One of the most frustrating things about having an Eating Disorder is that no one can truly understand what it is like unless they’ve experienced it for themselves. Words can’t describe how hard it is to battle with a voice screaming inside your head everyday. It is impossible to explain the crippling body image and self-hatred. No one can ever understand why it is such an achievement to complete three meals a day, or how eating three meals a day can be such a challenge. It is hard to explain why the idea of some foods fill you with fear.
What is even more frustrating, is that people don’t seem to understand that just because someone isn’t tied to a hospital bed or painfully skinny, it doesn’t mean that the hard work is over. Life doesn’t go straight back to normal. Anorexia is an illness not just a ‘blip’ or a phase. Sure, my life is easier than it was six months ago. But I still have to fight. I can’t let my guard down. I still hear Ed every day.
Unfortunately one of my good friends at Uni is also one of my biggest triggers. In the past, my eating disorder compared me to her and used her as a way of torturing me to eat less, run further, run raster, eat even less, run even further. It isn’t her fault. I don’t blame her. I don’t blame anyone – it is part of my illness.
I am now living with said friend at University and this week Ed has been particularly loud. My friend enjoys exercise and has a very “healthy” life style. I don’t expect her to live her life any differently just because of my illness. I can’t stop her running and start her eating more. But that doesn’t deny the fact that living next to the running, the light dinners and the copious amounts of soup at mealtimes isn’t a massive trigger. I feel like a recovering alcoholic living in a brewery.
I am trying my best to put things into place to keep myself safe but it seems to have just resulted in me hardly spending any time with her. It feels selfish. I am being made to feel like a bad friend.
However, I am trying to remember that these are just things I need to do to stay safe. As I have been told a million times before, I am responsible for my own recovery. I am suffering with an illness, and I need to keep on treating it. Although I wish people could be more understanding, I need to remember that no one without an Eating Disorder will ever understand. I am learning that it is my responsibility to steer clear of triggers. I can’t expect people to change for me. I am not being a bad friend, I am being responsible. My recovery is my responsibility.
I don’t want to loose my friend, but this fight has been to damn hard to risk loosing now. I can’t go back to a life with Ed and I can’t let Ed win.
I hope my friend will be able to see that it is not her who I am fighting, it is Ed.