Eating Disorders Suck!

Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle

Story of life, right? When I was young I never noticed "obstacles", just crazy experiences that either ended up with a boo-boo and a band-aid, or a high-five and a WooHoo! Somewhere along the line, though, I started striving towards perfectionism. No more band-aids for me! I wanted to be perfect at everything I attempted. Get the highest grade in the class, read books the fastest, be the best sister/ daughter/ cousin/ friend/ aunt/niece, etc. But every goal I accomplished, or thought I accomplished, was never enough for me. I went to school, I recently completed a second Masters Degree, and still - not enough. I would beat myself up by purging. It was my secret weapon that no one knew about. I felt so unbelievably in control when I was restricting food or purging. 

For 20 years me and my eating disorder grew closer and closer. My eating disorder, whom I like to call Ed, is like an extremely attractive man at a distance that I want to get close to; but the closer I get, the slimier he was. Eventually I got stuck. He was now in control, he made me feel so guilty, so ashamed and embarassed, that I isolated myself from everyone. No one, not even friends or family members were allowed to know. Ed filled me with constant doubt of my own abilities. I was never good enough, pretty enough, strong enough, worthy enough, etc. No one could love someone like me. I was useless and worthless. These thoughts would perseverate; looping into a horrible monologue in my voice reminding me that my only redeeming quality was Ed. Having an eating disorder somehow made me feel special. It allowed me to pretend that I was an amazing person with a wonderful life and a bright future - but at a cost. I needed to let Ed be in control. I needed to starve myself, I needed to isolate myself, I needed to lie to everyone I loved and hold dear. 

Falling Face First into Shit Creek

The thoughts from Ed were horrible, and only getting worse as time went on. I couldn't function at work or at home. I wasn't sleeping or eating - I was the definition of useless (in my mind). Ed had failed me, but starving myself was the only thing I knew how to do perfectly. The only thing that gave me a sense of control. 

I couldn't keep up the facade, so one day while at the University working on my Masters degree, I went to the bathroom and planned to kill myself. Exhaustion and lack of food and social connection finally caught up, and I realized I hated myself. I hated what I looked like, what I had become, I hated everything! If Ed couldn't fix it, then nothing could. I was in so much mental pain and anguish that I just wanted to disappear. 

Unit 4F4 at the University of Alberta Hospital

I was admitted to the Eating Disorder Unit at the University of Alberta Hospital. My parents and friends, who live in Ontario, were by my side immediately - as, of course, were the friends I had made in Edmonton that my eating disorder kept me away from. 

I was loved?

I can't describe what that feeling is like, feeling loved for the first time in what felt like eternity. I still struggle with believing it - a residual of Ed I'm sure. For so long I had lived in the darkness beside Ed, holding onto him for dear life, that the light my family and friends shone on me was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. 

The nurses and doctors at the unit helped me gain weight and tried to help me use coping strategies to keep Ed at bay. I was successful for a time, long enough to finish my Masters. But Ed was still there lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to turn to him during any moment of weakness - and I did. I ran towards him.

Why Run Back to Ed?

I knew he was horrible, I knew he was all-consuming, but I needed him. I know it doesn't make sense, but Ed was always there for me. He was my best friend for two decades, and I thought that we could still work together. I would keep him in check, and he would help me be successful in life.  To this day, I still believe that without him, I am nothing. 

People tell me all the time to "just eat". I would love to. I would give anything to feel the sensation of hunger and be able to satisfy it with food. Instead, hunger, or at least what I think is hunger, is this wonderful feeling of euphoria. Feeling empty inside makes me feel good about myself. Why?

I look in the mirror and I see a horribly ugly person. I'm unable to see what other people describe me as being. I see fat everywhere, which is a symbol, I think, of loss of self-control. Ed keeps telling me I'm ugly, useless, worthless, a fat slob, etc., and I believe him. I believe him because he has been with me forever. He is part of my mind, why would he lie to me? 

Irrational, I know, but there you have it. I am in a constant battle of believing what my mind (Ed) tells me and what other people tell me. How do you stop trusting your mind in exchange for what other people say? 
There are two really good movies that help describe the mental thoughts I have: "Feed" and "To the bone". 

Why Now?

Why donate to help me get treatment? It is a very good question, and one I wouldn't have been able to answer until this past year. I'm at rock bottom and am barely functioning. I work two jobs to save money so that I can go into private treatment to finally be free of Ed. I've been working tirelessly on understanding the difference between Ed thoughts and my thoughts. I'm trying to be more gentle with myself and forgiving. I've gone to support groups and am actively utilizing the outpatient program at the Hospital which provides meals at certain calorie levels so that I can continue to work hard and save money. In a year, I've paid off my student debt and have saved $5000. If I could keep going, I promise you I would. It is very difficult for me to ask for help, but I know that if I don't get help now then I will regret it for the rest of however much longer I have on this Earth. 

I am asking you for help. I am asking you to believe in me and help me obtain proper treatment to kill Ed. I am highly motivated and positive that, if given the opportunity, I will kick his butt to the curb and leave him behind forever. 

A clip that explains exactly how I feel...

In the movie "To the bone", which is available on Netflix, Keanu Reeves says the most liberating line I've ever heard:

Fuck off Voice 

That's my story folks. Thanks for listening and even if you are unable to support me, I hope you at least gain awareness that this illness isn't a choice, that I do indeed want to live life to its fullest, and that I'm going to keep fighting until I conquer Ed.




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Sarah Patricia 
Edmonton, AB
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