I want you to know that you are not alone; your eating disorder is one of the most difficult battles you’ll ever face. And, yet, recovery is within your reach. When I was in treatment at Eating Recovery Center, Washington, my therapist had me write a goodbye poem to my eating disorder ("Ed"). I wasn't crazy about the assignment at first, but as I wrote, I realized its power and significance. The following is my letter:
Breakin’ Up with ED
Dearest (NOT) ED,
You weaseled your way into my life and quickly won me over;
I lost myself in your SEDUCTIVE BEAUTY
but missed your HIDDEN HORROR
Our relationship started off, as healthy first indeed;
When hand-in-hand we walked, notoriety received.
With you, you had the MAGIC WAND
to melt my fat away;
I didn’t realize what that meant, the price I had to pay.
At first you showed me all the good that being with you brought;
Fitness, respect, attraction, praise and then my soul was bought.
You began to INVADE
my every thought and kept me FAR AWAY
From all of those I love and adore, a LIE
I must portray.
You put PANIC
in my breath, and GRIEF
down in my heart;
You filled my brain with your ABUSIVE
thoughts, I was a puppet playing your part.
As the numbers DIPPED
you told me I was living;
But my body and soul were WASTING AWAY
from the ABUSE
you had been giving.
My body started to feel SICK
, my hair it THINNED
I was TIRED, COLD, SHAKY, AND WEAK
but you still stuck like glue.
You made me wish that I were DEAD
, and that was your ultimate plan.
But MERCIFULLY I still rest in GOD’S ALMIGHTY HAND.
By the KINDNESS of some caring folks, I was led to ERC;
Where they taught me to cut you out and learn to LOVE just ME.
You still try to call and text and sometimes I let you in;
But with ERCWA’s PATIENT HELP I learned RECOVERY I can win.
I’ll DEFUSE your abusive messages and watch them float away.
I’ll sit in the discomfort--EXPANSION is the way.
I’ll CONNECT with those around me and stay PRESENTLY AWARE.
I’ll become the sky--OBSERVING SELF--you’re just a cloud out there.
I’ll set my COMMITTED ACTIONS and be SMART enough to follow;
Things that lead me to my VALUES of the new tomorrow.
In my new found WISE MIND, I’ll ACCEPT and I will CHANGE;
MINDFULLY ANCHORING on a task, one you don’t arrange.
I’m loaded down with DT skills when you flip my lid.
I’ll communicate effectively--“Ed, back down off my crib!”
And because I know you oh so well, I know you won’t give up;
So OPPOSITE ACTION I will rock and go and eat my sup--
If a text should happen to once again break through;
All I have to ask is, “What would Lora and Jacquelyn do?”
So GOOD-BYE ED, you horrible beast, NO MORE, WE'RE DONE, IT’S THROUGH!
It’s time for me to go on LIVING MY LIFE here all anew.
I’ll EAT MY FOOD and have NO FEAR because it's the HEALTHY AMOUNT.
I’ll SAVOUR EACH BITE, ENJOY THE TASTE, regardless of calorie count.
I’ll hang with FRIENDS and FAMILY and maybe go on dates.
Who knows, one day my HEART WILL FIND its one true real SOUL MATE.
MY HEART is filled with GRATITUDE to those who showed the way.
My people at home who never stopped PRAYING me through each day.
COMPASSIONATE staff at ERC who put up with all my shit;
And helped me BELIEVE I was allowed to give my BRAIN RESPITE.
The BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, INSPIRATIONAL peers who never stopped the fight;
ARMOURED UP with our SKILLS we battle to the LIGHT!
RECOVERY is a JOURNEY, one that never ends.
HOPE’S ON THE HORIZON, ON ITS PATH MY HEART WILL MEND.
My name is Katie DeVries. I was blessed to attend Eating Recovery Center of Washington on two occasions. I was blessed to receive financial support from the Eating Recovery Foundation. This allowed me to stay in treatment so I could continue my healing. I write about the journey to recovery because it helps me map out the battling thoughts in my mind while also helping to explain the complexity of Eating Disorders to others. The Eating Disorder voice is both seductive and devastating. Often times it was hard to differentiate the ED voice from my own. Poetry is one way I am able to do this. In sharing these poems it is my sincere prayer that through these words, others can experience a glimpse of hope. I continue on this journey each day but I do believe recovery is possible, it is just within reach.
This picture was taken by Katie at Maydenbower Beach in Bellevue, WA.