When I was a little girl, she was just a small voice inside my head. Kind of like the devil on my shoulder that you’d see in a cartoon.
She told me to break the rules of our household just to get food for my binges. She taught me how to hide the food wrappers so my behavior wouldn't be discovered. She told me she was my friend, and that unlike the other people in my life, she was the only one who would never leave me.
All I had to do was binge and restrict.
Edie told me she was the most loyal, that she would always be around even if others were busy. That’s how she crept into my life, by pretending to be the perfect friend.
As we grew up, Edie got louder and had more to say. She also got a hell of a lot meaner, if you ask me. Her new thing was to tell me how no one would ever love me because I was too fat to be loved.
I’ve read stories from other people in recovery who struggle with anorexia or bulimia, and it seems like their Ed voice often tells them they are fat when they aren't As a person with Binge Eating Disorder, my Edie used the fact that I was overweight to tell me all kinds of lies.
She told me I was the fattest person ever. When a person looked at me, Edie would whisper, “They’re seeing how fat you are, and they are disgusted by you.” Edie also used my weight against me to prevent me from getting help.
I had a feeling for many years that I had an eating disorder, but any time I thought about it, Edie said, “That’s ridiculous! You’re too fat to have an eating disorder. The only thing wrong with you is that you aren't listening to me.”
Of course, I now know that eating disorders occur in all kinds of people who are of various body sizes.
The big turning point for me in my relationship with Edie was when I realized that her voice did not have to be my voice.
When I realized that my eating disorder had its own voice and that I did not have to constantly obey it, big changes started happening. I began to look at Edie as another person inside my head.
I know, I know. This is the kind of thing that makes people think we are crazy. I mean, hearing voices? But until you do it for yourself, you have no idea how much it helps.
I began to see Edie as a mean-spirited person that I could talk back to. I didn't have to let her abuse me. I could stand up to her. I could yell at her if I wanted. I could curse her out and not feel badly about it. She did not have a right to live inside my body anymore.
This body belonged to me, and my mind belonged to me.
I had the right to decide how I was going to be treated, and how I would treat myself.
Today, I am two years into my recovery. I still hear Edie and sometimes I even let her make me feel guilty about food.
But every day, the healthy voice in my head gets stronger and louder. I am able to talk back to Edie more often, and she’s quieted down.
Talking back to Edie reminds me that I am more powerful than my eating disorder. Edie doesn't run my life anymore, and when she pops up, I know I am strong enough to do battle with her. I don’t always win, but I will never stop trying.
I know one day, I will defeat Edie once and for all. Until that day comes, I will replace her voice with one that matters much more: my own.