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you are not alone

“Life is Difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly see that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.  They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others.  I know about this moaning because I have done my share…” M. Scott Peck –The Road Less Traveled

I think something that is hard to remember is that life is not necessarily supposed to be easy. It’s pretty hard. It’s hard for everyone because we all have to deal with life, death, pain and suffering on some level.    Sure, there are some people who seem to have it easier than others, but of course it’s all relative.  A client of mine was once discussing how awful it was for him to have depression when people in third world countries were suffering without food, clothes, and water. It’s true, but of course they’re not suffering existential crises. We all suffer, though we all suffer differently. It’s the first noble truth- Life means Suffering.

But that’s okay, because we don’t suffer alone. We all deal with the very human dilemma of being human.

I bring this all up because I’ve noticed in the past few years,  how many of my clients get really depressed about Facebook. “Everyone is so happy. They have all their pictures up of their dogs and their boyfriends and their girlfriends and they look so good and their status updates sound so exciting…” But they’re suffering.  Most people don’t update their facebook profile with:

Lulu Smith feels like crap this morning because she woke up with a horrible hangover, a gigantic pimple on her nose, hasn’t had a date in 7 months and her favorite pair of jeans are too tight and ripped in the crotch last night while at a bar with her 4 gorgeous co-workers who got hit on while she was ignored the whole night.

It might look something more like this: Lulu Smith thinks raisin bran is a pretty awesome way to start the day. Two Scoops! Woot! Awesome night with my girls last night 🙂

No matter how Lulu looks or feels, she probably won’t post a picture of herself looking tired, with her hair unruly and gigantic nose pimple and the rip in her crotch. We somehow want people to see us at our best. Even when we aren’t there, even when we’re not in the vicinity. This causes each and every one of us to forget that we are not suffering alone. So many of us feel so isolated in our pain because we feel as though we are the only ones who are having a crappy day (or week or month or year)!

One of the things to remember is that you are not the only person who is suffering. You are not alone. When you feel as though everyone is the world is happy, doing great and you’re the only one who is struggling with food, with work, with money, with a relationship (or lack thereof), with lack of confidence… whatever it is, someone very close to you is suffering as well. It might be the person who seems to have it all, the perfect relationship, perfect body, perfect skin, hair teeth,  tons of money, tons of friends… but each one of us suffers uniquely. It can be so isolating to feel as though you are the only one with problems, but next time you are feeling sad and alone, pick up the phone and call someone you love and trust. They might not be suffering at the same time as you, but trust me, they’ve suffered at some time in their life and want to give you love and support.

Isolation is a huge part of eating disorders, in recovery, one of the best ways to break out of the cycle is to reach out for human contact. You don’t have to be alone with your thoughts, your fears, your problems and food.

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