Living with an eating disorder is not really living at all. It is not even really existing. What it is, is dying. But it is not quick and to the point. It is slow and torturous, and yet all too fast at the same time. It is constant pain and agony, mixed with this unexplainable desire to spiral further and further into the darkness. But it is more than that; it is not just a captivating whirlwind of death and dying. While those who suffer are dying, the life that was once in them is simultaneously being stolen and used to fuel an entity of pure evil. And the evil, it has a voice.
I know I sound crazy, saying that an eating disorder can speak—but that is the thing, it is crazy. It is irrational. Eating disorders do not make sense; they feed off of lies and those who have fallen captive to the lies. This is why eating disorders are so hard to explain, because not even those who suffer from them can quite put into words the entity that drives the disorder, but I will try my best.
From the years I have spent in therapy and treatment centers, the most valuable piece of insight I have learned to fight my disorder is to personify it and give it a name. So I, along with many others, have named my eating disorder, Ed. You see, Ed is not real, but when I was sick, he was the only thing I had ever been so sure of. Ed hisses lies and threatening commands into your ears. He tells you you are fat, worthless, and ugly, but he promises you, that if you just follow his simple rules that one day you will not feel the pain you do. And you are so desperate, so desperate to feel joy again, to feel anything, that you listen to him, no matter how little logic he uses. And the more you obey him, the more sense his lies start to make.
Ed is unrelenting, terrible, and LOUD. Oh gosh, is he loud. He is so loud that even if you want to hear truth, if you want to break free, that you cannot hear anything anyone is trying to tell you because you are drowning in the shrieks of his anger. Once you start to figure him out, and you start to realize that maybe he is not all he promised you he was, it seems like it is too late. His screeching voice makes you crumble and you would do anything to quiet him down. The paradox that is Ed though, is that what you want is for him to quiet down so you can disobey him, but the more you disobey, the louder he gets, and the more obedient you are, the quieter he becomes. So you see, when you have the strength to fight, he is too loud to hear the outside world. But when you are too weak to fight, he quiets down because he knows there is nothing you can do.
Or so he thinks. And this is where the key to the cage he has you locked in becomes visible. There is one thing in this world louder than the voice of Ed. One and only one thing. And he will not tell you this, because he knows that with this you have the power to step into the freedom you deserve. But he is not the one talking right now, I am. And I’m going to tell you exactly what it is.
The only thing that is louder than the voice of an eating disorder is the voice of LOVE.
And that my friends, is the way out of the suffering and the way into the light of life. It is simple, but complex. You see love is so powerful that once you start to show yourself love, and accept love from others, the healing you experience is unbelievable. It’s transformative, and it creates miracles where all hope had been lost. But Ed is smart, tricky, and conniving. As a means to keep you stuck, the biggest most convincing lie Ed will whisper to you is that you are unloved, unlovable, and unworthy of any love at all. And man, is he convincing. He screams hate at the top of his lungs so loudly that we start to become the hate ourselves. We radiate self-hate, and any love that comes our way ricochets off our force field of perceived worthlessness so that it cannot soak in to our hearts.
But love is gentle, and patient, and kind. And most importantly love does not give up. No matter how many times or how hard you show hate to the love that is shown to you, love will not back down. Love will just keep coming back, louder, and with new strategies. If you slam the door in love’s face, it will come in through the window.
Hate is powerful, but hate has a limit. Hate can only grow so big, only be so loud… before it plateaus. And love, love knows no boundaries. So if you hold on to even a single thread of hope- that love will someday find you where you are at; it certainly will. Love will meet you right where you are, and love will bring you home.
Love is louder than the voice of your eating disorder ever will be. And if you keep fighting, eventually love will fight for you, and most of all, love. it will set you free. And you, dearly beloved, deserve to be free.