When I Start to Miss My Eating Disorder

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 741741.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I threw my bed sheets off of me then proceeded to wrap them tightly around my restless self. Something in my mind was not sitting right.

I was thinking of my eating disorder. I often think of my eating disorder. However, this time I was not just thinking.

I was missing my eating disorder.

As I lay awake, I did not want to accept these feelings. Lust. Longing.

Six years of my young life had been contaminated by the ferocious cycle of restricting and purging. Now, I am well down the road to recovery. It has been many months since I restricted or purged. I am now starting to ease out of therapy and ease into a life of confidence, self-love and happiness. I look back on my journey with my head high. I feel strong, and long rid of the disorder that once took hold of my life.

But sometimes, when I’ve had a bad day or when I can’t do something right, or when I’m just feeling down, I start to miss my eating disorder. I miss it like I miss old friends.

I miss the control that it gave me when I had no control over anything else.

I miss the distraction it provided when I was unhappy with other parts of my life.

I miss the strange sense of comfort it supplied that I could not get from anywhere or anyone else.

However, when I hear my eating disorder calling my name and tempting me back to it’s side, I think of all the things I don’t miss about it.

I don’t miss the strain it put on my relationships. I don’t miss the way my friends would look at me after I emerged from the bathroom after a meal. I don’t miss the look in their eyes – knowing what was wrong but never saying anything.

I don’t miss the excessive exercise. I don’t miss the stairs that led from my flat to the university and the appointment I had with them every night at 9 p.m.

I don’t miss the physical toll. I don’t miss the headaches, my scratched throat, feeling so dizzy I may faint every time I emerged from the bathroom. I don’t miss the several times my legs gave out beneath me because I was too weak and malnourished to carry myself.

I don’t miss the emotional toll. I don’t miss wondering why I was constantly so deeply depressed. I don’t miss the lies I told myself: “My eating disorder hasn’t made me depressed, it’s meant to be making me happier!”

I don’t miss the doctor’s visits. I don’t miss the nine psychologists I saw over those six years. I don’t miss retelling my “story.” I don’t miss the threats of hospitalization and the promises I would keep to avoid this fate.

I don’t miss “the best years of my life” that were not as they were advertised because of my disorder.

Recovery is hard.

Sometimes I still slip into an irrational frame of mind and I think purging after every meal will make me a better person. However, I have learned to recognize when my perception is warped. I don’t miss my eating disorder. My mind may be telling me that I miss it — but I don’t.

To overcome these feelings I think of all the things I don’t miss about my eating disorder. There’s a lot I don’t miss, and that’s enough to keep me going at times like these.

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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