Ed. He was always with me. Ed was like my boyfriend. He lived in my head rent free but he constantly controlled me. He almost took over my life. He distorted my self image. Ed judged me, told me what to do all the time. He made me feel drained, sad, and upset with myself. Except Ed isn’t a boy. He’s not even a person. Ed is shorter for two words. Eating disorder. Ed was why I almost ruined my life.
Your brain is the center of control on how your body functions. It’s how we all operate. Within a quick span of time Ed changed that for me. My brain was taken over, no longer in full control. The thing is Ed isn’t just something a person can simply ask for. It’s not somebody’s desire to happen to them. It’s a disorder that can happen even without me being aware of it. For me, I was blinded by what was happening to me. It felt like a relationship, a connection, I had conversations in my head with it. Ed said in my head, “You changed so much, you’re pretty now.” But then Ed would tell me the next day, “ Wow, you need to lose a few pounds."
It was a constant on and off relationship. A toxic one, in fact. I felt guilt but I also saw myself as the new and improved version of myself. I was busy doing something every day. I felt occupied. I felt like I had everything under control, until I didn’t.
There was an imbalance in my system. I didn’t have everything under control. I was slowly starting to face the challenges Ed was throwing at me. It was a battle. I had lost my appetite. I was also exhausted from doing anything. Sometimes I had so little energy I wouldn’t move from bed all day. The next most important part of my body; my heart was slowing down. I was losing the battle. Who saved me? I was sitting in a dim quiet room at the doctor's.
It was malnutrition. Everything Ed told me to do, I did it. Without knowing what it was doing to me inside. Everything seemed fine until it wasn’t. I believed I was doing what was good for me. I thought I was healthy. All of those thoughts were Ed talking. None of them were me anymore. Ed focused on what it thought was important. Appearance. How I looked. Ed trained my brain to see what it wanted to see, not what was healthy.
Recovery. A word I don’t take lightly anymore. I was at the doctor's once a week. Ed tried so hard to get me out because what I was doing wasn’t what he wanted. Healing my body slowly over time. Eating things that I believed were “unhealthy” in the past. One thing I believe is my biggest take-away from going to the hospital so much is that every food has nutrition, even dessert items. Food shouldn’t be labeled as a reward. It’s our fuel. It’s how we help our body have fuel so that our mind can function.
Without my mom and my doctor, who have helped me on my journey of recovery, I don’t know where I’d be. They helped me learn to never take anything for granted. And I won’t. Without their effort to push me through the hard days, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
I found the beauty of growth. I went from being at the hospital all the time with little hope left to learning to love myself again. I know that this obstacle I have overcome is a lesson I was meant to share with the world someday in hopes it would impact someone else’s life. I have also learned that Ed isn’t something I should feel ashamed of, or feel guilt for. This challenge I faced has made me a better version of myself. By learning to not take anything for granted. To see the good. To love and find beauty in yourself even when you have bad days.