When I'm Unsure if the Voice of Reason or My Eating Disorder Is Talking
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
There’s a war in my head. Some days it gets so loud in there, it gives me a headache. A real one.
The voice nattering incessantly in my ear is not a healthy voice. It’s a familiar one. It feels like a safe one. But that voice is an expert manipulator, liar and thief.
There’s another little voice in the dark: the voice of reason and wisdom, sense and sensibility. But that voice is weak and timid. It has never learned to stand up to the manipulator.
My eating disorder voice has learned how to mimic the voice of reason. Some days I hear myself saying I should (or shouldn’t) eat this and I can’t quite tell which voice is talking. Are you trying to trick me? Or heal me? Sometimes I just don’t know.
The voice that whispers away in my head is very unhealthy. It encourages me to override any ounce of logic I may have when it comes to good health and nutrition, by telling me I’m fat. It tells me if I get fat, I’m unworthy and a failure. It tells me any food I consume is making me fat. The tiniest morsel of anything feels like failure.
The voice of reason knows this is not true. It is in fact, absurd. That good health and nutrition and a healthy body at a healthy weight are achieved through regular consumption of nutritious meals in moderate portions and leading an active lifestyle. I know all this. I have known this for a long time. I was raised with an awareness of good health and I have been surrounded by family and friends all my life who lead healthy lifestyles. I know the theory and I’ve seen the practice. Yet the manipulator nibbles away at my confidence and plays the “just for today” game. Telling me to delay the implementation of common sense until I’ve achieved some unachievable goal through unsustainable means.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
I sincerely hope by recognizing the profoundly negative impact the manipulative voice has, I have taken the first step towards recovery.
I sincerely hope one day I can win the war. I hope one day I can know for sure when the voice of reason is talking, and to know how to listen to it without fear. Until then, I keep listening and wondering, who is talking to me?
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Thinkstock photo via Andesign101.