Long before I started this blog, when I started with my latest T last fall, I wanted to know what I should call my eating disorder. Ed seems the natural name – except that in my head, the woman with the megaphone is definitely a woman. She’s loud, she’s obnoxious, she’s rude… and at some level I know she’s wrong. But she’s not an “Ed.”
A lot of the pro-ED sites have co-opted Ana and Mia to mean the “beautiful” side of eating disorders. I get what they’re trying to do. By denying the harm and the hatred of EDs, the pro-mia and pro-ana sites (as well as those really crappy thinspiration photos) want to perpetuate the myth that if you only do it every once in a while – if you eat occasionally – if you don’t get crazy Karen-Carpenter/Olsen twins sick – it’s not an illness. It’s a lifestyle. I’m old enough to remember when cigarette companies tried to make us all believe that if we just had a ciggie now and then, we’d be slim and cool and beautiful. Instead of hacking up half of a lung.
So for me, the names Ana and Mia only work when I refer to the disorder. But the disorder isn’t the same as the voice in my head. Because that voice existed a loooong time ago, long before I ever discovered the rapture of purging and the thrill of restricting.
I don’t know who’s out there reading this – if anyone – but if you can comment on a name suggestion for the bitch in my head, I’d appreciate it. T doesn’t like it when I call her (the VOICE – not T – I like T most of the time and even when I don’t she’s not a bitch) that name, so I’d like it to be something that is awful but not that awful.
What do you call your ED? Your other inner voice, the one that taunts and teases you, that never lets you forget what a failure you are? The one who never shuts up, she just quiets down now and then but she’s never really gone? The one who tempts you with the knife or the blade or the chocolate cake and chips or the new hypersensitive gadget to track every food, every movement, and every moment on the scale?
Who is she? Because maybe if I can start to put a name to her, I can start to put her in her place. I hope.