How Anger Is Helping Me in Eating Disorder Recovery

I’ve buried my anger for almost 15 years. It’s a scary emotion and can feel uncontrollable, and lack of control is something eating disorders often do not like. But if we hide our anger somewhere deep within, it can sometimes add fuel to the fire that keeps the disorder thriving. What would happen if we let our anger out in a deliberate way? What if we directed that anger toward the eating disorder itself?

I asked myself this question one morning when I was rereading a poem I wrote when I was 15 years old about being angry at my insecurities. As I read, I saw the way anger had helped me expose the eating disorder’s manipulative ways. That was when I decided to allow myself to feel angry.

I wrote a letter to my eating disorder. I wrote as if the eating disorder was an abusive partner that had controlled my life since we met. I explained all the ways that she lied to me, the way she made me believe that I was unworthy and controlled every decision I made. She watched me self-destruct and dance with death while telling me that this was the only path to happiness.

Her manipulative ways changed my entire way of life and she watched me nearly die because of it, cheering me on along the way. I thought she was my best friend, my partner, the only safe haven I had through the darkest times. Little did I know that she was the one that was withholding the light — she was the one making these times so incredibly dark.

I committed to ending this relationship three years ago when I entered a treatment center for recovery. As most of us know, the healing and recovery process can take years. We fall back into her hands at times because we miss the way she held us. We might still be attached to her approval and feel her eyes on us at all times. But now we see her, we know she is there.

With every decision we make toward recovery, we are loosening the grip that the disorder has on us. We are rebels fighting for a revolution. We are fighters that will not give in. We are angry and will not allow this tyrannical ruler to control our lives any longer.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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