Taking off my ED-phones

I couldn't resist the pun. I'm only human, you know.

But having an eating disorder is a lot like wearing headphones. The voice of Ed drowns out everything else in the world. It's out there, you kind of know it's out there, but you're also quite oblivious. You pick and choose what you pay attention to. And everything- everything- is filtered through those headphones.

These are not those little iPod earbuds. No, these are the headphones that airplane pilots wear. The ones that are all foamy and have the huuuuuuuuuuuuge strap that goes over your head and cover not only your ears, but half your head. Yep. Ed is that big.

The formal description of these headphones are as follows:
Full-size headphones, more correctly called circumaural ("around the ear")
headphones, have larger cup-shaped earpieces that fit over and around the
earlobes. Some of these circumaural headphones are a "closed" or sealed-earcup
construction providing isolation / noise-blocking from outside sounds, but many
are not sealed. In fact, the very best-sounding of this breed of headphone are
as open as possible.

These ED-phones don't start off as those big ass deals in the photo. They start off quietly. Then Ed turns up the volume, bit by bit, so you don't even notice how loud his voice is getting. All of a sudden, it happens. Nothing but Ed's voice. Only the buildup was so slow, you forget that there even was outside noise you were supposed to be listening to.

You get the idea.

I don't know. Maybe ED-phones are effective because they make you think that you're hearing outside noise, even though you really aren't. You're just hearing Ed. Tuned into radio station KFAT. That's Ed speak for "Okay, you really are fat." All Ed, all the time.

Now, it might be a little more tolerable if Ed played better, nicer, happier music. Not Ed. He's a cross between Ozzy Osborne, Marilyn Manson, and Aerosmith on meth. Loud and angry and screeching and it doesn't freaking stop.

And yes, that IS Steve Tyler with a milk mustache for the "Got Milk" ads.

The recovery voice is different. It's a little more like, I don't know, Yanni.

Kinda quiet, kinda wussy at first. And really hard to hear over the heavy metal rock blaring in your ears. It takes a while for the recovery music to get enough volume that you even know there's other music in the world. Sometimes, a loved one will peel off an earpiece and ask, "Hello? Anyone in here?" I would always snap, "I'm fine but I can't hear my music with you yelling at me!"

It took a while for me to get it. To understand that there a) was other voices out there and b) they were worth listening to.

I still find myself listening to my ED-phones instead of my healthy voice. I do it a lot less often than before, but I do have station KFAT on my tuner. I guess the difference is that I recognize it now. Eventually.

Don't get me wrong- recovery ain't like listening to Yanni, though it may occasionally feel as never ending as one of his CD's. I personally prefer Irish/Scottish lads, specifically those who can use electronic bagpipes while wearing black leather kilts.

Rock on.

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wading through recovery said...

omg, that was the best description EVER! : )

carrie said...

Heh...and I was personally fond of the Yanni pic myself. ;)

I'm a sucker for metaphors. It's almost pathological. Glad you liked it, though.

mary said...

We ALL have messages that we allow to get into our head at times and bring us down. Believe it or not it's a human condition and unless they've had a lobotomy,with a plastic fork, most people can relate. With ED though it's more invasive, more persistent, and it's beyond rude,it's downright ugly.
You've got to keep listening to Yanni or those kinky black leather kilt dudes! LOL That's good stuff and humor is alien to Ed. He's so boring and predictable that you probably know all his lines before he says them...too well. Time to forget him and listen to that inner voice calling you back..and to the outer one's saying get your ass outta there and come eat and connect with life. We can be much louder than ED and we'd be happy to pummel his words and help stop him./*
Yes, you have the imagination and all the tools you need to destroy that ED voice and 'Carrie :) on'![hmmmm wasn't that in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?
Be good today...be bad today..have a good one.

Sarah said...

It was a great description. It sounded like an abusive boyfriend.

I think metaphors can make difficult things easier to digest (no pun intended). We can hear truths wearing "safe" costumes.

Yanni?!?! ;-)

Faith said...

Brilliant metaphor. I want to show this post to my T.

Thanks Carrie

Faith said...

BTW - I linked to you in my post today.

carrie said...


Nope, Ed does not like humor. It's one of my favorite recovery weapons. :) I remember when Bill and Ted came out all those years ago. My bro thought it was a useful way to learn history.


My parents were, alas, initial fans of Yanni. My freshman bio teacher in HS was a fan as well. She played his music during exams because she thought it would help us think better. That being said, she was also accused of growing marijuana at school and dropping acid with students on a field trip in the early 80s. Do with that what you will.

Metaphors are lovely, lovely things.


Aw, thanks. I'm blushing. Glad you enjoyed it and found it useful.

Katy said...


Maybe Ed needs that plastic fork lobotomy...

You exactly nailed it though. I've heard all the "ED voice" talk and "Ed-as-separate person" analogy, but I think Ed-phones is much more apt. Ed is not a full person (partly b/c he's freaking STARVING), nor is he part of "me." He may be in my head but he's not ME. He's just LOUD and it's really really hard to find anything to drown him out. But wait, a thought!

*sneaks on her iPod headphones and takes a good listen to kicking-ass Rocky music*

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about...

*goes grumbling off to ED-group with her fingers in her ears going LALALALA at the top of her lungs to go eat dinner, and, if it's a lucky night, dessert. which she sorely missed. because chocolate freaking rocks.*

(Oh, and I'm pathological lover of long, involved metaphors as well. I think it's why I didn't become an English major--I would've pushed some poor professor over the edge.)

Msempower (aka Em) said...

I used to think listening to Yanni was like being in a torture chamber. When I saw the pic, his hair perpetually blowing in the breeze, I got queezy.

Then, I read on...

"...recovery ain't like listening to Yanni, though it may occasionally feel as never ending as one of his CD's."

Ahhh...yes, how right you are. Phew! I thought we might have been at a Yanni impass- for I gotta tell you I YanNO Yanni.

Most importantly, you = brilliant! If anyone disagrees, I bestow the Johnny Cash middle finger on their arse!


p.s. Do you think Weight Watchers owns stock in the makers of the ED-phones???

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! I love the comparison! Still laughing over it to the point where I had to show my fiancee what I was laughing so much about. He thought it was amusing, too, especially with the pictures. :)

Laura Collins said...

You ROCK the analogies!

thefarsideofthemirror said...

Too amazingly perfect! I wish KFAT would disappear off the radar completely. I'm getting sick of it playing the same stupid songs over and over.

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About Me

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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