Where will you be in 10 years if you follow Ed?

A few weeks ago at IOP, A allowed us to forego process group and instead we had a very extended game of “Recovery Jenga.” It’s essentially normal Jenga, but all of the pieces have a question written on the bottom of them. These had a huge range: coping skills, one way you can take care of yourself this week, list positive traits, what is something for/against recovery you’ve done with week, triggers, and some fun ones thrown in. It was more of a light-hearted get to know you, until this question came up. Both the question and answer immediately changed the tone completely (which makes sense considering this is what EDs do as well).

Answer: “Dead.”

This question was given to A,who is recovered from an eating disorder herself. From this viewpoint she can look back on all Ed did to her and how we are affected as well. Her explanation was that if she was still stuck in her eating disorder there was no way she’d make it ten more years. Hearing that was sobering. This isn’t some doctor or dietitian who has only worked with eating disorders. Sure, they could tell you statistics and whatnot, but they haven’t been there. A has and that makes this answer more impactful to me.

Continuing this life if relapse and trusting in Ed for ten years would be miserable. Each day all of my energy would be put into my eating disorder. Presumably, it would require me to give up any and all dreams. The health complications would compound and eventually leave me very sick. Chances are, I would succumb to my eating disorder before the end of a decade..

I am not on my deathbed now. Because this is true I will always have the chance to turn things around. I can fight. I won’t allow myself to be a statistic who gets swallowed up by this disease. It’s time to take back my life and find hope for the future.

Since drafting this post over 2 weeks ago, a sad situation has transpired that makes her answer all the more real. My closest friend I made in residential is currently on the edge of death due to anorexia. It’s hard to comprehend that the hilarious, sweet, spunky, and sarcastic girl I met is quickly fading away. Right now I am praying for a miracle, for anything to get her into recovery.. ❤

Eating disorders kill. Don’t give yours that opportunity.


Well hello there, Ed.

Nope, not referring to some dude I’ve met, a weird uncle, or the older guy at church. This is someone I’ve known for years: my eating disorder. 

This may sound vaguely familiar for those of you who’ve been here since the very beginning. If not, you also may have heard this tactic of naming the eating disorder in the ED community (Jenni Schaeffer books, some treatment centers, etc.) Though I haven’t talked in terms of “Ed” for over 2 years, I did spend the first almost year of treatment doing so.

Forest View was adamant about Ed. We wrote letters to Ed, consistently talked that way in groups. It taught me to separate who I am from my eating disorder for the very first time. If I could see these thoughts weren’t me, that gave me fuel to fight. I needed that. I needed any ounce of motivation and tools to kickstart my recovery.

Naturally, I brought Ed along for the step-down to outpatient therapy. J was supportive of the usage and it helped create progress in discovering who I was beyond my illness. I often would write letters to Ed, sometimes thanking him, others of submission, and sometimes fighting like hell. I wrote up my divorce papers and signed them on December 3, 2014 (one year in recovery from self-harm as well). Whenever the eating disorder voice got loud in session she would respond with “Hello, Ed” to remind me who was really doing the talking.

I’m not sure I would have gotten through those early months had I not used such a drastic change in my view of the disorder.

It ended pretty abruptly when my greatest physical support at the time told me I should stop. She claimed it only was making my eating disorder bigger than it was and giving it more power. Anorexia wasn’t a person and didn’t deserve a name. I listened to her and told J that we no longer were using “Ed.” I trusted this woman so much then and I think that was the main reason I gave in to what she said. I honestly don’t know if that was the right decision or if it was for the right reason, but either way it did happen.

Fast forward to my very first meeting with L. As I later found out, she was a meal support at FV and worked with the “Ed” technique. I hadn’t referred to Ed in over 2 years, so it was a surprise when it came up in our conversation. Even more surprising, I went with it.

I talk and think about Ed every day. One of my assignments, alongside food diaries and thought logs, is to write a short letter to Ed each day. I’ve had many different responses to him. Sometimes I am angry and tell him how much I hate what he does to me. Others it’s the exact opposite with praise for his role in my life. A few days ago I had a very sarcastic passive-aggressive letter which I find hilarious. Lately I have had more positive ones since I am growing more into my behaviors and thoughts.. Regardless, how I feel about my anorexia isn’t as important as recognizing what it does to me.

Sessions with L are definitely a flashback to 2014. L will tell me that it’s Ed talking just as J did. She sees the contrast from my true self. At this point, the healthy part of me rarely gets a word in. It can be pretty surprising at times. I believe these thoughts completely, yet they are Ed thoughts and not mine. I’m thankful

I am giving this faceless disorder a name. I am taking away its power by separating out my voice, the real me. I need to use Ed to distinguish between me and it. I’m so thankful L has brought this back to my recovery.

The happiest place on Earth with an unwelcomed guest

They say Disney World is the happiest place on earth. I have no doubt it is for many people, just not me, at least not my last trip there. My time was hijacked by anorexia and I didn’t have much happiness to speak of at all.

I along with three other girls in our school made it to HOSA nationals which just so happened to be held at Disney. Instead of being elated when I received my medals, I panicked. I barely managed states and now they wanted me to hop on a plane with two other girls and my teacher and fly down to Florida for 5 days? I didn’t think I could do it. My parents threatened to keep me home if I didn’t promise to do better with my eating. Despite the voice within me screaming no, I signed up for the trip. How bad could it really be? Even before we left the airport I knew I had barely any control over my situation.

Ed took over the entire trip. I had to find the lowest calorie options possible for each meal. When our teacher informed us we must have breakfast each morning, Ed told me grapes were good enough. I had two days of testing at the main resort. I was so low on calories I’m really not sure how I managed to focus during my tests. Except for those few hours in testing, I was constantly exercising. I purposely “explored” as much as I could and made any excuse possible to get up and move. Even when the other girls were resting I found some way to burn more calories. I was constantly obsessed with not gaining weight on vacation though I knew deep down I was actually doing the opposite.

The days we went to the park was way harder than I ever imagined. I started by skipping breakfast and then lunch all while the others thought I had both. I didn’t have close to enough calories to even break even for the day. We walked 10 miles at least and I still felt it wasn’t enough. When it came time for dinner I had a tiny amount of food. I just couldn’t do it. I think at this point the girls and my teacher figured something was wrong. They made some comments which I blatantly ignored and denied.

The whole time I was so miserable. I had little energy and nearly fainted multiple times. I didn’t get to have anywhere near a full experience. I was cold some days even though it was in the 90’s and sunny our whole trip. I put on a huge front for those girls though. None of them could have guessed the internal war I was going through. I put on a fake smile and pushed on through. They just assumed I liked to eat healthy and had a small appetite. In some ways I wish they would have said something because maybe I would have gotten help when I got home instead of waiting until the end of summer. I lost so much weight that week. My mom looked like she was about to cry when she picked me up. Even though she commented on the weight difference, I was able to hide my eating habits while we were up north at the cabin. That trip also brought weight loss.

I look back at Florida and want to cry. I was so sick and I didn’t believe it. I needed help. My dream is to go back to Disney one day but this time not bring Ed. I think I deserve to truly enjoy it and be healthy next time around.