Eating disorders are tricky: they are not about food, but food is the weapon of choice. Ed is the one quietly whispering in your ear, nagging you about calories or telling you that you really shouldn’t eat this or that or encouraging you to binge. Frankly, he’s a jerk. He doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Part of recovery is learning how to talk back to Ed, but that is a process. We tend to get so caught up in the lies and dysfunction of the eating disorder itself, we get detached from reality. Ed is a magnificent manipulator and master of ceremonies, and he digs his role.
In the book “Life Without Ed,” Jenni Shaefer declares independence from her eating disorder. She does this after a lot of therapeutic work; so don’t get any crazy ideas! Jenni Shaefer eventually wrote a declaration of independence from her eating disorder; I’ve shared a more general version with you which was sourced from here. It’s fantastic. Perhaps it will encourage you to talk back to your eating disorder. Perhaps it will encourage you to kick Ed to the curb and declare your own independence. Enough is enough. There’s no reason to live under the tyranny of Ed any longer. Even when he rears his ugly head, we can talk back. And even if he gets the better of you for a day or two, perhaps you can look at this and know that you can dust off your knees and stand up again. Remember, “fall down seven, stand up eight.” To quote Jenni Shaefer, “Ironically, it is the not-so-fun part of recovery that actually enables life to be so much fun in the end.”
My Declaration of Independence
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the bonds which have connected them to Ed, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all persons are endowed upon birth with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
That whenever Ed becomes destructive of these ends, it is right to abolish Ed and to institute Recovery, laying its foundation on such principles and in such form as shall seem the most likely to effect safety and happiness.
When a long train of abuses, pursuing invariably the same person evinces a design to reduce that person under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off Ed, and to provide recovery for their future security.
The history of Ed is a history of repeated absolute Tyranny over this man or woman. To prove this, let facts be submitted.
-Ed has refused for a long time to allow the individual to find happiness
-Ed has erected a multitude of binges and purges
-Ed has ravaged the individual’s life and harmed the lives of the people close to them
-Ed has cut off all emotions
-Ed has suspended the individual’s own mind and declared himself invested with the power to legislate the the individual’s world
-Ed has deprived the individual of food
-Ed has taken away the individual’s feelings, abolished his or her most valuable morals, and altered fundamentally his or her values.
Therefore, I solemnly declare that I am FREE and INDEPENDENT.
I am absolved from all allegiance to Ed.
Any connection between Ed and I will be completely dissolved, and as a free and independent individual, I have the power to eat, live in peace, and find happiness.