Your Eating Disorder is to Blame, not You!

by Anne-Sophie

in Blog

When you are in the midst of the war against your body, you often forget your true identity. As I have written before, eating disorders are vicious and tricky and they tend to take up your entire self. They make you believe that their thoughts, words and actions are yours and they are very, very convincing.

Over time, you forget the real you and you go deeper and deeper down that hole that ultimately leads to death or other terrible outcomes. When that happens, we blame ourselves and we feel guilty, ashamed and even extremely mad at ourselves for having done so much damage.

Maybe you have osteoporosis, maybe you cannot get pregnant, maybe you have problems with your teeth or even heart damage. The consequences of eating disorders are plenty and vary, but they are all horrible and lead to a lot of misery and pain.

It is easy then to fall into the trap of self-pity, self-loathing and think that it won’t matter now anyway to recover and to get out of this hellish state because you have already ruined your life, your body and your health.

While I understand these thoughts and have experienced them many times, it is crucial to distinguish between yourself, your actions and your choices and those that the eating disorder leads you to do. Nobody would willingly chose to hurt themselves as much as we do when we’re entangled with an eating disorder.

No healthy, rational thinking person would engage in all of these unhealthy, damaging actions that our eating disorders make us do. Nobody would ignore all the horrible threats eating disorders present if there wasn’t something else going on in our mind. Nobody would willingly lose all of their friends or the work that is their passion. Nobody would lie so easily as your eating disorder does.

No, whatever consequences you face today that were caused by your eating disorder, please keep reminding yourself that this wasn’t you.

When I went into treatment about a year ago and I continued to be forced by my eating disorder into abusing laxatives and working out despite the rules of the sanatorium, I lied and lied and lied about it without any trouble. I even believed my lies to a degree and I was completely fooled by that devilish voice inside my head.

I knew that I had already developed osteopenia (which later on turned out to be a false diagnostic), but I did not care about it because I was not in control. I was not the one with the wheel in her hand and I was not to blame.

When I gained a lot of pounds, reached a healthy weight and thought that my menstrual cycle would return, I was devastated to find that month after month, nothing happened. I cannot put into words the guilt I felt and still feel at times, the accusations I talked myself into, the pain I felt for my husband and the coming to terms that I did that, I caused this outcome.

But I was wrong. I hadn’t chosen to become sick, I hadn’t willingly said that I wanted to destroy my ability to have kids and I was not to blame. When I realized that, I was able to forgive myself and reached a place of serenity and inner calm.

That being said, this post is not an excuse for you to lean back, put your legs up and continue to let your eating disorder be the driving force in your life. No, not in the least. I still hope you fight and fight and fight some more in order to be free, healthy, happy and live the life that you deserve.

I didn’t write this post for you to feel good about continuing to engage in destructive habits and behaviors.

This is just a reminder that your eating disorder takes over and leads you into actions that aren’t yours, thoughts that don’t come from your healthy part of the brain and a feeling of not caring about life or death or any outcomes anymore. But wherever you are in your recovery journey, you can take back the wheel and you can milden the consequences to a degree.

By eating regularly and nutritiously, by not listening to your eating disorder voice and by regaining your territory step by step, you will get stronger physically and mentally and this will help you and your body to deal with whatever situation, whatever damage your eating disorder had caused. But if you stay in the destructive relationship with your eating disorder, this cannot happen and the entire situation will get even worse.

No, you are not to blame, but you have the power to get your life back and make the best out of every situation, no matter how long you have been tied to your eating disorder.

It takes time, patience and hard work, but it also takes the realization that you can forgive yourself and that you can and should blame it all on your eating disorder. Once you have come to this step, you will feel empowered to fight for your life and get the justice you deserve.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie March 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

This is such an inspirational encountering for me..I have suffered with anorexia for 2 and a half years now. I was an inpatient at an eating disorder hospital for 8 months and then got conditionally discharged…but I’m on the verge of relapsing: hiding food, exercising, sneaking lower calorie foods in etc..I just want to get rid of anorexi..I HATE IT!! I just want to be normal but why can’t I why, why, why?! I wish I was dead..morbid I know but I can’t cope!!

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Anne-Sophie March 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Hi Marie. Thank you for your comment and for being so honest and open. First of all, I know those feeling, but life is so precious, YOU are so important and valuable, please try to see that. It’s hard, I know. You have made it before and you will be able to go back to that place. Reaching out here and admitting that you’re on the verge of relapse is an amazing step and shows you’re serious about getting rid of anorexia. Recovery takes a lot of time and a lot of persistence. There are always ups and downs. Just stay at it, keep fighting every day. If you have a bad day, OK, the next one can be better. Keep working and keep going. Reach out to others when you need to, comment here, listen to the podcasts and read the blog posts. The more support you have the better. You will get rid of it. I struggled for 14 long years and I have been able to recover. You can do the same. Big hugs and if you need to talk, email me or leave a comment.

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Jerome March 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi Anne,
Battling with eating disorder really a hard fight. Specially to women, teenagers and some are already mother which have families to care of. That is why as a person there are things for you to consider. Love your self by eating regularly, eating at the right time and have a daily exercise. The idea in your article really helps. Looking after your next post.
Jerome recently posted..How To Stop Binge EatingMy Profile

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Anne-Sophie March 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

Hi Jerome,

thank you so much for your comment. I am glad you liked the post and I love your ideas. Yes, you should love yourself and eat regularly, but for a lot of people the path to this place is a long one and we have to stick together and encourage each other in order to get to there.

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Marie March 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I have just hit rock bottom..I honestly haVe lost the will to live, my thoughts are so suicidal and I just can’t cope! I have ruined all of my families lives..they used to be happy and have something to look forward to in life but then ANOREXIA came along and destroyed everything for me..I hate it!! How did you get better? I just can’t do it, the easiest option is to end my life I think so my parents can just move on..please help me..I just want to be the girl I was before..normal again x
Marie recently posted..035 Fighting Anorexia – TriggersMy Profile

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Anne-Sophie March 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hi sweetie,

oh, how I understand your situation. Please, please, please believe me when I tell you that it gets better. You will get out of this situation. YOU haven’t done anything to harm your family, it is your eating disorder. YOU are wonderful and brilliant, please do not forget that. You did not do anything to ruin your family’s lives (they cannot be ruined anyway), please don’t put this pressure on yourself. I found a way out step by step. The fact that you are commenting here shows that you are acknowledge that there is something wrong and that you need to change things. That is an incredible step. You should be proud of yourself. Are you getting help from a counselor or therapist?
It will get better step by step. If you need to talk, I am always here for you.

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