Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an increasingly difficult experience dealing with my eating disorder (ED). It seemed as if all my feelings, thoughts, and fears morphed into an inexplicable mess in my head. Those few short days culminated to a point where I felt like my reality became so distorted and clouded by my ED, that I decided to address it directly. By writing a letter from my eating disorder.
A Letter from My Eating Disorder
I knew that writing a letter from my eating disorder would be difficult. But I so desperately wanted to know why I kept acting on behaviors. And why, after doing so well recently, I chose my ED over my recovery. In doing this, I promised myself that when my ED wrote, it would not just make cruel and superficial digs at my appearance and my personality as it so often does. But rather form an explanation or some indication of why it hurts me.
Over the course of two days, I wrote two long letters to myself from my eating disorder. And what was most surprising to me, was the amount of hurt my ED was feeling about my recovery. And the lengths it would go to manipulate and distort my self-esteem in my most vulnerable moments.
What I learned
After writing and receiving these letters, I learned that my ED has given me an intense fear of loneliness. And the belief that I cannot be truly loved unless I act a certain way and look a certain way, and only then will I be accepted by society. I have used my ED to gain some sort of sense and control of these fears. But I have come to a point in my recovery when I’m forced to face these fears and combat them. Therefore combating the core of my disorder. With this knowledge, I plan to write a letter from me to my ED.
I do not want to villainize the ED because it has truly been a savior in my life when I did feel scared and alone in the world. I would like to explain to my ED why I want to recover. And why it’s important to me to let go of my ED, and begin to express myself.
I want to treat my ED as I would any old friend because there is no doubt in my mind that it was once a friend to me. If I don’t validate its fears and feelings that directly reflect my own, then I will keep on this cycle of suppressing my thoughts and therefore bringing up ED with a vengeance as seen through my behaviors.
Eating Disorders develop as coping mechanisms to face our deepest pain and our fears. And I do not wish to add to that pain because that will perpetuate the toxic cycle that keeps my disorder thriving.
I do not want to erase the hurt, pain, and fear, because that is what makes me human.