Hello, I am a 20 year old college student who is struggling with EDNOS. I have been dealing with EDNOS for about 8-9 years, and my weight has fluctuated from being too skinny to being overweight. When I first came to school, my ED came back full-fledged and I lost a lot of weight within a very small time frame. Now, it seems to be not so strong, and I have gained that weight back plus some. I feel as though ED is the only thing that has helped me with my struggles through life, but I am so tired of dealing with all of it. I am eating on scheduled times with small snacks in between the meals. I am trying to really think about my meals, to resist bingeing. However, it seems to be exhausting me, and I would like all of my eating issues to go away. When will I be able to let go of my ED and forget all the negative talk I do to myself?
You are not alone. You can read through the many questions I have answered at FINDINGbalance and see women and men, young and old, write in and share their struggle with EDNOS. EDNOS is real.
I have often suggested to people that the two hardest things in life to do are: to start something new (a new habit) or stop something. It is easier to just keep doing what we always do. You wrote that when you first went to school the ED returned. Starting a new school or living in a new place or crossing over into a new developmental area (such as college life as a young adult versus a young high school student) contribute stress, and may touch areas of fear, anxiety, sadness, and/or anger. Perhaps it was “full fledge” because it helped comfort you during the transition. You were distracted from feeling any new feelings and returned to the one that was most familiar. The loudest voice.
Sometimes when we are in transitional spots (such as adolescence, adulthood, marriage, or parenthood), we decide that quieting fears and anxieties are more important than experimenting with new things, ideas, etc., and we quickly define that we must perform and not fail. And we are caught in a trap of control and comparison versus learning and practice.
Perspective is everything! You wrote that the ED “has helped me with my struggles through life” and go on to write “but I am so tired of dealing with all of it.” You tell your self that the ED has helped you with your struggles. But really the ED is just one decision you made to process struggles. It was not the helper. It was the means by which you exercised your power at that time. You can choose something else as well. You are tired, perhaps, because you have started to notice in the smallest way that the ED does not resolve the tension. It gives you a method or temporary focus for parceling out your feelings but it does not provide rest, peace, kindness, joy, acceptance, hope or real living.
When will you be able to let the ED go away and “forget” the negative talk? When I read this, I felt as if I was being asked for the proverbial “cure” or key to the treasure. I have heard this question so many times from very hurting people. I believe we let go of things when we are ready. I believe we let go when we dare to trust that there is a way to live, really live, without the rules, the voice, the constraints, and false value system of the ED. This usually occurs for some people in the relational process of counseling. While your goals to not binge, to eat multiple small meals, and to step away in small ways from the ED is absolutely terrific, you do not have to do this alone.
I encourage you to find a counselor who will walk with you in a nurturing way to help you understand the role the ED has played. Find a counselor who is able to help you see any underlying issues that contribute to the desire to trust only the ED and to slowly help you find a new Truth, a rock to hold on to that will not lie to you, mislead you, judge you, demand from you, cut you down, or forsake you.
Thank you for daring to see that something in your life needs tweaking! You have an innate sense that there must be something better. Now go forth and assemble those that will help you remove the grave clothes of the ED so you can rise and live the way you were created to go!
Leanne Spencer, LPC, MAMFC, CGE