ED is not some ex boyfriend I had fallen in love with, gotten hurt by and then broke up with. ED was so much more to me then that. ED is the name for my eating disorder.
I have been in a relationship with ED for 5 years now. Many people say that their relationships with their eating disorders is much like that of an abusive relationship. Both physically and mentally he controls every part of your life. He loves to tell you what to do, and how to do it. He makes you feel depressed and hopeless by feeding you with constant negative insults about every single thing that you do. But regardless of the pain that he caused me, I stuck by him.
ED was always there for me, or so I thought. I had a bad day? He was there. Bad grade on a test? Fight with my boyfriend? He was always there telling me how he could solve my problems and make me feel better. But little did I know he was actually trying to destroy me.
Nothing was ever good enough for him. I’ve always been an active and fit person. I was a cheerleader for 5 years, and played soccer since I was 6. I loved going to the gym, for hikes and on runs, but ED took my enjoyment out of all of that. He would say that running 5 miles was not enough, I had to run 10 or else I was just a failure. 1 hour at the gym would do nothing, I should stay for 2. No one would like you if you stopped now. No matter how much I did and how much I obeyed everything that ED wanted, it still wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough. He made me believe that if I wasn't good enough to him, I would never be good enough for anyone. He expected me to be perfect in every single aspect of my life. No one is perfect. What I was striving to be, was impossible to attain.
“People will only like you if you are skinny” a common phrase ED would use with me. It’s hard to believe now, that I thought people only liked me because of the way my body looked. I am my own person. I have a personality, opinions, my own thoughts and feelings, and I like to think that I am pretty funny. It’s hard now a days living in a society predominantly focused on appearance. Between social media, TV, and magazines (all with airbrushed filters and edits), all telling you how you should look, it makes it next to impossible to feel satisfied with the way you look, and it makes you idealize people and looks that aren't even real. It is important to focus on what is on the inside. I know that it super cliche and corny, but it is so true. People will like you because of who you are as a person, and if they don’t, then its their loss. In life you will never be able to please everyone. People are different. Personalities clash, and there is no need to change who you are as a person to make everyone like you, because it is impossible and you will just drive yourself crazy. Be true to yourself and your values, and I promise you that you will be a much happier person.
Choosing to come out about my struggles with mental health and to get help was the hardest, but best decision I have ever made. I spent the last month in a treatment centre in Manitoba, where I found myself again. I learned to disobey ED, to distinguish between my own thoughts and feelings and ED’s, worked with a nutritionist and am now proud to say I am following a meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks! Im continuing to learn to build a healthy relationship with food and myself.
But I am by no means perfect. Im not going to tell you that its been easy and that I have fully recovered in the short month I was away, because I haven’t. I am continuously going to be working towards a full recovery. What I have done, is learned to be able to acknowledge ED thoughts, but step back and realize ED is not someone I want in my life anymore. Why would I want to be with someone who is trying to kill me? I don’t. Breaking up with ED was the best thing I have ever done. I am learning to live my own life, ED free.
Of course, in such an early break up, ED is trying to linger around. Trying to crawl his way back into my life. But I refuse to let him. I am so much stronger and better off without him. I will continue to fight him everyday, until finally the day comes where he will leave me alone for good. I have complete faith in myself and I know that day will come.
I would not have been able to get this far without the support of my family and friends, counsellors and nutritionists. Their words and constant strength and encouragement is what kept me going in my toughest moments. You all helped kick ED’s ass to the curb.
Leaving ED opened up so much more room in my life for happiness, other HEALTHIER relationships, and gave me hope. I have found myself again, and learned to love myself, flawsand all. To anyone out there that is struggling with an Eating disorder, there is hope, and most importantly you are not alone <3