Okay, this sounds pretty basic. I know my eating disorder is not me, and that I am not my eating disorder. I know that I didn't choose to become anorexic and that it wasn't my fault I got ill. My disease was the result of genetic predisposition, a culture of avid dieters and thin-is-in, and some really bad luck. I get that. And yet, I still feel almost no emotion towards having had anorexia. I feel plenty of emotion towards ME for being short-sighted enough for starting down that primrose path turned sewer, but not towards the illness.
I mean, my eating disorder has made a mess of my life, and I still can't get angry at my illness. Me, yes. Ed, no.
Which is why a blog post titled "Hating the illness, not the afflicted" likely struck home with me. Christine Stapleton writes:
It has taken years, and many raging swings of a foam bat against a pillow, to separate the disease from the nasty words, neglect and embarrassment caused by my own alcoholism and the alcoholics in my life. I think of my parents’ cancer, and how easy it was to hate their cancer and not them. But I hated my father’s alcoholism - and sometimes I hated him. I wish with all my might that I had been able to separate his alcoholism from him, the father who loved me immensely - the very best he could.
Today, as I wade through the wreckage of another alcoholic in my life, I will try to separate the disease from the person. Alcoholism is an explanation, not an excuse. I will carefully walk that line between allowing myself to be hurt and hurting the still sick, and suffering alcoholic. And I will pray that I can see that line today and stay on it.
I haven't forgiven myself for my eating disorder, and maybe it's about time.