There is a part of my life that is hard to talk about. I have mentioned it in this space before, but I have be hesitant to go into much detail. It's insanely personal and makes me feel vulnerable. However, I do not think that I am alone with this struggle and I hope that by sharing what I am talking about, I might be able to help someone. The feedback I have already gotten has been so amazing.
Meet ED. ED is my Eating Disorder.
ED has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My therapist suggested I write a letter to ED to let her know how I feel. So here goes:
I have spent my whole life fighting with you. I am done. I do not want to fight anymore. I want to come to terms with who you are and what you are and then take it from there.
I was not a chubby kid, but you made me feel like I was. You skewed the way I looked at myself and made me feel insecure and somehow less than anyone else. You taught me that eating certain foods in certain amounts would be comforting and encouraged me to eat in secret, too. I remember sneaking chocolate chips out of the pantry when I was little and they were semi-sweet. They did not even taste that good but I ate them all. Then the time came when mom needed them to bake and I had to lie that I did not eat them.
You made me a liar, ED! You made me embarrassed and ashamed and sad. Always sad.
When I was in high school, I worked at a grocery store. I could binge eat at home and then go to work and replace what I ate. No one was the wiser. With three kids in the house and three step kids on some weekends, there was always enough food that no one noticed when some of it went missing. Or so I thought. Little Debbie kept me company when I was home alone. Bags of chips filled me up from the inside out when I felt isolated from others. I started to keep people at arms length.
I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was in middle school with the mom of one of my friends. In a group of people, I never felt more alone.
ED, you have cause me so much pain. You have caused doubt and dismay in me.
I refused to visit my brother in college because I was worried that all his friends would think that his sister was too fat. I stuck to activities and people that were safe for me because my weight had become a real issue. I turned to food for everything by then - good or bad.
I hated to look at myself in the mirror. I took laxatives and diet pills. I binged and then I starved myself. I started eating in secret. I was so so sad.
I constantly think that other people are looking at the way my clothes fit me and that is a direct result of you, ED. No one cares! But when you are in my head, I think that the whole world is watching me and judging me. You have made me anxious and paranoid.
I am tired of sneaking food. I am tired of using food as a mechanism to feel better. All it does is make me feel worse! I want my life back, ED, and that means you have to go.
I do not want my daughter to know you, ED. I do not want her to struggle with you. So I have to say goodbye before it's too late for me and for her. She deserves better. And you know what? I do, too.
See you later, ED. Do not write. Do not text. There is no room in my life for you anymore. I am learning new tools to handle stress and anxiety and even happiness and joy that do not include you. Your time with me is over.
Sorry not sorry,
So there you have it. My farewell letter. It may give you some insight into me. It may give you some insight into you or someone you love. Together let's break the silence of eating disorders and the control that they have. One meal at a time. One day at a time.