20 February 2017 // At Ursinus College

An Eating Disorder Relapse

So here’s to starting over. Here is to day one of being symptom free again.

Liana Weishaar

I should have called.

I knew he would have stopped me, even from miles away.

My eating disorder and familiar foe, Ed, knew that as well. What was earlier a sweet victory bowl of ice cream in celebration of a symptom-free month soon became a tinted binge. We stuffed and shoveled as a I felt my 40 days free from Ed coming to an end.

I should have called.

But Ed sang his sweet siren song of freedom.

"Purge," he sang. "Purge and be free from the hurt and the fear of being alone after being discharged from treatment."

I should have called.

Each spoonful becoming more tasteless as this bowl of ice cream became less of a late night delight and more of Ed's controlling binge.

I should have called.

He would have stopped me, Ed knew this and sang his siren song louder.

"It's just a bowl of ice cream," he sang. "Everyone eats ice cream!"

"Indulge," he sang. "You deserve this after how hard it was during those 40 days without me."

With that, he captured me with his siren song and I began to eat spoonful after spoonful of what once was a happy childhood treat, now turned to Ed's binge food.

Keep going Ed sang. My stomach tightened and began to hurt from being overly full. Never the less, I kept shoveling spoonful after spoonful until...

My spoon reached the bottom of the carton and Ed began to sing a different tune.

I should have called.

As I stared at the bottom of the carton, I felt Ed’s lyrics of worthlessness sink in. Sitting alone in this unfamiliar house, motionless on the kitchen floor, my world slowed. The realization my 40 days of being symptom free were coming to an end at this very moment.

I was falling too fast to catch myself or even reach out for help.

I should have called.

Ed took advantage of my vulnerability and sang his familiar song louder and louder.

I walked to the bathroom on autopilot. I turned on the sink faucet, drank in the key to my freedom, and felt the defeat as it all came back out. Right then and there, my symptom-free streak ended.

Waves upon waves came out as Ed sang praises to empty my stomach into the porcelain.

And when it was all finally over, Ed was silent, nowhere to be found. Ed left me with my thoughts of despair and failure after my first relapse since finishing treatment.

And that’s when I finally called.

But it was too late, Ed’s siren call had ended.

Ed had left me empty, worthless and defeated.

Causing my loved ones to be disappointed and angry.

40 days of being symptom-free and Ed defeated me with a bowl of ice cream.

After tonight, I can't promise I won’t relapse again.

But I can promise that I will learn.

And what I learned from this relapse is that next time Ed sings his siren song, call.

Ed can not take away my 40 days symptom-free, I won’t let him.

So here is to starting over and to day one of being symptom free again.

He may have won this battle but God willing, I will win this war.