This was the first time I met Ed, the voice who, unbeknownst to me, would make my life a living hell, who told me that everything would be better if I just could rid myself of the little extra that had pushed me over the edge. I slipped silently into the small bathroom and locked the door behind me. As I lifted up the toilet cover, I could feel my heart leaping from my chest.
“Just this once.” he whispered.
Months later and it’s still happening, sometimes as many as four times a day. I want to stop, I want to tell Ed to leave me alone, but I feel helpless; I’m so weak and confused. During “the secrecy”, as I often think of it now, the time that I kept the truth hidden even from myself, I was consumed by the disease and the little voice in my head who convinced me that what I was doing was okay.
Finally, he said, I had something to excel in; Ben may have been the smartest, Mel the fastest, Mara the most artistic, and Deanna the prettiest, but Ed had helped me create my own identity. I was the thinnest, and what a joy it was to finally achieve perfection in the expectant eyes of those around me.
Despite this adulterated joy, during the fleeting moments when I acknowledged what was really happening, I couldn’t help but feel scared. What was going to happen to me when I was found out? How would I cope with losing the identity I had molded so desperately and dangerously for myself to fill the dense void within?
When I was inevitably outed, I started to grapple with these exact questions. Because I was ready to choose recovery, I recognized that I would no longer be able to listen to Ed’s alluring voice telling me that my worth must be determined by being thinnest or eating the healthiest or working out the most, and that it was time for me to invent a new identity for myself, but it has been easier said than done.
I had let Ed’s voice narrate my life for so long that I struggled to find my own, healthy voice again among the destructive chatter.
It has been nearly three years since I decided to stop letting Ed control my life and even now, some days are far from easy. I often struggle on a minute-to-minute basis to make healthy choices, but I have come to accept this as part of my life path.
The most difficult part of choosing recovery was that I had no one to turn to for support; Ed had become my best and only friend. If I was stressed, anxious, upset, or angry, I turned to Ed for support, and he, in an effort to keep me bound to his toxic wishes, told me I needed him and showed me how to cope in unhealthy ways.
I hope to eventually come to a point in my life where I no longer use the present tense in talking about my eating disorder; I believe that there will come a day when I can say with confidence that I am recovered, but until then I’ve chosen to speak out about harsh reality of eating disorders in order to show others who are struggling they are not alone in the battles with the voice within.