Author – Laura Muth
International Friendship Day provides a good opportunity to reflect on the friendships in our lives and how important they are. Humans possess an instinctive need to make friends and with good reason; friends can provide physical assistance and emotional support to improve health and well-being.
Friendships become more important than ever when you are going through a hard time, such as suffering from poor mental health. During recovery, it is crucial to maintain friendships however, this can be difficult as you may feel inclined to see your friends less than usual. Eating disorders especially, can be extremely isolating and lonely as certain behavioral elements of your disorder, for example bingeing/purging, cause you to struggle to be around other people.
Unfortunately, research demonstrates that individuals rarely seek social support from others when trying to cope with their eating disorders. However, studies have also demonstrated that social support has been repeatedly shown to facilitate successful management of eating disorders. Subsequently, it is important to remind yourself of how friendships can assist your recovery and overcome the isolation that often comes with your eating disorder.
Tough as it can be at first, talking to close friends during hard times can provide hope, encouragement and nourishment. Friends often believe in you and your recovery even during those times when you don’t believe in yourself.
Although your eating disorder may try to isolate and disconnect from others, remind yourself that the power of love and friendship is much stronger.
“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” – Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr.