One may commonly hear people with eating disorders discussing “Ed”. Explanations for their actions and feelings are often accounted to this name; sometime it is even referred to as “he”. Ed (E.D) is the initials for Eating Disorder and is a slang term used by those suffering from the disorder. Using this name can have both positive and negative outcomes.
Providing a name provides power. By naming your eating disorder you are separating it from yourself. This separates the actions of the disorder from your own, which causes an issue because accountability is lost. Instead of using your own individual voice, Ed’s voice can win the power and take over. The disorder does not need to be given any more authority. The power it has is already one of the various reasons that treatment is needed and that health disparities have been caused. Eating disorders are a strong force that not only impacts the person who is suffering but their entire environment as well.
To name a disorder is to personify it. When you have an eating disorder for a period of time that “person” becomes part of you and an attachment can form. Getting rid of such a large part of you can be highly intimidating and is often one of the challenges many sufferers face. Victims already have a fear of losing their eating disorders because it is such a large part of their lives without even considering that losing the disorder would entail losing part of you.
However, separating the disorder can also be positive when it is used for encouragement purposes. For example, knowing that “Ed” is the reason that you want to restrict but still fighting against “him” by not restricting and allowing yourself to enjoy a healthy meal. By focusing on using “I” statements such as “I am hungry”, those with eating disorders are able to empower themselves. They must relearn how to listen to what their body really needs, versus what “Ed” wants.
At the Inner Door Center ® we do not encourage separating your eating disorder from yourself. Integration of your eating disorder with yourself is also congruent in Mindfulness, Yoga-based treatment. An eating disorder is a disease, not a person and thus it should be treated that way. The disease needs to be worked on with the ultimate goal of recovery. We can help you through your recovery at Inner Door ®. Visit our website at innerdoorcenter.com or call our office at (248) 336-2868 to obtain more information.