I have lived with ED for many years. Since I was about 14 years old. ED is a terrible roommate, taking up much valuable space and precious time, and is an active force in dissolving delicate love and light. As much as I have fought with ED, ED has also been a source of comfort and release, and has been very hard to let go of.
I borrow use of the name ED from a dear friend, who also referred to the unwelcome sidekick in her life in the same way. ED is what I am choosing to call my Eating Disorder. I have suffered from bulimia and anorexia since my early teens. ED tormented me the worst in high school....and the result made for a fragile young girl sometimes of skin and bones, with not only a terrible relationship with food, but also very ungracious and raw interactions with my family, friends, and with my very own spirit.
I am 31 years old now, and do not consider myself recovered. I am merely coping. My disordered eating has been a part of my world for so long, that I sort of forget what it is like to have a one hundred percent healthy relationship with food. Yes, I have spent many years learning all I can about nutrition, have major passion for my time spent in the kitchen, and pride myself in the ability to choose the best fuel for my active body. I am very, and acutely aware of what I consume, and how it makes me feel both physically and mentally. However, I am not naive about ED's power, and have fallen victim to him in the darkest of times over the years. ED has been a welcome distraction when things have felt out of my control. But, this year, I am resolved to kick ED out of my life completely, wholly, and forever. Moving forward, he will no longer be squatting illegally on my land. You see, I had an encounter with ED earlier this year that just left me too damn scared to keep him hanging around.
January 25 2011 - ED had been with me for about 16 years on and off by this point, but only really surfaced to knock on my door at the worst of times. I had gotten pretty good and locking the door, latching the deadbolt, and ignoring his pleads for entry. But in January of this year, I was unable to keep him at bay…
The super bad stuff that made up my aforementioned “phoenix years” were just getting rolling, and I was weak. I was having a really rough time moving on from my breakup with my ex-fiancé; my relationship issues had a strangle hold over me, and I was feeling not good enough, not smart enough, and just plain blue. I had just recently been discharged from my nine month bankruptcy, but was financially strapped and panicking. Dad was not well, and my family was worried. I was starting my life over and felt really alone and completely out of control.
So ED showed up and kicked my ass. The long and the short of it? I ended up at the emergency room of St. Joe's hospital in Toronto, on a morphine IV drip, with a 7 inch long spatula lodged in my esophagus. The pain was excruciating. I was in and out of consciousness. I was there for 24 hours, and after the procedure to remove the blockage, my heart rate was at 39 beats per minute. My body was in trauma the nurses told me. I was stoned up, and felt like I was living a bad nightmare. The good doctors then pumped me full of electrolytes, fluids, and more pain relievers, and waited for me to rebuild my strength. After hours plugged into the heart rate monitors, a couple of ECGs (electrocardiograms), and some gentle words from my discharging ER doc, I was released.
This was the turning point. I could not, would not, ever, let ED take me down like that again. In all my years battling the disease, I had never gone so far as needing real medical assistance. Even when I hovered at my lowest weights, even as I ruined my tooth enamel through constant vomiting in high school, as my bones were grasping for all the nutrients they could sponge up from the little food I was keeping inside of me.....I had never let it get this bad.
And it will never happen again. Ever.
These pictures are meant to serve as stern reminders for me. I took them so that if I am ever tempted to let ED take over again, if I am ever feeling too battered and weak to fight back, then I can look to them to shake some spirit love back into my world. No need to let ED be my abuser anymore.