I knew for more than a month that I was going to meet with a counselor at the hospital. Several times Ed told me I could call and ask if I could reschedule my appointment with her, simply because I didn’t want to go to a counselor again (I’ve had a few rocky sessions with past counselors). Ed also told me that these sessions are going to cost money, and if I had never developed an eating disorder, I wouldn’t have to pay for such things. Normal people don’t have to go see counselors (actually, they often do), normal people don’t have to have someone tell them what to eat, why can’t I just be normal? Thanks, Ed. I realized I’m not normal years ago, when you so lovingly stepped into my life and made it hell, so you can just shut up now. I’m worth the money to get me better. I’m worth all the time I’m putting in, and everyone else is putting in. I am going to finally show you who’s boss, because I hate you, and want you gone. I fear I may never fully get rid of you, but I’m gonna try my hardest to shut you out.
I knew going into this that it would be time intensive, exhausting, frustrating at times, easy at others. I knew it would cost money, and that I had the time and money to get me better. After all, if I don’t recover, I probably won’t have a life, so I might as well try. Slowly I am learning to be OK with things that were never all right in the past. I can have my evening snack before I wash my face. I don’t have to read the newspaper over lunch. If I don’t get to read a magazine while I eat dinner, I can actually talk to my companions. I can sit down and relax when I get home from work before putting my house and things in order. I can buy food for myself, or pay for a doctor’s appointment, because I need to show myself I am worth it, and no one else is going to do it for me. I am an adult, even if I may not always feel like it. Ed likes to think he has control over all aspects of my life. Lately though, I have felt his grip releasing and me getting stronger. I really feel like right now, Ed is only controlling some of my decisions around food. And even in that realm, he doesn’t have as much say. I had a milkshake, and then for dinner I had pasta drizzled with olive oil (extremely scary, he didn’t tell me but when I asked if he had put some on, he bashfully answered yes. Way to be bold and fight, Ed!) and sauce and some garlic bread. Then I had peanut butter and crackers and all of the other food I am supposed to have in a day, and Ed was quiet throughout most of the day. Here and there he spewed a few expletives at me, but right now I envision him in a holding cell, with shackles on. The only power he has is to stay in one part of the cell (my brain) and yell crap. He’s waiting to be found guilty, just so you know. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get the death sentence. Maybe he’ll hang himself first. Sometimes he gets really loud and riled up and it’s hard to ignore him. Other times I can hear him, but I laugh at what he is saying. He’s so pathetic. I like those days best, the days I laugh in pity at how lame he is. How he thinks he’s so special, and worth listening to. It’s like I have a running commentary going on not head. “You shouldn’t have had that”, “that’s too much”, “you’re going to get fat now”. That’s all Ed, yelling at me from the corner of his damp, smelly prison cell. Enough already.
Every time I shut Ed out, drown him out, is a tiny victory. I may be the only one feeling victorious, but that is enough, because I am enough. Finally, I am enough. Some people seem to be born feeling entitled, but I never could find that within me. Heck, I could hardly find the self-esteem to brush my hair in the morning. Now when I do these things that everyone else finds normal, I rejoice in the every day ease of living. I find myself reveling in being able to nap without feeling guilty (ok, not too guilty), and eating and feeling mostly OK about it. It’s so nice to be able to dress up and not feel shameful of my body (until a woman shopping at a thrift store bends her head and whispers to her friend and I can see their darting glances, hear their slight intake of breath). That stopped me in my tracks for a while. But then I realized- so what? They don’t know me. I can’t let petty things stop me. They may slow me down…but they won’t make fail.