When I was in the very early stages of my recovery, my good friend S lent be a book by Jenni Schaefer called ‘Life Without Ed’. I read the book front to back in under a week and finishing it marked quite a turning point in my early days of recovery. I started to see my Eating Disorder in a whole new light. The book talked about separating yourself from your Eating Disorder, and seeing it is as a separate thing, or a separate person. That way, it is something you can beat. Something you can fight. And most importantly, something you can gain freedom from and destroy.
Since reading the book I have always treated my Eating Disorder like a separate person. I call him ‘Ed’. I have found separating myself from my eating disorder amazingly helpful. I don’t want to be defined by my anorexia and so seeing it as something separate to myself and as something I can beat gives me the strength to keep fighting, so one day I can live a Life Without Ed.
This evening, after a long day of revision, I sat and watched some TV with my friend. One of my housemates parents had bought us all a lot of revision treats to keep us motivated. I was in the mood for some chocolate and so I had a few biscuits in front of the television. After returning to do some work Ed was shouting in my ear. ‘FIVE, YOU HAD FIVE BISCUITS’, ‘DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, YOU MIGHT GAIN WEIGHT THIS WEEK. HAVE SOME WILL POWER, YOU USED TO BE ABLE TO EAT NONE. NOW YOU’RE PUTTING ALL YOUR HARD WORK TO WASTE BY HAVING FIVE. YOU’RE A USELESS EXCUSE FOR AN ANOREXIC. YOU’RE A BIG FAT FAILURE. YES, FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT. YOU’RE GOING TO BE FAT AND A FAILURE’.
To be quite honest, it is the first time in ages that I have sat and eaten five biscuits in one sitting. I mean, I never do that. It’s not written in my food plan. It’s not what I had planned for this evening’s dessert. But that is where I am wrong. It is Ed who never does that. Ed who hates biscuits. He would never have the odd day where you go over the food plan just because, perhaps, after 9 hours of revision you just fancied it. He is the one with the strict rules who hate’s any kind of freedom. But not ME. I can choose to eat biscuits and enjoy them. I can choose to break the rules Ed gives me. I can choose to be brave and go off the food plan. I can choose to give myself some freedom.
So despite Ed’s screaming voice in my ear this evening, as I see him as a separate person, I can shout back. And I am trying my best to shout louder. So Ed, I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID PLANS FOR ME. I HAVE BETTER AND BIGGER PLANS, AND THEY WILL NEVER HAPPEN WHILE YOU’RE HANGING ABOUT BY MY SIDE. I HAVEN’T FAILED ANY STUIPD PLAN. I HAVEN’T BEEN A WEAKLING. I HAVEN’T LET ANYONE DOWN. AND I DON’T CARE IF I AM A USELESS EXCUSE FOR AN ANOREXIC, BECAUSE GUESS WHAT ED, I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ANOREXIC ANYMORE. WHO THE HELL DOES!? I HAVE JUST WORKED MY ARSE OFF ALL WEEK FOR AN EXAM TOMORROW AND SO I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY, I DESERVED IT. IT’S THE BIGGEST EXAM I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. SO DON’T YOU DARE EVEN TRY AND SCREW IT UP. I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE. I DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE. F**K OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE”.
And on that note, it’s bed time!
p.s. Apologies for the rant.