Letter to My Eating Disorder

Tomorrow, I’m having a dietician’s appointment. I have probably gained a lot of weight and at the very least my eating habits have been crap. I am feeling that focusing on weight loss doesn’t always help me. I’m not even sure I’m motivated to lose weight, but I am definitely motivated to stop bingeing. Or am I? In order to motivate myself, or examine why I am or am not motivated for recovery, I looked up eating disorder recovery challenges. I’m not active on Tumblr, where most such challenges are hosted, but I thought I could do one on my blog.

For day one of this challenge, you are asked to write a letter to your addiction or disorder. Here goes.

Dear binge eating,

You have been with me since early adolescence or before. You crept into my life slowly. At age fourteen, I read an article in a teenage magazien about eating disorders, and, like so many teen girls, I was touched. I didn’t want an eating disorder, but I was struggling. I did want a way to express my struggle. Little did I know that you had already entered my life.

The article was mostly about anorexia. I admired these young women, in a way, because they had perseverance. In another way, I felt that if I had an eating disorder, maybe then people would see I struggled. I started counting calories and using a food diary, but I never stopped eating. In fact, I overate. You were already in my life. I didn’t realize you were an eating disorder just the same.

For a while in adolescence, and then again for a while in my mid-twenties, I had bulimic tendencies. These gave me a reason to believe I was really struggling. I took you seriously, but wasn’t really motivated to let go of you. I was at a healthy weight, but because I purged, I had an eating disorder. I joined Proud2Bme, a Dutch eating disorder recovery site. Not that I really wanted to recover. In fact, I at one poitn joined a pro-ana site. I was already ovrweight by this point.

I stopped purging in 2012, and from then on, I was “in recovery”. I didn’t like this point, because I was still struggling, and I still had a need to feel that my pain was real. I don’t mean this, for clarity’s sake, towards others. I hardly ever disclosed that I had purged when I still did. But to myself, purging had to be in my life to justify my pain.

Meanwhile, you took over more and more of my life. I didn’t realize you were a problem until I reached obesity. At that point, I realized you were in my life, and you were serious. This wasn’t till about half a year ago.

You are strong. I think of you on a daily basis. Sometimes, I cling to you, and sometimes, I curse at you. You have caused me to gain over 30 pounds since 2011. Yet you’ve been in my life much longer, I know. In middle and high school, I would buy a sausage roll and bag of candies every single day. I remember one day in seventh grade, buying five candy bars. My classmates told me I was being outrageous, but I ate them all anyway. I didn’t really know what was normal. Now I do.

I am not sure at this point I want to get rid of you. You fulfill my need to do something about my strong, unstable emotions. You fulfill a need for instant gratification that I’ve always had. Yet if I don’t get rid of you, this is making you worse, and making the need for instant gratification worse by reinforcing it. But if I do get rid of you, will the need go away, or will you just be replaced with some other addiction? I will have to find this out, but I do want to take on the challenge and try to get rid of you.

Sincerely,

Astrid

18 thoughts on “Letter to My Eating Disorder

  1. This is a really moving ‘letter’ I think a lot of people, whether they are over weight or just are a few lbs heavier can relate to this. Why do we binge, yet hate ourselves after? What is it that it fulfils if we feel like crap after? I really look forward to reading about your challenge x

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  2. I had to do this once, it was both painful and cathartic. I remember too that I wasn’t 100% sure if I was ready to “let go”. For me, having children was the BIG turning point. It was no longer about me and I was too busy to allow the ED to live in my head so much. Hugs – you are making great progress, the “turning point’ is often the hardest. xx

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    1. I am happy in a way that you could once relate and have now overcome your eating disorder. I am childless and will 99% certainly remain that way, so I have to find a different reason to turn around.

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  3. You are very brave to be facing your ED head on and questioning it is a step in the right direction. For me, when things are out of control in my life I control the amount I eat. Not the same as you, but it gives me a satisfaction I don’t get in my life, to be in control of something. I hope your appointment goes well.

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  4. Good luck with your battle, it is one I fully understand – I can control food if I am dieting, but then quickly go back to massively overeating once I have achieved my goal – I am not sure dieting helps, because the focus is still on food. I need to find a way that moves food from being central to my thoughts so that I can learn to deal with food normally rather than going from restrict to overeat in a loop!

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    1. Yes, so true. My dietician also said that I could buy massive amounts of carrots or tomatoes and binge on them and that would be relatively healthy, but my thoughts would still be obsessively focused on food.

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  5. I have an eating disorder also and your struggle is so similar to mine. It’s hard because I don’t want to let go. It’s like somehow I have bought into this belief that behind all this struggle, through the suffering, there will come a day that everything is will. I will find the golden gate and will be able to enter to the garden and everything will be perfect. If I just persist with the unhealthy and dangerous habbits and don’t give up and listen to the others.

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  6. I’ve struggled with binge eating for nearly twenty years. I’d eat normally in front of family then wait till they were asleep and eat everything I could find. I’ve been known to eat whole tubs of ice cream as well as full packets of jaffa cakes and still go back for more. I’ve had it under control for the most part for the last two years. I’ve only binged a couple of times and each time I’ve come clean about it to my husband the next day so as not to fall into the secrecy again. I got it under control by joining slimming world at my heaviest weight of 31 stone. I now weigh 22 and a half stone. I still have a long way to go but I feel so much better being in control. I hope you manage to get to a place where you’re happy with your eating. Good luck xx

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