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January 4, 2019

Confronting “Ed”—a.k.a. my Eating Disorder.

 

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Ed knocked on my door yesterday, and I foolishly opened it.

I did not intend to let him in.

Cracking open the door to see what he wanted, a little voice inside my head told me not to open that door, but habits are hard to break as many of you know.

Sometimes when Ed comes calling, I tell him that I do not have time to talk or sometimes I can tell right away he is up to no good, and I slam the door in his face.

Yesterday, I saw his intent was harm, yet I hesitated, and he took that opportunity to wedge his shoulder into the door frame and push his way in.

In all truthfulness, I know that when Ed comes knocking that it only means one thing, and that is that he wants to hurt me. Ed is not my friend and he does not belong to me, nor is he a part of me.

Ed is the eating disorder that has lived inside my head rent free for far too long.

So why do I still open the door a crack out of curiosity?

When I am feeling strong, I slam it in his face and get a sense of satisfaction. But when I am weak and tired, I practically bow my head in submission as he waltzes in. Knowing consciously that I have limited defenses on those days, I still take the risk and turn that doorknob.

Yesterday, I took a stand. Sure, he walked in the door and before I knew it, he was telling me what to do in his manipulative, bossy manner. “Binge! It will make you feel so much better!” he said, and I complied. Next, he said “You’re disgusting. Now you need to purge all that food. Throw it up!”

Then, I remembered all the hard work I have done to get out of this abusive relationship, and I fought back.

This is a step in the right direction although it was hard for me to see in the moment. I did have the strength to stop the binge from escalating, and I chose to not complete the cycle through purging. I reminded myself repeatedly that this is the pattern of abuse that Ed thrives on. He loves to tell me what to do to make myself feel better, then instantly jumps on me to tell me how much I messed up. A vicious cycle, in which any sort of positive feelings, are met a million times over with negative feelings.

Yesterday, I chose me and not Ed.

I did self-care, which is the last thing I ever feel like doing after a binge. Despite feeling gross and disgusting, I treated myself to a pedicure and positive self-affirmations as I stood in front of the mirror last night. I treated myself with the kindness and empathy that I would bestow upon someone I love.

I did exactly what Ed did not want me to do.

Perhaps the most spectacular thing I did for myself that day was have a sit-down chat with Ed and tell him he was no longer allowed to come knocking at my door. I was getting a restraining order, and he would have to stay hundreds of yards away from me. There is no way to physically tell if Ed keeps his distance, but I can picture it in my head. I can put up that mental image of him, so I know if he is creeping in.

I will be even more prepared next time he appears, and I know how to be prepared. If I lose a battle with him, it is because I choose to let him get to close to begin with.

If I happen to let him in, then I must reaffirm my path. I must examine not only my behaviors and thoughts regarding Ed, but also my behaviors and thoughts regarding myself to determine what happens internally that makes me succumb to Ed.

Only through this continued self-evaluation will I be able to turn Ed away for good.

I now have the upper hand with Ed.

Soon he will no longer come knocking at my door.

 

 

Megan Snyder

author: Megan Snyder

Image: Jurica Koletić / Unsplash

Editor: Julie Balsiger

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