A kiss off letter to my eating disorder ( Ed )

0riginally written 7/16/08

“Dear Ed,

I’m breaking up with you. It’s over this time. I hate you. I know this might seem sudden. After all, we’ve been so close for so long. But without trust there can be no real relationship, and I’ve now learned that I simply cannot trust you. I now understand that you’ve wanted to kill me all along. How could you have done this to me? What about all we’ve shared over the years?

You promised me so much…everything I ever thought I wanted. You promised I’d be happy. You PROMISED, Ed. All my dreams fulfilled if only I did what you told me to do. And I really did. I exercised past the point of exhaustion on a regular basis. Had a gym membership revoked for fainting on a treadmill.

You would suggest I purge rather than let dinner digest, and I obeyed. Thought..you were probably right. And I would dutifully head to the bathroom and vomit until I collapsed to my knees. Until I burst all the blood vessels around the delicate skin of my eyes. A crazed raccoon. You told me I would feel better. And as I stumbled to my bed, ignoring a child’s request for one last goodnight kiss, I DID feel a little better.

For a while.

Then we got more intimate and I began to lean on you for everything. I KNEW you were the answer. TO everything. You could make me thinner…and then thinner still…and once I got there..once I arrived THERE, THEN – you would ease your iron grip on me and we could just peacefully co-exist.

But then you started telling me how dirty food was. How it was only making me unhappy. How I could be superior if I stopped needing it altogether. Somehow, better than I used to be…than all the others who foolishly believed they needed to eat to live. So I began to restrict. Just a little at first.

Then a little more..

..and a little more.

It wasn’t long before I hardly let myself touch food at all. I picked at wheat toast,taking infinitesimal bites, filled a growling stomach with gallons of diet soda and disgusting green tea to mask the pain,..tasteless, sugar-free Jell-O. And it worked! You were right, Ed! You never steered me wrong. My period stopped. Progress! I could pull off my jeans without unzipping them. And from there it was a whirlwind.

The numbers on the scale dropped, and then dropped some more. My hair fell out in soft, blond wisps. My stomach grew a light sheen of fuzz. I could no longer comfortably take a bath because the bones of my spine and what used to be my butt, ground into the ceramic and gave me bruises.

When I went out, people looked at me strangely. It didn’t look like envy, Ed. My hip bones jutted out from my shorts and my shoulder blades and the bones in my chest were so pronounced that I often let my hands flutter over them…amazed at how I could feel them right underneath a tightly stretched layer of skin.

I took to wearing long sleeves even in the warmest weather. My arms didn’t look right. Just a little too skinny. Did I really say that? Think that?? Forgive me, Ed..for I have sinned.

And so I continued to slowly disappear. I shrank..and I shrank. My body. My brain. My heart. Ed- hold me together. Everyone is upset with me. My life is coming apart at the seams.

You didn’t hold me together, Ed. You ripped me to bloody shreds. I started forgetting things. Appointments set, promises made. I began falling. Often. Once in front of my daughter. I heard her screams as if from some far away place, but couldn’t quite shake myself to consciousness to comfort her.

I sank into the couch and pretty much stayed there. The children ran circles around me. Requests to play, to tell stories, to be tucked in? All denied. Mommy was tired, or not feeling well, would do it tomorrow- really. Ed, would you mind cooking dinner for them tonight?

I now think I’m going to die. Ed, what’s wrong? You were supposed to save me! To make me SPECIAL and DIFFERENT and GREAT! Who are you anyway? I think I want you to leave now. I think you might be choking the life out of me.

I no longer have a life. Ed and I are one. “JenniferEd”, I think. And it would have made me laugh if I hadn’t been robbed of the ability to do so.

It’s so dark in here, Ed. How had I never noticed it before? I can’t breathe..I finally cry out for help..and only then can I exhale.

So, I spend several months learning all about you, Ed. You’ve been unmasked. You disgusting, horrendous liar. I made you an idol and you dragged me right through hell, yet, here I stand on the earth once again. Glued back together. The cracks show, true, but I am strong.

I can live without you. I wish I had the courage to end us years ago…but I now know that my Savior’s power is far greater than yours EVER was. I must have never really believed that before. I don’t want to waste any more time talking to you. You sicken me, Ed.        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Time for you to die.

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”                                                                        2 Corinthians 5:17




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About JJ's song

My freshman year of college, my English prof was fond of saying "A writer writes, always." I found him to be desperately profound until Wikipedia became a cultural staple some years later and I learned that was not an original quote, but rather one he had ripped off from that Billy Crystal movie "Throw Momma from the train." I admit this threw me. If you're going to quote a movie (and you're talking to someone whose entire household can quote "The Princess Bride" backwards and forwards), and you're not even going to credit said movie ( "HALLO! My name is Inigo Montoya.."), at least let it be a decent movie. I'm not hating on Billy. I'm just saying..not his best work. Could he not glean some inspiring gem from "When Harry met Sally"? But I digress. I love words. I love them in the nerdiest coke-bottle glasses, pocket protector kind of way. There's such a pure beauty, a ballet of cadence when you're writing and you've hit upon the exact right word producing the exact right sound...sweet, sweet alliteration. The marriage of that rise and fall, auditory ebb and flow of our spoken language creates a type of symphony as beautiful as can ever be composed. (My husband is rolling his eyes as he reads this. It should be noted here that he finds Jim Carrey hilarious. 'Nuff said.) I started writing www.abendingtree.wordpress.com shortly after returning to the real world from months of inpatient tratment for anorexia. I was targeting a specific audience, sure, but also working things out for myself. This branched out organically into purging myself (sorry) of angst related to childhood abuse and self harm, both highly prevalent in the eating disorder community. I still write pieces for abendingtree but rarely publish..such a perfectionist am I that when the aforementioned exact perfect word eludes me, my work will be tabled. Last January though. Last January I was raped. Last January I was raped and beaten up and tossed half naked in a stairwell. Last February I found out I was pregnant. Last September, six weeks early, we welcomed a 7lb. 7oz boy with huge blue eyes and fine, fuzzy dark hair and deep dimples. In him I see how God spared my life. With him I am reminded of when He used this tiny human to pull me from my ever darkening spiral. Watching my husband blow raspberries on his round little tummy and rock him to sleep, nuzzling his neck, I see the love Christ has for us. From our earliest beginnings. Such love. The fondness for Jim Carrey can be overlooked in these moments. Joshua. We named our son Joshua. It means: Jehovah saves. No kidding. How could we name him anything else? (Also, everyone else shot down the name Finn which I thought was super cute.) My newest blog will be our journey with him. It may be slow going, but I've got a start.. Writers lay our offerings humbly before our readers who we can only hope will be moved. Will laugh. Learn. Pray. Hurt. Wonder. Love. Grieve. Eat. LIVE. And heal. I hope at some point you'll do all of the above. Thank you for reading. In His truth. "Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth
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2 Responses to A kiss off letter to my eating disorder ( Ed )

  1. Embodying Freedom says:

    This is beautiful. I had to write a break-up letter with my ED when I was in counseling, and wrote many more letters to it in my diary after that. It’s such an amazing, therapeutic relief.
    Thank you for writing 🙂

    • jjcb35 says:

      Thank you for reading. 🙂 I’ve had a lot of conversations with my ED over the years but I think this was the first time I actually got something down on paper, you know? The first time I actually thought of all that I’ve let this disease rob me of..and I got good and pissed. Furious really. I let that anger fuel my recovery on my weak days. There’s just too much living to do. Please be well. You deserve to be.

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