Monday, October 20, 2008

Edie is Me

It's a common eating disorder therapy technique to refer to your bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating, etc., as Ed, as in Eating Disorder. When I finally went to get help, my therapist suggested the book Life With Ed for me to read, which chronicled Jenni Shaefer's "break- up" with her eating disorder, or Ed. I gravitated towards the idea that this eating disorder was not really me, but that it was something else inside of me that I longed to be free of.

And yet, I couldn't characterize my eating disorder as a man, because it's hard to separate the two of us. I become her in instances. When all I want to do is binge and purge, it's as though a door opens inside me, and I go in and she comes out. She looks like me, she has my voice, and my body that she so dreadfully disdains. But she is manipulative and mean, and she will say and do anything to let her get her way - which is to eat in secret, throw up alone, and then pretend that all is normal.

No, I can't say my eating disorder is a man, because, oddly enough, it hasn't really been the men that have made me second-guess myself. It's been women, or ads geared towards women, or subconscious society chitchat that streams like an annoying radio station through my head.

My eating disorder is frighteningly female - cunning and clever. At times she is a strong, seemingly confident woman, sure in what she wants and how to get it. Other times, she is pouty and upset, sulking until I let her come out and play again. But most of the time, she is observing -sinking her teeth into my daily activities, determining what people are really thinking about when they look at me, what people mean when they talk to me. She listens and she chimes in with what she deems worthy for me to hear. She is rude and ruthless, and yet, I still let her exist, I still let her tell me her twisted thoughts. . . and I let her stay near my side.

It might be easier for me to "break-up" with a man. Men know nothing of being a female in today's world, and I could never mistake myself for being male. But, I mistake myself for Edie sometimes, and Edie can easily cloak me so I seem to not even exist.

I would never let a man do that.

But, for some reason, I let her.


Ai Lu said...


Yes, I think that eating disorders, for us as women, have a uniquely female component to them -- a mean, self-deprecating, catty woman who stands over our shoulder and tells us that we are ugly and unlovable. For a long time I have preferred male company to female, and part of my recovery from an eating disorder involved learning to establish more positive, loving relationships with other women. We need each other as women!

And so, with that, I wanted to write and welcome you to the small sphere of women blogging about eating disorders. I read about you on Every Woman Has an Eating Disorder, and I like your writing. You are elegant and precise and reflective. I look forward to reading more of your work, and I have subscribed to your blog in my reader. Keep writing; the audience will come.

As for myself, I recovered from anorexia/bulimia a little more than three years ago, and I write about the new relationship that I have established with food in my blog, AVIDALEGRIA, You can find out more about me there and in my profile. Please stop by!

Ai Lu

Anonymous said...

YES. I looked at that book, and I have been to a support group where the others referred to "Ed," and it never felt right to me. I hope you don't mind if I use "Edie" as well, to help me separate myself from my E.D.

(P.S. also found you from Every Woman Has An Eating Disorder)

Stina said...

Thanks, guys! Ai lu - I'll check out your blog - it sounds inspiring!