and deserves some attention. In fact, it needs attention, because if I plan on spending time intentionality isolating myself for the rest of my life, well then what will I be left with? Not much if you ask me… sure memories, accomplishments, obstacles will happen, but with no one to share them with, well what good are they?

Or is that okay?

I just do not know right now. That is the key phrase though, “right now” and I am continuously working hard and making the effort to answer all of these questions.

PHEW. Lengthy.

-Can anyone relate to my thoughts here… or understand them? I know I was all over the place…

-Do you tend to thrive off of being around others or when you are on your own?

-If you prefer to be alone, how do you balance that with family and friends? Do you carve out time for yourself in the day? That is what you must do, but for me it’s that I want to spend 24 hours for myself. Not good.

-Do you think your personality has changed over the years? If so, has that been “okay” with people or have you made new friends and acquaintances?

-If you suffer from an ED or any mental illness for that matter, how do you separate what the disease wants and what YOU want?

-Do you ever feel that you don’t really have much to offer? I know that is incredibly depressing, but I often feel that my interests are so “boring,” and who would want to spend time with someone like me… Yes, there is some self-wallowing going on there.

-This was a rather wordy post and if you don’t feel like answering any of the questions, that is totes fine… tell me about your weekend instead :D

-Has anyone seen the Descendents, what did you think?

Thank you for listening to my rambles and have a fantastic rest of your Monday!

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{ 173 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lyn @ FueledBySalad March 5, 2012 at 4:29 am

Seriously, you are so brave for writing out this post. I find solitude really important, and I love being alone – I’m not ashamed of this fact, although it’s weird. I love being with friends and being surrounded by people too, but sometimes it can get too much. Recently it’s been better though; regarding the ‘having stuff to offer’ thing, making new friends means that I have lots more stuff to talk about with them! :D
Lyn @ FueledBySalad recently posted..Productive Sunday!

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2 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

That is true and I am glad you have gotten better about this Lyn!

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3 elle March 5, 2012 at 5:22 am

I honestly cannot tell you how much I understand what you’re going through — I think I’m about two years ahead of you in the recovery process, and all I can say is that YOU WILL BECOME YOUR OLD SELF AGAIN IF YOU KEEP EATING AND TRYING TO NORMALIZE YOUR BEHAVIOR! it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen and one day it will dawn on you that you are your old self. socializing yourself after anorexia is TOTALLY hard, and you are not alone in that. do not be so hard on yourself — you can’t overcome anorexia overnight, and being social for me was one of the last things to improve because my behaviors had to be normal first and my ED thoughts had to calm down before I had brain space for other people. As long as you keep trucking in recovery and let go a little, socializing will come back naturally. You were spontaneous and fun before your ED, and you will be that way again. Wanting to be alone (ALL the time — sometimes alone is wonderful) is part of your ED and I completely understand where you’re at. Trust the process; trust yourself; know that you’re doing the right thing and pat yourself on the back for being so far along in recovery! Start making small goals like promising you’ll do ONE social meal a week. It will become easier the more you try. The longer you put it off, the harder it will be. Don’t wait to try something difficult until you find it easy — it will only become easy once you tough it out a couple times!

YOURE AMAZING. KEEP IT UP!

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4 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hi Elle,
Wow THANK YOU for this! It is beyond helpful to hear that I will get through this… well that is if I keep making the effort too! I mean it won’t if I just sit back and let myself fall back into old habits… duh! I am thrilled that you were able to overcome this and have come out so full of life on the other side. Seriously, I appreciate this!!

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5 Khushboo Thadani March 5, 2012 at 5:29 am

One of the reasons why I look forward to your posts is because to some degree, I can always relate. I can recall several times where I have made up an excuse to avoid eating ‘unhealthy’ food, or because I was worried whether I would have any options. It’s not a fun place to be in or a state of mind to foster, and I now refuse to base my decisions to go out on the food alone…eating out for me is more than just the food now- the social aspect definitely factors in! So hey, even if I may eat food which I don’t love/want to, at least I’m benefitting from the company! It’s a process Tess but the only way to get through it is to keep challenging yourself. Even if you’re worried you might be tired when the day comes, I challenge you to make plans with friends 3 evenings these week…at the end of the day, it’s only for a few hours so you’ll either have a great time, or the “misery” will end shortly!

That all being said, I equally think ‘me time’ is super important…we all need a bit of breathing space! This is one of the reasons why I love working out: my phone goes away and I just zone and concentrate on myself for the full session.
Khushboo Thadani recently posted..Carrot cake craving

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6 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

You are right… the key is to keep challenging myself. Gosh that is so hard and uncomfortable, but oh well, it must be done!

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7 Kate March 5, 2012 at 5:31 am

Never too lengthy Tessa! Your posts are always incredibly thought provoking and I forever find that you manage to put words to the crazy mess that is my head. I too struggle to distinguish between the real me and the eating disordered, anxious and depressed me (… and perhaps the new me?). I keep expecting (?hoping) to eventually revert back to the person I was before all this, but perhaps I am changed, and maybe even potentially (gosh, could I sound more tentative?!) for the better (greater empathy for instance).

I think it’s important not to be too hard on oneself (particularly in us individuals who are prone to perfectionism). It’s OK (read normal) to be slightly introverted, to need time alone in order think clearly, to feel worn out after a day surrounded by others. I think the instances where ED is mandating one’s isolation are not too difficult to identify (eg. the declining of a catch up with a friend because that’s meal time/exercise time/not meal time…). Figuring out how much flexibility/variance to the daily alone time the (semi-)recovered self can tolerate is another question. And whilst you may prefer “alone” time, keep in mind that a lot of your activities are spent with others around you (gym time, university, RA duties, class, job) so you are far from completely devoid of human interaction!! Mum and my psychologist have previously told me that such brief smiles or chats whilst going about your daily activities (eg. the quick chat with the check-out chick, smiling back at the old man you walk past in the street…) are equally important for one’s wellbeing. Should probably note at this point that I’m guilty of spending time alone in my room and skipping class (and every other social activity) when I’ve been through my lowest periods. Another thought… sometimes, I feel that my isolation is actually a reflection of my increasing independence as compared to high school days when you only ever did something because and when someone else was doing it. I actually found this was almost even more of a problem when I first moved away to university where people would do everything from gym sessions to dining hall dinner to laundry time only in the presence of company. I always felt like such an odd bod for valuing my independence and I was completely pre-ED (i.e. 100% healthy – wasn’t sure if that’s clear) at this stage.

Rambling way too much here, but just want to quickly say I relate to so much of what you write. Best friend becoming too cool for me overnight at age 13 – tick. Believing that I am boring – tick. Assuming that friends don’t contact me because they dislike the unfun person that I am – tick (um, ever considered that perhaps I could try contacting them?). Descendants a good film (but perhaps not as great as all the hype?) – tick :)

Ok, now I feel like I’ve been overly wordy, that other commentators will dislike me for doing so, and that perhaps the place for all this personal reflection is a blog of my own (we’ll see?!). Take care & I’m definitely also going to be working on finding a healthy balance of alone time and time with others xx

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8 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hi Kate!
What you first wrote really is something to think about… maybe we have both changed for the better? Maybe the new person we are becoming, when the ED is completely gone, is new and improved! Kate, thank you for mum and psychologists insight as well, it makes me feel a whole lot better to be honest! And you are right, I am definitely not devoid of human interaction, I am around people all of the time… just not directly. So yes, maybe this is okay? You were sooo not rambling here, such great thoughts and now you have me thinking! It is good that I am different than I was in high school… in fact i used to be a real bitch at times :(
No one dislikes you for your long comment, don’t be silly! :D

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9 Aliza March 5, 2012 at 5:44 am

again, I feel like I could have written this post, word by word.

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10 Alexandra March 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

Wow it’s like we’re connected at the brain!! I’m telling ya, after each major point, I was like THAT’S SO ME!! Before my ED, I did a ton of stuff alone since I’m an only child and had to find ways to entertain myself to prevent boredom when friends couldn’t come over. I’ve never been one of those chicks who have billions of friends either though, just one or two good ones. My one best friend turned to a life of drugs and sex senior year, so I felt abandoned I guess and the ED stepped in, isolating me even more. I miss being able to be spontaneous and wild too, but then again, I kinda enjoy my me time like you :) It can be relaxing to just be alone amidst some of the chaos in campus haha
Oh and for the record, even though I already consider you a friend, I think you and I would be hanging out 24/7 if we went to the same college, especialllllyyyy since you could introduce me to the world of trader joes up there mwahaha ;) Love ya girl and hope your week starts out great!!
Alexandra recently posted..False Alarm

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11 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I am sorry that happened with you and your friend Alex… not good at all :( And for the record, YES I do agree, we really would hang out together and have a glorious time! We both do like the isolation, but are kind nuts as well :D

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12 daybelis March 5, 2012 at 6:05 am

no rambling whatsoever tessa and actually I was just thinking about this last night so don’t feel as though you are the only one who feels this way. Since recovery, I have improved so much with socializing but its not something I have mastered yet. Like you, I have a hard time eating “my food ” while others are around because I expect them to judge me and say something. I acknowledge that this is weird and that it relates to my ed past but I just can’t ignore the thought. I love being alone when I workout, eat my meals etc but sometimes I feel like I wish I had someone there to share my time with. But like I said I am just so afraid of being judged and being rejected. I was thinking about how “boring” my teenage years have been because I devoted all my time to my ed and it hurts me because its time I can’t have again. I’ve never been on a date because I always rejected the invitation with a lame excuse when in reality I just wanted to stay home with my safe foods. Now though, my thoughts have changed alot. How can I ever find a boyfriend when I spend my time secluded in my home, I mean the boys aren’t going to show up in my backyard ( that would be cool lol), I have to get out there and meet people, do something different for once. Fortunately this weekend I did just that and took action.A guy I have had a crush for the longest time came over my house and we chatted, made plans and just had a really good time. I felt so proud and thought to myself how ridiculous I was for being scared. Tessa, you are a wonderful girl and believe me if you really get out there it will be raining men lol! You just have to let yourself go and let your true personality shine through. Leave the old Tessa behind because you are no longer the same person.The ed voice wants you to believe you are “odd” and wants you to be alone, away from others , that way it can be easier to enter your life again and we don’t want that at all. I appreciate your honesty and can’t put in words how much your blog has helped me throughout this difficult journey. Have a wonderful Monday!

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13 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Yes, the fear of judgement is such a hard one to overcome.. and trusting? Again, difficult to embrace and also to ignore. I am sooo glad you took a chance this past weekend though… ahh this makes me so happy for you :D Keep me updated!! I am trying to understand who I really am, and it’s going to take work to get to that point

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14 Daybelis martinez March 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm

:) you will

15 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance March 5, 2012 at 6:09 am

Gah, so honest & thought-provoking.

I used to struggle with this A LOT, but mine was actually reverse timing. From sophomore to junior year (when my body image issues were at their worst), I became completely self-reliant and independent, claiming that I didn’t really need to be around people. Senior year, Will and I began to date and it was actually pretty difficult for me to get used to having someone around. I don’t think it was a coincidence either that this was around the same time that I finally found comfort in my image and reached my “healthy” weight for my body.

Sometimes I think we want to be alone and away from others when we internally know that we have issues to deal with about ourselves. You are NOT alone, and as you grow and get further with your journey, I have a feeling that you will slowly find a social balance too.
Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance recently posted..Will Work For Froyo

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16 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm

That is just so amazing that Will was able to help you out so much. I am sure that and other aspects of your life allowed you to change for the better. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone

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17 Vien @ We Dare Food March 5, 2012 at 6:56 am

Gosh. This is a brilliant post! I can completely relate and understand what you’re going/went through! In a sense, this is me as well. My high school & college year (before my disorder thoughts began) was one of the best years I’ve ever had. I never said no to anything! Really!! I wanted to be at every event! But now, some things aren’t the same. I eat breakfast & dinner alone. I do my grocery shopping alone. I walk to classes alone as well. And part of me actually feels glad I’m doing so! I do try to make it a habit to have lunch with friends and dinner once in a while but otherwise, I’d gladly have my meals at home! I actually see this as a positive thing. I used to have a housemate and I certainly did not enjoy it! I want to come home and have the whole place to myself!! Selfish, I know ;) Another thing, I actually gotten closer to my family. In high school, friends were my priority but ed opened my eyes and made me realise that my parents and brother will be there no matter what but my friends won’t. In fact, my ‘social isolation’ actually gave me time to sort out my priorities and showed me who really cared or didn’t cared.
My social life has definitely improved (exponentially!) but I’m still working on the ‘eating-with-another-person’ part. Interestingly, I’m completely comfortable eating my brother!!
Vien @ We Dare Food recently posted..Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (Opening Weekend)

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18 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Well we are so similar with our histories on this! Thank you for your comment here because you showed me that the constant isolation really is not all that bad.. I mean look how much positivity came out for you! This is wonderful and I thank you for sharing it with me :)

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19 Meagan March 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

Hey Tessa! I definitely love my alone time too and can relate a lot to what you have said. I think for me, personally, the time of year that it is (almost graduation) has a lot to do with the isolation. I have moved so many times in my life (7) and am about to move again and I notice the same patterns every time. I don’t really want to deepen any friendships right now, or make any new friends either because I know that I am leaving in a couple of months and will have to start over then. I know it’s a really bad attitude to have but I just keep thinking “What’s the point?” of getting to know anyone now when I will just leave soon and never keep in touch with them anyways (I’m notoriously bad for not keeping in touch with people). One of my good friends reminded me this weekend though that God has placed me here, in this place, until MAY because He has plans for me and will use me until the very day that I leave. He can use me to impact someone’s life in 1 week, 1 day, 1 hour etc… He doesn’t need years. I love her perspective and am trying to keep it in mind even though my “What’s the point” attitude keeps trying to break through.

Sorry that got a little long but I guess I just wanted to point out that while this very well might be part of your ED, this also might be due to the fact that you are graduating soon. Once you start working you’ll be around people all of the time and I bet you’ll be just fine =)

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20 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Hi Meagan,

Goodness I didn’t know you moved so many times, how tough that must have been :( and continue to be! It make sense not to want ot make deep connections! What your friend said is pretty amazing though and I find myself agreeing with it. I will think about that this might have to do with the understanding that graduation is soon!

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21 Natasha March 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

I can’t totally relate to wanting to be alone! However, I have always been this way. While I do like being social the majority of the time, I always need alone time during the day – usually I eat breakfast by myself to get that alone time. although now I’m trying to branch out more and eat more meals with people because it just seems more fun and less lonely to me.
During my worst days of weird eating habits I would ALWAYS eat alone just like you, and I think it sorta perpetuates the disorder. It is a sense of control eating alone and not having anybody scrutinize your weird eating habits!
It is really hard to let go of those habits, and I had to learn to do that while I was on spring break, but I got through it alive and in the end it wasn’t much of a big deal really.
My personality has definitely changed within the last year – I was wayyy more social before, and now I feel like a hermit. Some days I spend entirely alone, and having human interaction is a good thing!!!!
I think we both need to work towards this hahah :)
Natasha recently posted..Spring break recap

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22 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Gahh I know this is true.. always eating by myself does fuel the fire to the ED but right now, I have zero desire to change it. That understanding does alarm me to be honest! We both know that yes, we do have some stuff to work on ha

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23 Heidi @ Idlehide March 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

Great post, definitely not too lenghty. Your honesty really pulls me in and I always connect with what you’re saying. I actually enjoy being by myself and I do pretty much everything by myself (my husband works wacky shifts) and I never bother to call anyone up to do anything because I’d rather do it myself, efficiently time wise! I do find after a while I realize how I do everything by myself and it gets me down, and that’s when I call up a friend and demand a little outing (haha) and it always helps me bounce back. You seem like a sweetheart and a fun person and I think you’ll be fine! You’re one of my top bloggers:)
Heidi @ Idlehide recently posted..Weekend Update

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24 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Aww well Heidi thank you for telling me this and also sharing your thoughts here. I know going out sometimes does help to shake things up and usually makes me feel better. I will remember next time when I am having my doubts!

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25 Melissa March 5, 2012 at 7:23 am

Tessa- Your posts are never to wordy, I really enjoy reading them!

I can definitely relate to you on this topic. I am lucky to have a good group of friends at college but last year when I did not live near them I found myself isolating myself so that I could ‘be in control’ i.e ED could get what he wanted…go to bed early to wake up and eat breakfast 4-5 hours before lunch and go to the gym. I like you would prefer to be in bed by 11 PM on most Saturdays rather than go to a bar but it is hard for me to tell if it is what I really want or what ED wants. I am getting better but it is tough to find that balance. It all seems black and white.

I have really been struggling with ED and separating him from what Melissa really wants. He’s been ingrained for so long that I can’t always tell him apart and this makes it especially hard to push him away when he is being most vicious.

Again, I am glad you wrote this post and it is really awesome that you have all of this wonderful insight…deffinitley got me thinking. Also, if you ever want an errands buddy/ person to eat lunch with on the weekends hit me up because I would definitely be in!

Hope we can catch up soon!
-Melissa

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26 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I know that is such a hard thing to distinguish and of course, I am as well. I guess we both just have to keep being aware that we really might be confusing the two and knowing this will help us both deal with it and fight! I know you would be a great person to do my errands with :)

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27 HollieisFueledByLOLZ March 5, 2012 at 7:24 am

Wow I can relate to this a bit. I am constantly spending a lot of time alone. I live with my housemate Julie, but I feel like we are on really different schedules and I’m okay with that. She went out of town the entire weekend and I was alone…and I’m okay with that.

For me, it all happened after freshman year. I started hating constantly hanging out with friends. It just didn’t do anything for me. You will get through it girl!
HollieisFueledByLOLZ recently posted..Training Blues

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28 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Thank you for your thoughts Hollie!

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29 Amy Lauren March 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

I don’t think you’re rambling. You needed to get it out and you did.

As for me, I’m an extrovert. I thrive off of being around other people, involved, etc. I loved eating with people- going to lunch, going to the dining hall together in college, dinner dates with friends, going out to bars. Well, now I don’t drink alcohol so obviously no bars, the ED behaviors severely limited how much I wanted to go out to eat… and when you don’t eat with people for awhile eventually they stop asking.

I think others who don’t have an ED have the same ideal Saturday as you, spending it alone. There’s nothing wrong with that- some people just like to be alone- and you’re right, if that’s what you like, it’s one thing, but it’s a different story if you’re always alone because of the ED.

You definitely have a lot to offer… yeah, ketchup on salad, maybe that is a little different but when you hang around with other people for a long period of time you will really they do crazy things too. College really is one of the best times of your life, and you should live it up, even the last few weeks.
Amy Lauren recently posted..One Year Later…

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30 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Ha yep, I sure did need to get it out of my head! It is a different story if it is bc of the ED or not and that is the point I am at… trying to freakin figure it out! Sooo obnoxious sometimes

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31 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake March 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

I can DEFINITELY relate to this possa Tessa! I have always preferred to be alone. I was the same way when I was in college. I joined a sorority, which sort of forced me to become more social, but there were still many, many times when I opted out of attending different events.

PS – You’re not “alone”; you have all of US! :-)
Erica @ For the Sake of Cake recently posted..New Trader Joe’s Finds

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32 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

This is true Erica.. I have this wonderful community!

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33 Tayla March 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

I was in complete shock when I read this because it sounds exactly like what I do! I couldn’t believe it, someone else out there that likes to spend all their time alone? and I completely knew what you were talking about when you come home after all day of being around people, you feel “disconnected from reality”…I’ve been there and I know what you mean. I have about two friends and although I love the times we spend together, when I finally come home I am exhausted and just so relieved to be alone again. It’s something I have come to accept about myself though, I mean it could be from the result of my eating disorder or it could just be the “new” me, I have no clue but for the time being, it’s better for me to just accept the fact and move on instead of trying to be something different, you know? I don’t know either, and I relate to how confused and weird you feel about it all, I do too, but it will all work out for the best. Sometimes I like to think about who I would have been if I never had the eating disorder and I don’t know I would have liked that girl…I have gone through so many things due to ED and although it’s sucked a lot out of my life, it makes me who I am and it has brought me through some amazing and positive life lessons and for that I am thankful.

Stay strong Tessa! You are such an inspiration and I believe in you<3

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34 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Oh Tayla,
You are not alone in your thinking that you are alone!! :) That sounds odd but it makes sense. I think you are right, maybe I should just try and embrace the person that I am right now and be okay with it. This is what I need right now and if I keep working hard and fighting towards recovery, well then things will fall into place. I am glad to hear you are embracing this for yourself as well. Thank you for believing in me and telling me so girl! xo

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35 Sarah @ feeedingbrainandbody March 5, 2012 at 8:04 am

I was struggling with the exact same thoughts in the summer, but then I was hit by a realization: Im an introvert. Dont get me wrong i understand the importance of socializing, but I definitely need my alone time too. I have a few good friends that I enjoy hanging out with and catching up with, but Im not the type to spontaneously go hang out with some friends of friends and make more new friends and be around people 10 hours of the day. I used to always feel HORRIBLE that I didnt want to do that, but now ive realized its not such a bad thing, its just a different personality! Ever since realizing that Im an introvert I have been able to be easier on my self and enjoy others company and my own company rather then comparing my social personality to others. Its great! I completely understand what you said in this post though, sometimes its hard to know where our personality stems from! :)
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36 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I need to look in the introvert thing… could that now be me? Have I really always been this way and was the way I “used” to be actually a front I was putting up? I am working to understand this, no matter which answer I get. That is wonderful you have been able to embrace your own personality!

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37 Sara March 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Hey Tessa! You should definitely look into being introverted – it was a HUGE step in my recovery to find out that my “social flaw” was actually a normal personality. My therapist described it as feeling drained by social interaction, no matter how much you like the people with whom you’re spending time! My family and boyfriend are the only people exempt from this. It made me understand myself and my needs so much better and I’m not hard on myself anymore for loving to hang out by myself. I still have my friends and I still talk to people at school, but at the end of the day, I’m drained and I usually just want to unwind alone! I hope you look up this information….like I said, it was a game changer for me in my recovery and how I felt about myself!

38 Ashley Pomes March 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

What a great post Tessa. Thank you so much for opening up with this post. I completely understand and can relate to you post. Before I was the type to go out almost every weekend. I always had plans with friends. Now I go out once in a while because it is a mix of me liking the alone time and the disorder forcing me into isolation. I chose to isolate myself because then I “control” the situations. I know now that is crazy but when I was deep into the disorder, before I even realized it really, I made myself be alone and I would turn down plans so I could be alone. Now I am getting better with it and going on when I can. With school it gets tough so when I have no school work I now make it a point to not be alone and get me out of my confront zone. I do feel I am better when I am around people. I like being alone but I am more alive when I am around people and it is easier not to worry because the others around me are having a good time and I want to be having a good time with them as well.
-Since I do like my alone time I try and balance it. I will spend maybe one day of the week with friends if I do not have school work and one day with family. I make school work my priority and if time I make room for friends and family. Most of my friends know I am free on Saturdays If I do not have school work so they make sure to text me and ask to hang out. Having them be supportive helps so much because the push me and that is really great.
-My personality has changed over the years and I think that is all apart of growing up and becoming who you are. It has not always gone over well with people and have lost some friends but I have gained new ones. I have made a great friends and since I have changed I have found my best friend and she has been a rock to me. So sometimes change can be really good.
-I do suffer from a ed and it is hard to separate what it wants and what I want. I take it day by day and moment by moment. I try and ask myself what will happen and how will I feel from this situation. It does not always work well but I try and learn from that. If I know my ed “won” in a situation I try see why it won and try and not to let it win again.
-do not feel that you are boring! I feel that way sometimes but I try and think of it as the people I am around just do not have the same interest as me so I go out and find those people. I go to events that interest me and sometimes I meet people and stick up a conversation.I figure life is to short to spend time doing this that do not interest me because I want to fit in and not seem boring.
Ashley Pomes recently posted..WIAW 17

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39 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

What you said in the beginning is not crazy at all!! I promise you. I would do the same thing and yeah, still do on occasion. I am not proud of this, but sometimes i just don’t want to deal with eating good that is out of my comfort zone so I simply do not. It is confusing because like you, I do have a good time when I am out, but then find myself wanting to leave after a while and be by myself… You are right as well, we are both NOT boring at all :)

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40 Ashley Pomes March 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

I find myself wanting to leave too. I really rely on my friends, one friend in particular that really pushes me and keeps me going. One time we even went out to dinner and they had nothing for me (vegetarian food) so I did not eat and I brought snack and I was going to just have that. She literally dragged me to this place down the block from where we were to get a steamed vegetarian Chinese meal. It was good because my body did need food. What I have learned is that It is important to lean on people sometimes and it is ok. I know that could be hard for you since you go away to school and do not have people you are really close to there but just know the whole blogging community is here for you :)
Ashley Pomes recently posted..National Nutrition Month

41 Kat March 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

Oh girl, I am the QUEEN of loneliness. My hubby went snowboarding yesterday and he was gone from 630 till 430. I stayed at home the entire day doing NOTHING. I didnt even go to church. Most weekends he leaves I stay home actually. Im very much a home-body, and always have been. Id rather stay at home every night then go out, and I do. Sometimes I hate it because I feel like Im wasting my life away in my house, but to be honest I dont have many people I could hang out with anyway! lol
Kat recently posted..Are there really whole grains in that?

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42 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Well I am not actually lonely! I don’t think at least… like I am alone and that feels just fine. But at the same time, I am not sure if I really and truly am “fine.” You are not wasting your time at all Kat, please don’t ever think that!

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43 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots March 5, 2012 at 9:32 am

I can relate to every single thing you said in this post! My best words of advice is to slowly start to put yourself out there. It is really really hard but try to go out at least one night on the weekend, and save the other night for yourself. You don’t want to look back on college and say that you let your disorder get the best of you. If you say to yourself in advance this night I am going out and this night is for me I promise you will enjoy the time you go out and the time you spend alone. I spent many nights isolated and convincing myself that I was “happy” being alone all the time but let’s be honest its nice to be around people every once in a while. I always reserve “me time” because I think everyone should, but you need to surround yourself with people who love and care for you! P.s. I would love to have you as a friend, and would go to the gym with you in the am lol :)

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44 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I know that it is nice to be around others on occasion… it is all very confusing to me though because I really do LOVE being alone and am fine with it. I think? And there is the question again

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45 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries March 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

i can totally relate to all of your feelings here… meeting my husband was the best thing that happened to me, and i felt like i got back to my “old self” again. however, i’ve also realized that sometimes i DO just feeling like being alone, and that is okay! some of us are just more introverted than others. being alone is how we recharge. we all have things we need to work on in our personal life, and that is okay too! you just be yourself girl! love ya!
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46 Carrie @Shrinking Carrie March 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

I totally get your ramblings Tessa! Actually a few light bulbs went off for me when reading this post. I also had a really good friend that I did everything with until we hit highschool and got too cool for me. This happened a few times and it led me to not try to make good friends and just stick with my family. I don’t know if isolation is healthy or not, but I do know that being able to be by yourself is important. You have to learn to be your own friend and I have found that through doing things by myself. But it is also important to have a bit of a social life, even if you have to force yourself to go out. It seems I never regret when I spend time out with friends, and it makes it easier the next time I am invited out. Sorry for the ramble….
Carrie @Shrinking Carrie recently posted..A Loss and a Gain

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47 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I am sorry you had a friend that also left you high and dry… gosh that feels sucky. I just need to work on finding the balance and being okay with the fact that being alone can be okay.. but also with others is necessary as well

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48 Laura @ LauraLikesDesign March 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

I can totally relate to this. I used to be such a social butterfly and was rarely ever home. In college I was always in my friend’s dorms as we all hung out together.

Now that I’m a couple of years out, I prefer to be alone. I like spending time with Andy because he gets it. We can be at the mall and I can say “it’s too crowded and I’m feeling overwhelmed” and boom–we can leave no questions asked. With friends, it’s a little more difficult.

I’ve been burned by so many friends/roommates in the past and I feel as though I’ve hardened my heart against letting people in–especially girls. I prefer to do things along because I can start and stop activities when I want to and having that control just helps…especially since I’m trying to let go of the thinness control.
Laura @ LauraLikesDesign recently posted..We’re All Small Inside

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49 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Control really is a major part of this and I understand that. I am just having a tough time figuring out how much of a role it plays. I am sorry you have had tough experiences in the past with girls… lawddd they can be so flippen mean and crazy

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50 ~Jessica~ March 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

The level of deep introspection and self-reflection you’re attempting to tackle here would make anyone confused, and possibly doubtful of themselves. Lots of people go through life without ever reflecting on their behaviours the way you (and I) do and I think such methods of analysis are generally a positive thing, but only if they don’t result in perpetuating the kind of anxiety you’re evaluating, or even making us ‘label’ ourselves (for example talking so much about binge eating has, to an extent, cemented bingeing into my perception of my identity).

The way I see it, socially (and ignore the other connotations of these animals because I’m not being rude by referring to people as ‘dogs’) some people are dogs and some are cats. Some need the company of others, noise, chatter, parties, they thrive on social situations. Some people don’t – my worst nightmare is, and always has been, being in a ‘party’ situation. Your post did make me realise that perhaps I was not always an introvert, but I never ‘liked’ other people. I’m sure this could be blamed on ‘only child syndrome’ but given that I always wanted to play alone, even as a toddler, I think that attribution is pretty spurious.

However, I was also let down by *everyone* in my life other than my parents. I went through a decade of bullying and although I’ve never had ‘relationships,’ I feel that because no man has ever even shown an interest in me it’s rejection by default (not that I’d expect interest, given my appearance). So how much of my misanthropy is nature, and how much is nurture, is difficult to discern. I do know that I trust a few people now, other than my parents, and it’s only blogging (and meeting these people through blogs) that has enabled me to realise that there are good people out there at all.

I’d rather be alone, 90% of the time. But I always need the reassurance of someone close by, particularly if my mind is playing tricks on me or my mood is exceptionally low. Sometimes I need other people to ground me in reality or I’m apt to start believing I don’t ‘matter’ at all, and that’s when my darkest thoughts creep in. Even at home, with my parents, we are pretty separate but that’s because we’re all people who require a LOT of personal space. I go crazy when I feel I can’t be myself or I have to, as you so aptly put it, act chirpy.

Social constraints and rules can be smothering – I liken coming home after a day immersed amongst people to taking off an underwired bra. That feeling of relief when the door closes and I have no-one to judge my actions, to think I’m weird, to stare at me, is immense. I identified so much with feeling ‘funny’ after spending too long with other people.

Personalities can alter over time: to an extent it irks me that people who go out to bars, clubs or whatever are automatically considered ‘fun,’ and it pains me to see you describe your interests as ‘boring.’ Well, sod that to be quite frank, because no-one has the right to judge anyone else’s personality. To an extent when we’re kids we feel even more pressure to be social – this quieter person could be the ‘real’ you, and even if it’s influenced by your ED to an extent, it’s still ‘you’ in the present moment, and worthy of care rather than shame.

I used to worry about being boring – I’d constantly apologise for not drinking, for example, but now I don’t care. I own my ‘boringness,’ and would rather stick pins in my eyes than engage in the kind of activities most people my age do for fun. It’s what makes me ‘me,’ and if anyone has a problem with that (therpists, I’m looking at YOU – one guy actually suggested I just go out and get drunk to ‘loosen up’ and socialise that way) then they can stuff it.

Being different from the socially expected ‘norm’ is not wrong. Forcing a personality upon yourself that is fashioned by the expectations of others, however, can be so damaging. I really hope you don’t end up doing that, because you’re too smart, quirky, beautiful and funny to succumb to high-school-esque peer pressure simply extended into the wider, ‘adult’ world.

xxx
~Jessica~ recently posted..Stop This PhD, I Want To Get Off!

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51 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hi Jessica,
Wow, thank you for all of this…. for opening up about your struggles and taking the time to write such a thoughtful and genuine comment. i really mean that, so thank you. You are on a level of thought here that really helped me to internalize more of how I am feeling about all of this and to understand it better as well. First of all, I am sorry you had a difficult several years and as a result, have a very difficult time trusting people and being open with them. For the record though, i am sure a man would love you for who you are and NO I am not just saying that.
OH and I am loving the bra reference… how true that is. When I have been with people all day, that is exactly how I feel- a true sense of release and relief that I can finally be alone and do what I want to. Is that because of food and “finally” being able to eat how and what I want? Or is because I simply need more isolation than other people? I am not sure of course, but you are right, this is who I am right now and needs to be taken care of as well… wow yes to that. And thank you for telling me I am not boring, I just feel like my interests are so different than people here, but blogging has allowed me to understand that in fact no, there are plenty of other people out there, just like me. Thank goodness for this community.
I will not succumb to what I “should” be doing… according to who for the record?! You are right, what a damaging thing to do.

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52 Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl March 5, 2012 at 9:52 am

I definitely understand what you are saying–I heart my alone time. However, college is such a short period of time when you are surrounded by friends that you can spend time with and eat meals with and not have to compare schedules for hours and drive to a specific location–take advantage of this! You will always have MANY chances for alone time–especially after you graduate! I wish someone would have told me to make the most of these moments in my last semester!

Ok, and “The Descendants” is SO stinking thought-provoking. I saw it months ago and I am still trying to figure it out. I think there is just so many emotions stuffed into that movie–such a compelling movie!
Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl recently posted..AWP Part II and Bad Travel Luck

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53 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I know this is true and it is scary to think that my “time is short…” but honestly, doing the typical college thing just does not appeal to me. I am not going to miss this place and am ready for the next stage of life, whatever that may bring!

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54 Eric March 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

I completely understand the situation you are in and how and why you feel the way you do. The reason is because I too suffered from similar situations as you did. I was always an athlete, but when the sport (running) became more competitive, I did exactly what the runner’s world magazine article athlete “running on empty” did. I lost weight; and was super crazy about the specifics and kept trying to lose weight. During that time, I felt the exact same way you do. Since then, I was able to get back out of that state; and have slowly recovered. I met my girlfriend who has really pulled me away from the dark place I was in. Now I am still very competitive in running; but have switched to marathons and am training hard, but maintaining a healthy life around me too. Be strong and try and understand and admire the beauty around us. Its there, its whether or not we’re willing to ….let go.

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55 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi Eric,
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog and to also write about your own experience! It is inspirational for to read that you have been able to find a balance… it makes it feel that i can as well

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56 Eric March 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Tessa,

I am sure you will be able to find that balance. Just trust yourself that you are amazing – simply because you are ….YOU. Work-out because it makes you feel good and because you are fit. Eat well because, it fuels you and makes you feel good. Eat enough so that you body finds that perfect balance giving you optimum performance – and everything falls into place.

Good luck and if you need someone to talk to or just for advice – give me a shout!
Eric recently posted..Messy Mondays.

57 Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense March 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

Can def relate on so many levels!! Keep the faith girl… this is just a journey and soon you’ll be on the side where you see things clearly and everything starts to make sense. People come and go out of your life… the people that truly love and care for you will stay.
Lisa ♥ Healthful Sense recently posted..Cocoa Greek Yogurt (Gluten-free + Vegan option)

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58 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

This is so true Lisa, thank you for the reminder!

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59 Melissa March 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

I feel ya. I think I do this a lot, too. I’d rather be alone and deal with things on my own than be with others because they just don’t get it. But I also think that I’m boring. Like, who would want to hang out with boring old me? The other piece of it is that I don’t feel like I can relate to anyone. I’m quite a bit older than you, so all of my friends are married, many have kids, and it’s like I don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. I still make myself go out and be social, but unlike you, I just don’t enjoy it. I would rather stay home and watch TV or something! It’s not good, but I know it’s part of where I am in my recovery (a depressed place right now) and that I’ll get myself out of it. It’s just tough right now. I, for one, think you are fantastic and would LOVE to hang out with you! I’m sure there are so many others out there who feel the same way if you’re open to it. Just take your time. You’ll find your way. XOXO
Melissa recently posted..It’s Official

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60 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Aww Melissa thank you for this. On that note though, I would also LOVE to hang out with you… I mean this! I know you are going through a bit of a tough time right now, but just keep your head up and remember there are plenty of people out there that care and love you. I am reminding for myself too

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61 Nicole March 5, 2012 at 11:09 am

I have and am currently in a very similar predicament. I had to laugh because I went home this weekend for the very same reasons. It’s sad. If you find a solution, let me know. I’m so tired of being alone.

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62 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Of course Nicole… I am actively working on understanding this and can talk to you about it whenever you would like! Just shoot me an email if you ever need to

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63 Alexis March 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

Okay I do have quite a bit to say on this topic.
I can relate 100% or at least 95% to what you’re writing about. I was an only child growing up (had close friends that I used to play outside with/do everything with) but I was used to doing things alone.. Not to mention I always felt “older” than the other kids. High school rolled around and I never fit in with any group. I had friends and I went out but once Junior and Senior year hit I really didn’t have anyone. Mainly because I didn’t like to party and get drunk it has never appealed to me.

Once I accepted that I just do things ‘alone’ and I really do enjoy it – I stopped caring that I wasn’t a “typical” 22 year old. I don’t feel that I’m missing out on life by being alone because I spend my days interacting with random people I see. I make small talk with anyone I approach. It’s what I love to do and it makes me happy!

I feel that once I have a steady job and a steady life, I’ll find friends that fit into the mix of daily life eventually but for now I’m a loner and I know it!
Alexis recently posted..I Scream Chocolate!

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64 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

That is wonderful you were able to embrace the person you are and the personality you have… this is amazing and really helpful for me to hear. You are right, this is what is working for you right now and that is just fine!

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65 Anna @ The Guiltless Life March 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm

It’s crazy how much I – and everyone else, by the looks of the comments – relate to this.

I just posted today about how hard I find it is to meet new people and make new friends in the city I live in right now (Vancouver, BC). And that is an issue but I do have a LOT of friends, just individuals who don’t know each other that well, rather than groups.

Therefore, my meetings with friends are very organized and isolated from each other. Thus the majority of my time I spend alone and I really do think that’s because I’m just sorting through some stuff right now and getting myself into a good place. Whenever our brain has so much to go through I feel like we kinda take a step back from the world, but this isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always been a super sociable person and I definitely have a NEED to hang out with others after a while on my own, but I find that that comes when I’m ready and when my brain has gone through its processes. It will come in time, don’t worry about feeling ‘weird’ or bad – you’re not at all. And it’s not you or the eating disorder – it’s all you, the ED is part of you but hopefully a past part. And this isn’t a bad thing! Isolation teaches us a lot about ourselves. You’ve got plenty of time in the future to spend with friends, take the time you need now for yourself!
Anna @ The Guiltless Life recently posted..March Goals

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66 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I will have to read that post right after I write to your lovely self…
Thank you for sharing your personal story with this and that yeah, it might actually be an okay thing to be in this place right now!

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67 Eugenie Mcquain March 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm

very awesome website…

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68 Nikki March 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I can totally relate to you on this. I find comfort in being alone. I walk home from class and pray that I don’t see the living room light on as I round the corner from campus. I enjoy spending time with my family, but I really can’t stand to be with many other people. I think that if I spent more than the occasional weekend with my family, I would feel as though I needed to be alone again, though. It’s hard for me to feel connected to others and feel as though I am safe with other people…it’s a weird habit of mine. It’s something that I am working on, but I think it’s just my personality. Oh, how the mind does silly things!
Nikki recently posted..Swimming, Movies, and Food

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69 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Ahh I used to do the same kind of thing when I was living in a dorm room my freshman year… with a roommate of course. I could see from the window outside if she was there and died a bit inside when she was.
Our minds really are crazy sometimes.. understatement to say the least

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70 Kaitlyn March 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I completely can relate to your post here. I am very, very similar. I definitely prefer to spend time by myself. I am very introverted, which means I get my “energy” from being alone, as opposed to those who are “extroverted”, who get their energy from being with groups of people. I LOOVE having excuses to not go out on weekends. I usually find that when I DO go out, I have lots of fun. For me, i just feel very, very comfortable in my routine. I’m working on it :) Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!
Kaitlyn recently posted..A wonderful weekend away!

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71 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm

You are such a brave person for posting this. It’s such a cool thing that you are able to so eloquently capture your feelings and fears. Writing always helps me sort through things – do you feel the same?

Maybe you could try to get involved in a sport and club? that way you get out there and meet people without being in a partying or food-centric scene? I enjoyed being involved with amnesty international and play flag football when I was in school!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Sprouting Chickpeas + High on Raw

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72 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Oh yes writing helps me through this so very much… I was actually crying a bit while writing this because it made me really dive into my emotions and what the hell has been going on
I think joining a club would be helpful and plan to do so this summer

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73 Katherine March 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I’m an introvert. Even before I got sick, I was an introvert. I always have been, and my boyfriend is one as well. Therefore, I don’t see any problem with spending a lot of time by myself, because it’s who I am.
That being said, if I want to go hang out with my buds, I’ll go do it. Admittedly, I still have issues with eating in front of other people because, like you, I feel like they’re judging me for what I eat (I also tend to outeat all my female friends, ironically). This is actually part of the reason I also love going home; I feel like going home is judgment-free and stress-free and I truly enjoy seeing my family.

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74 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Home really is a judgement-free zone… that’s why I love it so very much

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75 Christie March 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

About 5 years ago my father had me read a book about extroverted and introverted personalities and it helped me so much. I use to think (because I am introverted) that something was ‘wrong’ with me; where the majority of people lean towards the extroverted personality type. I never understood why it drained me to go out with friends, be very social, ask lots of questions, etc. etc. I think it is so important to understand what you are, as well as what those are around you. How you interact with each person is going to heavily weigh upon what personality type they are.
Christie recently posted..Snowy Valentines Run :D

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76 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

What book was this? You and a few others have mentioned intro/extrovert and I think it’s something I need to start looking into!

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77 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health March 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Great post Tessa. I can relate a lot actually, and I don’t think mine necessarily has to do with food. I think I just tend to prefer more low-key things and hanging out with a smaller number of people and when others prefer to go out clubbing with a huge group, I feel like I would rather stay home and enjoy a movie or something. Of course I enjoy nights like that, but not all the time…that’s just not me and I’ve really come to be okay with that. I may not have as many friends as other people, but I know that the ones I do have are really good ones and will be for a long time! I definitely think my personality has changed over the years. Or I guess I should say I’ve let my true personality come through. Especially in high school I feel like I was just trying to fit in so I would be a person that isn’t necessarily “me”, you know? I think that’s natural though. And yes, I do feel like I don’t have much to offer sometimes and I wonder why people would really want to be friends with me. But I just try to remind myself that there are people that love me and they must for a reason :). And if it helps, from what it seems like in your blog- you seem like an amazing person that has so much to offer. I think you would be a fabulous friend! Hope you have a great day love!
Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Bench Dips

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78 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hi Lindsay, as always, thank you for taking the time to really share your personal input here. That is an interesting way of looking at this, that you actually let your true personality shine through as you grew older and matured. Now that is something I need to think about
We must meet up sometime Lindsay, I know you would be a good friend of mine :)

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79 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health March 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm

We TOTALLY need to meet up! Especially since I move back home near the end of May! I think we would be great friends too :).
Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Bench Dips

80 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I will be home before you move (thank the lawddd) so we will meet up during May! Plus it will be warmerrrr

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81 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com March 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I completely understand this post, and find myself doing the same thing. Weekends are times I look forward to where I dont HAVE TO be around a ton of people. I can chose to read, eat lunch at whatever time I want to without a knock on my office door with someone needing something. I can do things I enjoy without feeling totally awkward and weird.
I also have been hurt several times in the past, specifically by female friends so I tend to be hesitant to participate in activities with large groups of girls. I feel so judged and inadequate and honestly, those feelings are not fun so it is easier just to avoid it.
is this healthy? probably not, but it is where i am RIGHT NOW.
that is the key hun, this is where you are RIGHT NOW.
if you want to change you can, but dont feel ashamed for needing a few hours to be quietly alone. You are a productive, amazing woman and you know what is best for you.
CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com recently posted..Time Waster

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82 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I can relate to the female friends thing a whole lot… I so get that one. You are making an excellent point here CJ, this is me RIGHT NOW, but if I keep pressing forward, who knows what will change?

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83 Laura @ LauraLivesLife March 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I’m glad you posted this – it’s actually something that I’ve been thinking about for years, and it wasn’t until I read some of the recent information about the differenve between introversion and extroversion, that I was able to embrace some of these things that society tells us are wrong. I think you are certainly right to relate some of what you are feeling to an eating disorder, but I think it’s also important for you to first stop judging yourself for not wanting to go “out” or be social like you think you should be. It is perfectly okay to choose to be alone – and to prefer it. Introverts are energized by being alone, and for me, recognizing that helped me to be okay with choosing to stay in on Friday nights. You do have friends (in fact, you have a whole community of them) – they just may not be the traditional ones you think you should have. It was a big weight off of my shoulders when I realized I could stop trying to be someone I’m not – I’m not a big partier, and after a long week at school and work, I just want to recuperate. Alone. I know this might not be your situation exactly – but maybe it’ll help you to figure out what you want and feel if you first eliminate any definitions of what you “should” be wanting (i.e. having tons of friends, etc). Even if it is to be more social, that’s okay – as long as you don’t feel obligated or like there is something wrong with you if you do not want it.
Sorry my my super-long comment! I think I know where you are coming from (hopefully) and know that you’ll figure it all out (and find a quite wonderful man who is good for you and likes you “just as you are”). =)
Laura @ LauraLivesLife recently posted..The Red Eye

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84 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I am going to look and read more about the introversion/extroversion thing. You and a few others have been mentioning and yeah, the information there might help me out. You are right, maybe it is time to take a step back and really understand that well yeah, it might just be what I like to stay in, and that is okay! What is confusing to me is how much of it is ED related and that is what I am working to understand. Please do not apologize for your comment (not too long at all love) I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this and also all of the helpful information!!

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85 Haley @ Health Freak College Girl March 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

oh my goodness tessa. can i just give you a hug through the computer or something? i can relate to this post SO much. i really and truly like being by myself. like you, i go on little outings to keep me busy. whether it be the mall, book store, library, or walking down town, i do little things to get me out of the dorm. i could easily go through a day without saying a single word. i am completely fine with that somedays. then there are other days where i wish i had a friend to hang out with or talk to. but like you said, the more you deny their invites, the more they will stop asking.

seeing from the comments, you (and me) are not alone with being alone
Haley @ Health Freak College Girl recently posted..doctor’s orders

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86 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Ha if you find a way, I will give you a nice hug right back! It’s nice to know that I am not aloneee in thinking about all of this.. thank you for telling me this as well Haley

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87 Sarah @ Every Day's a Picnic March 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I can totally relate to you on this one Tessa. I think I come from a different place, because I have never suffered with a ED or mental illness and in general I think I’m a happy and content person, but I am very introverted. I love being on my own and spending time doing the things that I want to do without being interrupted. As a consequence I do find it difficult to open up to people and I sometimes I think that I might be a bad friend because of it. I also have this self-awareness when I’m talking, and I’m thinking “God, I’m boring, why is this person even listening to me”.
However, I have got a close group of friends and I did eventually find a boyfriend who loves me, so I’m sure you will too. For me, spending time with other people needs to be on my own terms, so joining to a club is ideal in that it’s only for an hour or so, I get social contact, and then I can choose whether to go for drinks etc afterwards. I’m a member of a running club at the moment, and have done various things in the past. I actually met Peter through a first aid society.
I don’t think you’re weird in the slightest, but I think that it’s obviously something that bothers you. Maybe you just need to take baby steps to find some more balance and don’t let your ED rob you of any more time.
Sarah @ Every Day’s a Picnic recently posted..Brain Fuel

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88 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Sarah, a few people have been mentioning the introvert thing here, and I think it’s something I need to look into more. I can be very social, am not afraid of it at all or anything like that, but I really do much better by myself…
That is true about the club and the way you describe how it works for you makes sense! That is wonderful you found Peter as well.. that is encouraging for me as I often think I will never find or want to be with someone because of the way I am

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89 Julia @ girl with a stethoscope March 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Wow Tessa, this must have taken SO much courage to write because who likes to admit that they spend so much time alone? I think there is nothing wrong with liking to be alone {I love to be alone} but it IS a problem when you do it so often {and please do not think I am in any way condeming you for this}. You have to realize that you will look back on these days sometime in the future and deeply regret spending the best years of your life alone. I know that your ED is 99% to blame for this problem because it isolates you from the rest of the world but you have been able to overcome SO many aspects of it (i.e. consuming “fear foods”) that I honestly believe you can overcome isolation. You are a beautiful girl and full of personality, there is NO reason why you shouldnt be out there socializing with guys and having tons of friends. I am just fearful that you really are going to regret not being more social and really enjoying college life (or what is left of it).
Julia @ girl with a stethoscope recently posted..taking a stand against pro-ED websites

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90 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I know you are not condemning me here Julia! I appreciate your own thoughts on this though! I am not sure 99% is completely accurate though as I have had plenty of other experiences and negative event that have set me back as well

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91 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! March 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I can definitely relate here. While I have always been somewhat of a solo character, I don’t know whether or not I really truly am. I was the odd one out from a very young age, and learned to enjoy being on my own – which I definitely do not think is a bad thing.

But, last year, my obsession with food definitely pulled me further away from friends. I started turning down invitations for fear of being in an uncomfortable food situation. I still do, if I don’t catch myself. But, for me, it’s almost always worth the plunge. I thought I was at my happiest when I finally started listening to my body, eating what I wanted, without restriction – but I had shut myself into a corner. I still turned down invitations. I looked for every excuse as to why I was alone, but I did it to myself.

Now I realize I do need to be with people – but not all the time. I’m learning to distinguish the times I crave being on my own and the times when I’m trying to convince myself such just to get out of an uncomfortable situation. I think it’s been really good to push out of my comfort zone. Have I enjoyed it every time? Definitely not – but I don’t regret it. I’m learning what I truly do and don’t enjoy when it comes to social life, and I think it’s a good step.
Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! recently posted..Above the Arctic – Swedish Lapland

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92 Morgan @ Endorphaholic March 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Rachel, I’ve had a very similar experience in terms of pushing myself to go outside of my comfort zone. It has been a difficult journey, but I have learned so much about myself in the process. I learned that I don’t like big parties, but I love small get togethers. And, while I’ll go to bigger events on occasion, I’m much more fulfilled being with a small group of friends. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just me.

Tessa, you will get there! It’s a long process, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And when you get there, you will be so much stronger for all of the struggles that you overcame.

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93 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

You have been so amazing these past several months Rachel… with all of the traveling and studying abroad. I have said it before and I will say it again, your attitude and willingness to take a chance is truly admirable and inspiring for me! I know we will both find the right balance

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94 Becca March 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I completely understand and relate to this!

1. This is so hard to sort out, because it is completely a mixture of factors. I’m sure that your disorder has changed you in some ways, but you may also genuinely enjoy being alone more than others do. So, where’s the line, right? Answer: I don’t know. But I think that if you feel something is “off,” as you indicate in the post, you’re probably right. I too am a person who enjoys a lot of alone time. However, can I say that I have SUCH A GREAT TIME, and SO MUCH FUN by myself (compared to when I hang out with friends?)? Not exactly. It’s more, just…nice.

2. With risk comes reward. The reason the “highs are higher” with other people is probably in part because there is more risk in socializing than in isolating. When we spend time alone, we are safe. It is not challenging. There is little risk of anything going wrong because hey, it’s just us. When we’re with others (especially for people like me who are naturally introverted), there’s a lot more risk. But when things go well, that risk can really pay off.

3. And that leads me to this: safety and comfort are huge, and they become even more important when you’re disordered and/or recovering. You had an experience where you were very out of control (both socially and emotionally). Now, it makes sense that you try to keep things calm. You don’t want to spin out of control again. Who would? Once you’ve had a negative experience, it’s really hard to get past the point where you’re just living life avoiding more negative experiences.

4. One last note: I used to think that way too. “I used to be able to have fun because I was _______. Now, who would want to hang out with me? I’m ruined because now I’m ____.” But the thing is…it’s probably not true! In talking to an old friend recently, I realized that she ALWAYS saw the “darker” side of me…it was always there! And you know what? I had lots of friends who liked me even though I did have some tendencies toward sadness, isolation, etc. And now? I’m not really changed! I still have those tendencies, but I am also still capable of having fun and enjoying. Just set me up with a drink in my hand and some great music, and I’ll go all out for the night. My point is, you’re not broken. You’re probably the same you you always were. The only thing that’s changed is how YOU SEE YOURSELF.

Was that long enough? Anyway, thanks for the great post.

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95 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Not too long at all Becca… all so much appreciated!! You made some amazing and thoughtful points here, thank you for that. The third point really struck a chord with me, in a good way! This is how I feel right now… i want to keep things calm and “okay” because I have been miserable, rejected and sad for far too long, I am tired of it.
How I see myself is a continuous work in progress, that is for sure!

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96 Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction March 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I intentionally isolate all the time too! Sometimes I will break plans right at the last second just because I want to be alone (for no reason). It gets in the way a lot and I’m working on it too so I can relate! Once I’m out though and having a good time, I’m totally fine. I think the first step is just to get out and face our fears/anxieties. I find reassurance in being able to turn around if I want to at anytime, which is why I take my own car almost everywhere I go!
Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction recently posted..Chobani Yogurt Banana Bread

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97 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie March 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I can’t tell you how much I can relate to this post–it’s almost scary how similar our situations are! I have never been an extrovert, but back in elementary and middle school I had a lot of close friends who I would have sleepovers with, go to the movies with, etc. and come high school, we all just drifted apart and I was left without my best friend since 3rd grade, which was part of what fueled my ED to be honest, because I felt like no one wanted to be my friend anymore when it was really just because everyone went their own way and it had nothing to do with me whatsoever. Since then, I have had a few friends that I talk to in classes and outside of class, but no one I’ve ever really hung out with much.

Part of me doesn’t really mind this, because I thrive on having my own routine with eating, working out, homework and free time but at the same time, I absolutely love going home every other weekend because my family and I are super-close and I can’t live without seeing them every so often. I always have the most fun when I’m with them and I’m the exact opposite at home–I am so outgoing and open with my family. So it’s definitely a balancing act for me, because I like having alone time, but I also need some contact with people I’m close with.

Honestly, I don’t know how much of this is ED-related or not. I know the eating alone thing definitely is–this year, I’ve turned down quite a few spontaneous requests to go out to lunch with my friends because I don’t feel safe breaking out of my comfort zone. But at the same time, I am totally okay with going out to eat with my mom when she takes me back up to school. I think I just feel like people, besides my family, will judge me for my food choices and that makes me feel incredibly insecure and annoyed. But I’d love to be able to go out to lunch or Starbucks randomly with a friend without having to plan the rest of my day’s eats around that!
Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie recently posted..Best Of…February!

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98 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I am soo with you on the elementary/middle school situation… I know what happened to me is related to bringing about the ED as well. A balancing act is key for both of us. Like you, I love to go home as much as I can because I am also close with them. Plus then I don’t have to stay in on weekends and deal with the anxiety and guilt that comes along with that as well. It’s so confusing… all of this!!

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99 Sarah March 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I can’t comment too much as since coming to university, I’ve pretty much been with other people all the time. Although it took a little while to get used to it, it’s become pretty normal for me. There’s definitely nothing wrong with needing some time alone though, I definitely feel that sometimes! What I wanted to say though was thank you for your post because I have a friend who I’ve been a little worried about for a while now. She used to spend a lot of time with us, but in the last few months she has done everything on her own, including eating (and she is very very thin). She seems perfectly content though. I’m trying to be supportive by making an extra effort to talk to her and include her in plans, but although she is always polite, sometimes I get the feeling that she just doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Do you think I should keep trying, or would she feel better if I backed off?
Sarah recently posted..Lemon Basil Chicken

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100 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Sarah,
First, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this! And second, I am sorry to hear about your friend and the possibility that something could be wrong. This is of course a very tough situation to be in and also it’s hard to know how to handle it! I would continue to ask her out with you and others and if she keeps on declining and seems withdrawn and such, well then talking to her is your next step. Just be honest and express your concerns and then allow her to respond… at least you will have voiced your concerns and then what she does with it is up to her

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101 Sarah March 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Thanks so much for your reply. I’ll definitely try to talk to her if things don’t change. Thank you!
Sarah recently posted..Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa

102 Emily March 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I totally understand your word vomit. Before my e.d. I used to be crazy outgoing and loud; I didn’t care if others thought I was weird. Flash forward to my junior year of college (supposedly the best time of my life?!) and I sit in my room alone and studying.
I like being alone, but I can’t help but think I’m missing out on something. I miss being crazy outgoing and spontaneous. I try to go out with friends, but I feel like I don’t belong anymore–like I’m faking it. Hmm….I don’t know where to go from here.

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103 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

It’s okay right now Emily… i don’t know where to go from here either, but being aware of it is the first step. And is necessary

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104 Kianni March 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I can relate in a way, however that being said, I have never been social, from the time I was very young. I’ve usually only ever had one friend at a time that I would hang out with, and maybe another that would join in or latch on; but it would be my other friends friend, not MY friend. I have a few other psychologial issues though, so social situations…I am fine during them, it’s the before and after in which I have the melt downs or anxiety. Because of that I really don’t want to be around people. At least, not if it’s planned. Randomly bumping into someone and talking or maybe then going somewhere with them or inviting me somewhere tends to be easier then them asking me ahead of time or planning to hang out- if that happens I freak out becuase I then have to think about it and feel how “wrong” it is to CHOSE and willingly know that I will break out of my routine that I have deemed “right”, versus it being spontaneous and out of my control makes it easier (I can’t blame myself since someone else is grabbing the steering wheel). One thing that got me really mad once, yet I was slightly relieved by was when someone I knew, called and said “We’re going to the movies, we’ll pick you up in 10 minutes” didn’t ask, just stated fact. I wasn’t close to them and felt I couldn’t argue, so I “had no choice”. I would have been more open though if it was some other sort of activity though! Don’t get me started on that! lol, but that’s part of my other psychological stuff..simply put; I don’t understand why I’d want to go to the movies with someone since you both are sitting and quiet and not talking to each other (..which I also tend to see as a waste of time!)I’d rather go by myself, if at all. Ah well, there’s my ramble xp

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105 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Hi Kianni,
Thank you for stopping by, reading this and also sharing your own experience and personal issues with all of this! I appreciate you doing this, as it gives me a whole different perspective on social interactions and why we “need” to be alone at times!

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106 Lily March 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

You’re so brave to be able to spill out your feelings like this and I think it’s great to be able to get them out of your head by blogging about it. I can’t really say I relate to this 100% but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel so keep your head up! Everything will get better :)
Lily recently posted..A New Found Love

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107 Chelsea @ The Nut Butter Runner March 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I totally just want to be alone sometimes.. But I have to balance it with being with my friends. I do admit that I like my alone time more than the average college student, but I’m an only child, so I think that has to do with it. I’m just okay with being alone, y’know? Some days, I won’t eat any meals with people – but I’ll hang out with my fellow geo majors and study with them, so I’ll be social. I think it’s all about what you need for yourself. I’m pretty okay at balancing now, but I used to not be – I’d have the same fears about not being wanted, y’know? Also, I always felt awkward about eating with people, so I used to turn people down for meals left and right, so they stopped asking. But I got over that, and started being okay with asking people to hang out and have meals with me. Now I feel like I get the right balance – I usually eat dinner with people, and study with people during the day. On Fridays and Saturdays, I hang out with my friends. And the rest of the time, I’m usually solo and okay with that. I’m a busy person, so being 100% social all the time doens’t work for me. I hope you can find a good balance for you Tessa! You are a likable person (I’d want to be friends with you in real life!), so don’t be scared to put yourself out there a bit and have some fun!
Chelsea @ The Nut Butter Runner recently posted..One Goal to Rule Them All

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108 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Oh yes I am sure being an only child has something to do with it! I am thrilled to hear you have improved so much with this… and it’s really inspirational and helpful for me to read. That is great you are finding the balance.. I hope to get there!

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109 Anna March 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I don’t think you like to be alone as much as you think or why else would you be going home? You are probably lonely and want to spend time with your family, and your family is easy to be with. You can be yourself, do what you want, eat what you want, work out when you want, without questions, but you also get to enjoy the company of others! Maybe you just need to find those people that you don’t feel uncomfortable around so it doesn’t feel like so much effort to be with them and have to hide your “eating disordered” Tessa.

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110 tessa8m March 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I do agree with this Anna… if I was okay with it, I wouldn’t be rambling on it about it so much. At the same time though, I am trying to understand if I am not okay because i feel like I “should” be doing something else, or that it’s the ED. Even when I am home though… I like my alone time! Pretty nuts and conflicting

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111 Kate @ Chasing It March 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Well first off, I would totally be friends with you! :-D And I can completely relate to this. In high school I was such a social butterfly! In college though, I most definitely preferred to be alone, and as I never had a single room – always a roommate – this need for solitude made me really uncomfortable because it was hard to get! And as a sorority girl, I was really JUDGED for not wanting to go out 3 nights a week (regardless of the fact that even if I’d wanted to, my body just can’t handle that haha). I know a lot of it was the eating disorder – I needed my good foods, no alcohol calories, sleep. I think some of it was also that I was in a really abusive relationship – my BF didn’t like when I went out with my friends and I was scared of what he’d do if he found out, etc – and I think both those things contributed to a general lack of self confidence (“why bother going out, no one will like me, I’m not fun etc”). But even now, when I’m single, past a lot of the ED, and DO have fun when I go out….I prefer to be alone. Okay well I live in my parents house currently so obviously there’s no one to hang with BUT if I were back in college, yeah, I totally would want to stay in. I think I need more alone-time than the average person (if I spend a full day with people, it really exhausts me), but how much is too much??

In any case, you really have done a great job with the going out this year, and with conquering fear of restaurant dinners and whatnot! I think it’s okay to keep doing what makes you happy in the moment, but definitely continue to think and explore and test the waters a bit! I think even if you don’t make much “progress” with this question in the remainder of college, your post-grad plans are going to open up tons of new opportunities to do that! :-)
Kate @ Chasing It recently posted..In Like a Lion..and Out Like one too

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112 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hi Kate,

Thank you for sharing this here! I actually did not know about your boyfriend and I am sorry that this happened with him. It make sense about why you would be reluctant to go out too often with that in mind. Also, thank you for raising that you are still feeling this way, even after getting so much better with the disordered eating, and becoming more mature, living with your parents and all of that. But like you said, how much is too much? trying to figure that out now :)

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113 Jess March 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I was always introverted. I grew up pretty socially isolated because I grew up in an apartment complex with not a lot of kids around, my parents were from a different country and had a hard time making friends themselves, so I learned pretty early on to enjoy home life, my family, and playing by myself. As I grew older, I never had a circle of close friends larger than 4 or 5. I *always* had a best friend — one that I did everything with pretty much, even if I technically had 2 or 3 other “best” friends.

Because I had small social circles, they tended to decrease in size when I reached college and that was about the same time that I broke up with the only boyfriend I had which could be considered a “serious” relationship. Then, my only best friend dropped out of college to work full-time so she could live on her own. She started meeting new people, her life changed drastically, mine pretty much stayed the same minus a couple of the most important people of my life.

Enter: ED. And with ED, the story is all too familiar, we isolate so no one can see how crazy we really are, so we can cater to ED’s annoying, weird , rigid rules. Since I could only fill my time with work, school, and the gym for X amount of time and had no friends, I needed some sort of hobby… I returned to my love for books, and like you, even though I am physically recovered and nowhere near the state of mind I was even a year ago, I still love to spend hours at the bookstore.

But my point is that even though I w as more introverted than you before my ED, I know that there is something “off,” as you put it, since when I do FORCE myself (yes, force *sigh*) to go out for drinks or shopping, it makes me feel weird…. like as if I don’t feel completely myself. Because maybe it’s the result of our ED that we simply feel insufficient and inferior, so we’d rather just be alone — we’ll recover and get healthy and all that jazz, but… it’s more for us than for anyone else since no one would understand anyway, right? I don’t know. Grasping for answers here, too!

I can understand the fear of a high caloric meal at a restaurant bugging us and possibly making us choose to stay at home instead — it’s something to work on in recovery. But the need for and the feeling of peace with being alone so much is a bit odd… but only when you think about it so much :P When you’re doing it, it doesn’t seem odd! :D

I think it’s a little bit of the lingering aspect of our ED, and also maybe an end result of simply being somewhat changed after such an experience. Still, I don’t know about you, but I tend to always think “why would that guy want to see me again anyway?” or “I’m so boring, this is just going to be a disaster”… and I know that’s because of ED issues not yet worked out — so that may be the biggest clue.

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114 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Hi Jess,
I really appreciate your honesty and sharing your personal thoughts here. How the ED hits us is all so similar isn’t it? Isolation because we don’t want to deal with questions or having other people ask and comment on what we are doing/eating… because it’s so sensitive for us!
I know you have unanswered questions here as I do… but I guess we just have to keep being self-aware to understand how we really feel and act with all of this. Our “true” selves… what does that mean? Working on figuring it out

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115 Margarita March 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Trying to find your true self and questioning your feelings and actions to find out whether what you’re doing is normal or not is not weird at all. I admire you for your honesty and for your courage to look into yourself. I was never the party person in college and still am not. I would rather surround myself with books or cook rather than have meaningless talk and interactions with others. However, in this silence and aloneness, I find myself going deaf and stir crazy. I go on a run, walk, hike, workout for hours, whatever to make myself so tired that I don’t have time to feel lonely coz all I wanna do is sleep after running myself ragged. Now that I have a boyfriend and we are pretty much living together, I don’t feel like that so much anymore… But still, half the time, even though we are together, we are just each doing our own “alone” things. So when it’s time to hang out, we can give each other our full attention.

I say, enjoy being with yourself and spend quality time with family and friends who really matter. Don’t worry too much… You are and will be just fine.

Love, Margarita
Margarita recently posted..Stir-Fried Orange Beef with a Side of Seasoned Bean Sprouts and Mustard Greens

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116 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Thank you for saying all of this Margarita. I wonder if meeting a guy will make all of the difference… I do want to, but at the same time, I want my solitude! So very confusing. I think I need to find someone that will be okay with the way I am… I can’t try and change myself!

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117 Chelsea March 5, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Dear heavens little lady,

I discovered your blog two days ago, and I could swear up and down that your postings came straight from my own brain. I didn’t think that anybody else was like me in the way my eating is disordered, social life (or lack thereof), and so much else. I 100% know exactly what you’re feeling. I have been able to force myself into a social life because I know that I will end up enjoying myself. I prefer group settings, it allows me to sit back and relax without the pressure of entertaining one persons’ conversation. The only difference I feel from you is that I still feel that I do have the same social personality. I put on what has been dubbed “The Chelsea Show”. Very charming, entertaining, witty. I capture the attention of an entire room, yet, I still like to be home alone. Oh well, I don’t get what the hell my deal is. I don’t want to have another battle in my head so I just roll with it.

Take care babydoll,

Chelsea
Chelsea recently posted..Today, I was….

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118 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hi Chelsea,
I am honored you have been reading my blog! Thank you for doing so :) I think that when I do force my butt out the door, like you, I prefer larger groups because it does take the attention off of me. Although sometimes smaller groups are better… ahh I just don’t know and am clearly confused ha. I put on the kind of show too sometimes, although I have felt that I need to less since getting better!
Off to check out your blog now :)

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119 Lena @Fit on the Rocks March 6, 2012 at 12:13 am

It’s always easiest when you try things a little bit at a time. I personally am a person who is totally okay doing a lot of things alone. I spend quite a bit of time with friends here and there and am always up for an impromptu meeting, but I do most things alone, like you. I usually eat alone, work out alone, go shopping alone, and I’m comfortable with that. In your case, just slowly build up the things you do with other people until you’re at a place where it’s a good balance for you. I sometimes go through phases when I want to be around a million people, but other times (like this weekend) I stay in and occupy myself for an entire weekend. Find what works for you and remember that the first step to being more social is always the most awkward and uncomfortable, but it only gets easier from there :)
Lena @Fit on the Rocks recently posted..Coming Out From Hibernation

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120 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Yes… slowly building myself up to more and more interactions will be helpful, and not as overwhelming! I will do my best to try and find what works for me and I appreciate your suggestions dear :)

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121 Britannie March 6, 2012 at 12:58 am

Oh my goodness I’m so glad you posted this! Seriously I’m the same way. It has to do with eating disorders and the process of recovering. Because I know I was never like this before, but I have a hard time letting people in to my life and keeping them there. I think it’s just something we have to work on and honestly it could be a blessing
In disguise. Maybe were just waiting for those who will stay in our lives instead of people that don’t belong there :)

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122 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Thank you for stopping by Britannie! It really could be a blessing, and we won’t know until we try!

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123 Natasha March 6, 2012 at 2:12 am

I definitely can relate to you regarding the intentional isolation. I also spend A LOT of time alone, and it’s often by choice. However, I’m recovering from disordered eating, so I can’t tell if this is “normal” or not. Would you consider doing a follow-up post discussing the feedback you receive/advice? Have a great day!
Natasha recently posted..Homemade make-up remover!

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124 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hi Natasha, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my rambles :) I think it’s a great idea to do a follow-up… i do have a lot more to say on this now after reading other people’s comments especially. So yes, a follow up is necessary!

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125 Amy @ Turtle-speed Runner March 6, 2012 at 3:06 am

I was a little worried about writing a lengthy comment then saw some of your other comments ;)
I can relate in so many ways… but I’m not sure mine completely began with my ED… mainly because my social anxiety disorder came first – and obviously your post deals with issues that can be related to both ED’s and social anxiety!
To give perspective…
I was diagnosed with my social anxiety back in the middle of high school (back in 1999… yes I feel old now!) and before that I can mainly remember being bossy. I think the social anxiety kicked in at the beginning of high school. I was extremely withdrawn (I had pretty severe anxiety) to the point of only having one friend the entirety of high school and being bullied for “not talking” – which obviously just made it worse. Anyway I saw a therapist after the diagnosis and made leaps and bounds – in the last year of high school I started going to parties, making friends and discovered alcohol. I was no alcoholic – but once I discovered that alcohol could turn me into a fun, bubbly, friendly person who TALKED TO PEOPLE…. I would binge drink most weekends. I got so many compliments when I would drink! “You’re so funny, Amy!”… how could I Not? I became known as a party animal.
Anyway that was just to give perspective. But drinking alcohol taught me I could be liked and I gradually opened up more as a sober person too.
Then the eating disorder hit, and I became much more like you described in this post, and many of the symptoms I used to feel before with my social anxiety also came right back…. so back to the topic!!! Yes I can relate, but it’s even more confusing because I don’t know how much is my own personality (which was lost somewhere back when I was 11?!), from social anxiety, or from my eating disorder?!?!?!
I also feel boring as hell and that I don’t have much to offer much of the time :( AND had the friend at 13 who dropped me for not being “cool” ;)

Girl, you have some serious talent for bringing people’s stories out in their comments to you. I don’t even write about this stuff in my blog!!!!!
Amy @ Turtle-speed Runner recently posted..I can walk without limping!!!

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126 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hahaha nopeee not length at all Amy, and I really appreciate you sharing your personal story and thoughts on all of this! It really means a lot that you were honest and brave enough to say all of this here! I am just as confused as you are here..and it’s understandable how you are feeling because of your experience in high school! I just have to keep pondering and figuring this out, and you can too, and perhaps we can both get to the bottom of this :)

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127 Sophie @ Love Live & Learn March 6, 2012 at 5:10 am

Tessa, you are going to be okay. I promise!

You and I have a fair amount in common and the things you have spoken about in this post are all things that I can 100% relate to. I prefer to be alone for a large chunk of the day, I don’t really go out very often, I am basically quite introverted. But you know what I think? I think that when you experience something as life-changing as an eating disorder, depression, an illness of some other kind, a severe injury, becoming disabled, etc… It is going to CHANGE you! That’s just how life works! How can a person go through something as difficult as that and NOT CHANGE.

I’m not saying I think you shouldn’t push yourself to spend time with other people, relationships are a very important part of life and can really contribute to our happiness. However, I really do think that it is perfectly okay to be introverted, to prefer to spend a large part of your day alone, to enjoy being on your own. I never really do things in huge groups of people, I genuinely don’t enjoy it, I much prefer to meet up one on one, or in smaller groups. I have never had a friendship circle of more than about 10 people. I’d much much rather meet a friend for coffee and a good chat for a couple of hours than go out clubbing or going to huge parties!

As for the feelings of no self worth, I truly understand. I was treated like complete dirt at some points between the ages of 12-15 and it has shattered my self-confidence. I still have very poor self esteem as a result. Rebuilding your self confidence takes years, it just can’t happen quickly. And for me personally, I will never be as trusting as I was, I’m much more wary of people now. But I promise that putting yourself out there, just a little bit, will really help. And as you develop relationships with people and you realise they genuinely want to spend time with you, you will rebuild your self-confidence!

Love you you wonderful, kind, caring and beautiful woman <3

p.s. Oh and Tessa? One day a fantastic guy will come and sweep you off your feet, I promise! It will just happen when you least expect it ;-)
Sophie @ Love Live & Learn recently posted..March Goals + Coffee.

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128 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Great points here Sophie… I mean yes so true! A mental illness to this extent really will change a person! It’s such an emotional experience that how could it not result in something drastic? I do need to give myself a nudge every so often, I know that is true despite not really wanting to.
And girl, I hope to find a man in my life that will love me for who I am… I am so happy you have found one :)

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129 Deborah March 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

You are not alone in this! Everything you said, I was just nodding my head in agreement! Do not keep on thinking it is you! Those of us who are more prone to eating disorders are also more prone to being hard on ourselves in every area of our lives. Eating disordered individuals are WAY TO HARD ON THEMSELVES! We think that there is always something wrong with US. Other people, when they lose friends, would just look at it as either…..”Well its their (the no-longer friend’s) loss”…or “life just changes and therefore friends change…I’ll just go find another!” But when you already are a person who blames yourself for everything…..we say “It must be ME! I am flawed and they don’t like who I AM!” Don’t believe for a second that it is YOU who needs to change or become something else in order for more people to like you (that is falling back into ED territory…changing ourselves for others to like/accept us). Also…you would not have 100′s of followers if you were not a likable person. :D
Deborah recently posted..I don’t struggle as much.

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130 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm

It really has been a bit of a relief knowing I am not the only one with this… all of these comments, yours included have been incredibly helpful! And you raise a good point here, I am very hard on myself as are several other victims of this disease. I can’t help it sometimes, I feel like if I am not hard on myself, things will never get done! But yeah, not always a positive thing. You are so kind with this comment, thank you Deborah

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131 Brittany March 6, 2012 at 8:38 am

I’m just an outside perspective chiming in! I love your honesty and you write in a way that so many people can relate. As I was reading this post, I noticed you tend to answer your own questions. I think it’s fair to assume, you aren’t happy with your current routine. Is there a way you could focus on making one small change at a time? Setting one small goal to aim for? Perhaps make it a point to meet up with a friend once a month, or once a week for a meal. Challenge yourself to take a risk and do something outside your comfort zone. I work at a middle school and tell the students I work with, if it’s not working try something different, if it is working, do more of it. It sounds like you really have fond memories of the past, but its time to make more fond memories NOW! It’s within your reach! Good luck.

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132 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

Thank you for chiming in Brittany! I appreciate and listen to all and every bit of advice. Setting one small goal could be something that is quite helpful for me… it also allows me to not become too overwhelmed by starting small. That kind of goal-making can be applied in countless aspects of life. I bet you are a wonderful teacher, I would like to hear that told to me! I would have internalized it at that time in my life :)

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133 Tina @ Best Body Fitness March 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Wow. What a thought provoking post. I think its normal to need alone time and enjoy it more than a big crowd outing…but, like you mentioned, it’s important to have interaction and to be aware if the desire for solitude stems from a desire of control and not allowing other people to impact your decisions. I guess, like all things in life, we have to seek out an optimal balance. Hugs to you for putting this out there!
Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..Starting the Day Off Right

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134 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

Thank you for your thoughts here Tina… I know I need to keep seeking the balance, but now I just have to figure out what that means for myself

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135 Michelle @ Blogitness March 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

I probably spend about 95 percent of my weekdays alone. I work from home and a majority of my interactions with people are via e-mail. I run errands alone, eat alone and pretty much live my weekdays alone! Some nights and most of the weekend, I spend with the guy. But honestly, I enjoy being a solo character during the week!
Michelle @ Blogitness recently posted..Couponing and Saving Money

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136 Liz @ IHeartVegetables March 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

Haha so I actually don’t like being alone hardly EVER!!! I’m such a people person. I really don’t require much me-time (or down time at all!) haha
Liz @ IHeartVegetables recently posted..The Best Pizza in Richmond

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137 sarah (onedayiwillseethesun) March 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

hands up to you hun, for firstly admitting to this. I can wholeheartily relate to this, I think the ed would tell me that I didn’t need any friends that anorexia was my only friend. cause lets face it, it gave me want I wanted; security, never let me down, a sense of belonging, something that sort of at the time made me happy. However this was obiusoly short lived. I like you had a social life before, would often go out clubbing eating cheesy chips and bbq sauce, drinking sugary drinks. but then the ed got worse and I never went out, I became secluded, I spent time in and out of units and gradually friendships were lost. However…. their is a light to the end of this.

I did, and am managing to do more things. The best thing I ever did was go back to college, I found what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted my life back. I wanted to have fun. it started gradually, I’m not saying I have a full social life now. but you can get these things back. A few suggestions you like to exercise, running etc why don’t you try joining a running group? I think in my case its hard to find people with similar intersts as didnt particulary enjoy clubbing, drinking, but I love dto exercise,a dn it has been a cruical part of my recovery.

Tessa you are very young, and have many happy prosperous years ahead of you. I am 25 I know its not old but I am actually in my first relationship, I am going to university to get a career.

I can relate to your *perfect day* as sadly that perfect day is still my ideal day, going for a long cycle ride burning loads of calories, and being able to eat which I know is wrong. But I think full recovery will come with time.

sorry for going on a bit.

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138 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Please do not apologize for going on here Sarah… in fact I really appreciate you being so honest and sharing more about your story. I am thrilled for you, that you have gone back to school and are finding the joy in life once again. That is amazing and inspirational, I mean this.

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139 Tara March 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I can relate 100%!! I’ve definitely gotten much better, but high school has pretty much been a very antisocial experience for me because I lost a lot in the beginning because of my eating disorder. I’m looking for a fresh new start on that in college! I used to avoid going out due to fear of food and pressure to eat – I would actually bring luna bars to sleep overs so I could eat them instead of the cookies my friends were eating – and not being able to exercise. Since I spent my first two years of high school like that, I didn’t make friends, and now I’m just in limbo. When I do go out with people I enjoy it now, but I don’t get invited to do a lot because of the time I wasted not getting to know people. It’s a shame, but I’m thankful I’m able to start over soon!
Tara recently posted..Seven Things Sunday

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140 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I think your attitude towards college is fantastic and know that it will take you far there… and allow you to have the best possible experience!

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141 Lindsey @ Cardio Pizza March 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I know how you feel. When I struggled with food and body image I constantly just wanted to be alone and to not be bothered. However, when I conquered my disordered ways, my priorities changed. Now I love being with others, especially with eating meals. It will get better, I can tell you that. When you begin to learn how to get rid of the thoughts and behaviors, you will feel this shift in how you interact with people. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt more alive. I still enjoy alone time (I think that’s normal) but I don’t have this desire to always be alone.

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142 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Thank you for this Lindsey… it is incredibly helpful to hear that it could and will get better!

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143 Allie March 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I definitely ride solo most of time, and I do sometimes wonder if it’s because I’m just the solitary sort or if it’s because it’s sometimes just easier to push everyone away. As with everything, it’s all about finding balance, but finding the right balance and trusting your ability to tell what is the healthy/enjoyable amount and which is the uh-oh amount…ehhh, not so easy.

And ketchup on salad is totally legit.

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144 caloricandcrazy March 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Wow Tessa, what you just wrote is EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling. It’s been like that for me since about the end of senior year of high school till now (at least to the point where I am aware of it). I’m thinking about writing about my own experience with it on my blog when I have time…but wow! Yes, it seems like everything I do is done ALONE, even though I am around people!

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145 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I would love to hear your own experience on this!

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146 Mitch March 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I can totally relate to your post. I may not have an ED, but I can absolutely relate to wanting to be alone. In fact, this weekend I am thrilled I have the apartment to myself and plan to be a shut in. I am not normally wanting to be away from society, but there is a need. However, reading one of the posts above, I do agree that you should try to be social when you feel you’re able. I have also went through my fair share of rejection throughout my life, and perhaps when you have recovered and everything normalizes for you… you will be able to see that there will be people you should focus your energy on (positive energy, that is) and those that should be left behind that are not conducive to who you are today. Reading your blog, it sounds like you have an idea of who you WANT to be and don’t like who are you at this moment in time, and I applaud you for that. Admitting you want to change that aspect of your life (like anything else) is the hardest part. Good luck with becoming more social and with your continued recovery :)

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147 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Hi Mitch, thank you for your thoughts here! A part of me definitely does want to change and understanding that is the first step, that is for sure!

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148 laura March 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I am so thankful that you wrote this. It’s very open , honest, and real,as all of your posts are.I feel like I am experiencing basically the same thing as you. I truly value and enjoy time spent with others, especially new friends that, yet those times are not very frequent. I do spend most days alone, yet still surrounded by people in a university environment. I know I’m independent but I still wish I had more real connections on a daily basis. I hope with time we both will be able to push ourselves out there !
<3
laura recently posted..Happy March!

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149 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I agree, it might take some time and we of course must make the effort!

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150 Helene @healthyfrenchie March 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I somehow stumbled upon our blog and saw your post. I was trying not to tear up at work. I am an ED survivor and I can really relate to what you wrote. While I was in university I was in doing the same thing as you. But I had issue with bulimia so I would stay home either to eat small controlled portion or I would just binge. I am know more at peace with myself. And part of my isolation had to do with my disorder, part was to do wit me being an introvert. I like spending time with my friends but I need a lot of alone time (or just with my partner). I don’t enjoy myself as much in big groups, I prefer seeing my good friends in small groups for a couple of hours, then go home and enjoy peace and quiet.
It might be easier for you to spend some time with people when you are not pressurized to eat, drink or anything.. Also, I found if I isolate myself too much I get depressed.. It’s a hard balance to find when you’re not a big extrovert
Helene @healthyfrenchie recently posted..Taking care of my health

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151 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hi Helene…
Thank you so very much for stopping by and also commenting! I really appreciate you sharing your story here as well… you certainly gave me a lot to think about

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152 Cinnamon Girl March 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I do the same exact thing. Your description of going to B&N = my dream night. Its hard to tell when you’ve had an ED for a while what is and is not from it. Obviously skipping a meal or snack is ED but the nuanced things are harder to tell. Maybe its a combination of both- your personality changed as you were old and ED interferred? That’s what I like to think in my case. Its not as though I am unhappy being alone in my room right now, or anything. I just feel comfortable.

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153 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I think you could be right.. that it is a combination of the two! I like the way you phrased this, that you are just comfortable. Maybe that is simply what I need right now

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154 Sara @my less serious life March 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

in college, i had exactly this same schedule. a perfect saturday for me was exactly as you described – including the barnes and noble part!! i am still a solitary person – no doubt – but i have to force myself to be, often. and – left to my own devices i will spend most of my time alone. the reason? like you there is an eating disorder past and lost friendships. i dont really know. not sure it will ever change for me…one day at a time. thanks for sharing.

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155 Katie March 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I will always need and want to be alone, but to be honest? When I want to be alone the most is when I KNOW I am falling apart with my ED. I am incredibly lonely and somedays I NEED that hug and someone saying it’s OK, but I am not willing to put my issues on to someone else so I stay alone. I am the opposite I don’t think they are the problem or they will hurt me, I think I will hurt them and they don’t deserve that. Who wants to be with someone who can’t keep their shit together? Don’t get me wrong I’m an introvert I will ALWAYS need my alone time, but I think the extreme is the eating disorder that need to be surrounded only by control.

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156 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Hi Katie… I appreciate your opinion on this! Right now, it’s hard for me tell how much of the ED influences this.. but I am working on understanding it, that is for sure!

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157 Colleen March 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Im late responding to this, but I read it Mon. I cannot relate to your isolation, but I actually envy it! I’m leading/teaching/socializing from 4am-8pm. Seriously, there are some days that I am never alone. Ever. You should not stress/worry about our intentional isolation, though. If you truly enjoy it then that’s ok!!

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158 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Wowww I might be tempted to kill people at the end of the day! haha… uhh did I just say that out loud ;)

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159 Cheryl @ happy is the new healthy March 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Good for you for noticing this. Yet again I can totally relate. In fact, lots of my friends would applaud me for being so independent. I live alone, have no problem going shopping or even to the movies alone, etc. But I also was really bad at sharing mealtimes, especially with anyone, or workouts. They might judge me, mess up my routine, or notice my obsessiveness and habits, is what I used to think. Now I legitimately seek out opportunities to share my meals with other people (eating in a group gets easier the more I do it) and try to find a workout buddy for lots of my training.

I know you’re figuring this stuff out — keep up the good work!
Cheryl @ happy is the new healthy recently posted..Getting sweaty

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160 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Thank you Cheryl, and that is wonderful to hear you have gotten better about this as well!

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161 Jaclyn @ JustJac March 7, 2012 at 2:37 am

Tessa,
HI! First time reader here :)
I wanted to give you my two cents because what you wrote about isolation and “Being alone” totally resonated with me! I too have wondered is it me or is it ED.. wanting to do EVERYTHING alone. I have to tell you, I have come a long way in the past few months.. now I love having people around. Not all the time of course, but I am so much more social, outgoing and EXCITED about life. Good luck girlie! <3

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162 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 6:28 am

Hi Jaclyn! I am so thrilled for you with getting better! This is amazing girl and keep it up :)

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163 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot March 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

I linked back to this post from your WIAW post and just had to comment because this post gave me goosebumps with how I have similar isolation issues… Mine also go back to 4th grade when I had a group of friends that I used to do everything with and then the other two decided I was “not cool enough” for them and started to pick on me and tell lies about me. I used to go to school in tears. Fast forward a few years later to college and the EXACT SAME THING happened with two other friends and another similar situation with a unrelated third friend. Add all this together and I don’t know HOW to trust friends/people anymore. I hate to feel so opposed to making friends but it’s so hard when you have been hurt so bad! I also spend all of my time alone or with my sister but at the same time know I need to branch out again but I am just not able to yet… Maybe someday we will both get there? Keep up the good posts!

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164 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi Kinley, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts here! I am so sorry you had rough experiences with crazy females as well… so not nice :( I really do believe that someday we will both reach a comfortable point for ourselves!

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165 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions March 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

Just now got around to reading this post, hence the somewhat late comment.

I don’t know if anyone else brought this up in the comments or not, but in my eyes there almost seems to be a little bit of contradiction in what you’re saying. I understand that you prefer to be isolated in “real life,” but you do seem to be one of the most open and honest bloggers I’ve encountered (and, judging by the numbers of comments you get on your posts, I’m guessing you have a decent readership), which seems to be the opposite of isolation to me. Obviously this is a relatively safe environment where you can be more open and honest about things, because I imagine a good number of people who read your blog are supportive of your journey towards health and genuinely want to see you overcome your disordered eating tendencies. But do you think there could be any correlation between getting all of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings out in this manner (and getting a good amount of social interaction through blogging) and not feeling a need to spend time with people in the “real world”? I know for me, I spent a lot of time alone sophomore year…almost all of my time, in fact. I did nearly everything by myself. While I certainly didn’t enjoy it AT ALL, thus putting me in a bit of a different situation than you, I did find myself using the computer as a substitute for face-to-face, “normal” social interaction, which is why I bring that up. Obviously I don’t want to discourage you from blogging, because it seems to me like this has been a fantastic outlet for you. Just something to think about.
Bethany @ Accidental Intentions recently posted..Blown Away

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166 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hi Bethany,
No one has brought this up … and I am very interested in what you have to say here. Not entirely sure how to comment either. Oh and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all what you are saying! But yeah, definitely something to consider. Thank you for providing me with some food for thought!

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167 G March 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I really can relate to this. I completely isolated everyone even my family and i thought everyone was against me. Now having slowly still trying to go through it all i feel like a blank canvas, i know nothing or who i am or what i was before this all happened. feel like i dont even remember the old me.

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168 tessa8m March 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hi G, I do understand this feeling.. you could think of it as a way of starting over in a sense… and embracing the person that you have come to be

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169 Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats March 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I can relate to your thoughts here. I still struggle with the same things. I am typically by myself and I always seem to be productive and make the most of my time but it makes me wonder if I am truly happy. I just feel like I am not in to the same things as many other people our age. I don’t really have any desire to go out and get shit faced every weekend and I think that has a lot to do with my disordered eating struggles. I used to love partying, going out with friends, and just being a happy go lucky girl. On occasion, I still do those things but it is definitely pretty rare. I talk to my family every day on the phone but I don’t have to worry about spending time with them physically because they live five hours away. Since I just moved, I don’t really have many friends here yet. In a way, that just feeds me isolating myself even more because it is kind of scary to just branch out there and meet people–especially when most people are age are doing the whole club/bar scene thing. On my work days, I feel like I have no time for myself because I leave at 6:30 AM and don’t get home until about 8 PM. I think my personality has definitely changed. I think I have grown and matured a lot. I feel like this is a good thing though because I used to be a bitch on wheels. I have done some very hurtful things to people in the past that I definitely regret. I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to offer others that I have met in life so far because I think that they think that I am weird because I don’t like to party all the time and stuff like that. I hope this comment doesn’t seem like word vomit. lol.
Abby @ Abz ‘n’ Oats recently posted..wiaw—work style

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170 Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee March 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I feel the same way, like ever since my eating disorder, which definitely isolated me from everybody else, I’ve had trouble re-connecting and even now I have insecurities. It stinks so much. If you come up with a way to fix it, let me know please!
Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee recently posted..Fancy recipes + Runway-inspired sets

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171 Erin April 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I recently found your blog, though I’d heard the name before, and started reading through lots of your older posts! Ps. I’m pretty sure we were on the same swim team for a short time. Anyway, this post speaks hugely to me… you pretty much summed up my life. Down to the childhood/middle school rejection, high school spontaneity, and eating disorder isolation that’s impossible to understand… I guess it really is true that “we” all have something in common. My therapist says that all the time haha. Thank you for your honest and insightful posts!

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172 tessa8m April 3, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hi Erin!
When were we on the same swim team? I am glad to hear this post helped you out in anyway at all.. it really is incredibly comforting you are not alone in all of this

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173 tessa8m March 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I will be home before you move (thank the lawddd) so we will meet up during May! Plus it will be warmerrrr :)

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