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If You’re Struggling with an Eating Disorder

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Your mind is more than a switchboard. Circuiting inputs and outputs, frantic to stay on the line. Climb down from the telephone pole, your life is not a tightrope. I know you’re less scared of the fall than of what you’ll find on the ground.

I know that an eating disorder is a devil’s deal. Sometimes it seems worth it. The scale smiles at you or you hit your step count or that bag of Cheetos/jar of peanut butter/pint of Ben and Jerry’s numbs you out and for that moment it’s not quite happiness but it’s the next best thing – safety, comfort, that sigh of relief. But the only safety guaranteed on a tightrope is that you haven’t fallen yet. You must always keep your balance.

 An eating disorder is the most enthralling distraction. The anxiety-producing tests or the undone dishes or the critical bosses or the stood-up dates all disappear. You have calories to worry about, runs to go on, grocery stores to pace the aisles in. You used to have so many goals. So many impossible expectations. Poof! You’re left with this.

That’s the thing about an eating disorder – it’s the one thing no one can take away. No one can force you to stop, not really. You’re going to have to want to give it up on your own. You have to decipher the calligraphy of your thoughts. Erase passages etched in stone. You have to give up your moments of solace because an eating disorder may provide you with the feelings of control/safety/release but not the function. Ultimately, it controls/kills/suffocates you.

I hope you get angry. Anger is the most powerful tool you have in recovery. Get indignant that this illness tried to take you away from everything you love. That it had the audacity to convince you that you aren’t worth what you are. Get mad the way you’d get mad if you saw someone driving away with your car or kissing your boyfriend or if someone ran up and punched you in the face. Look your eating disorder in the eyes and tell it to go to hell. Because you deserve a full life, you really do.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who would be stupid enough to send a message in a bottle? Don’t you know there is a whole ocean out there with whirlpools and currents and riptides?But if there is a fraction of a fraction chance this reaches you, really reaches you, behind the cynicism and the safety net and the fear, if it reaches the person who deserves to beat this, then I’ll keep scrawling notes on the sand.

Photo by Paul Zoetemeijer on Unsplash.