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The ED Voice


To have an eating disorder is to constantly have a voice in your head. Overtime, I have learned to dissociate from it – it is not my voice, I know now, it is the ED voice.

The ED voice constantly criticises me, leaving me so mentally tired I sometimes have no energy to do anything. The ED voice tells me not to eat when I’m hungry. When I binge, the ED voice says “you’re the fattest woman alive and you’ll never ever be able to lose weight again”. If I don’t spend 2 hours in the gym the next day, the ED voice says “you are not entitled to eat”. The ED voice compares me to others; when I see a bigger woman, it says “you’re as big as her and you both need to diet” and if I see a slimmer woman, it tells me “she’s so beautiful and look at you, you should be ashamed of yourself.” The ED voice played a big role in my recent trauma in Helsinki; as I stood at the airport, unable to get my flight, the ED voice said: “another day without the gym, you’ll gain weight”.

Part of recovery is learning to stand up to that voice. Firstly, dissociating from it, labelling it, maybe even giving it a name. I often call it the Bully – short for bulimia and a very apt name! So I know that voice isn’t really me. Secondly, challenging that voice and replacing negative thoughts.

With MY voice, I tell myself “Never mind, I binged today but it’s not the end of the world and tomorrow is a fresh start” and “Exercise should be fun! Listen to your body and don’t force yourself”. My voice speaks intuitively for my body, telling me to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. My voice knows that judging others by appearance is very wrong, and that what matters the most is being happy, strong and healthy.

The closer I get to recovery, the better I am at choosing which voice to listen to.

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