I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I can’t help wondering what my life would be like if I’d never developed an eating disorder. Considering this all started before I was even in junior high school, I never had much of a chance to get to know myself and figure out who I was before Ed took over. All my choices and changes and life events since age twelve (at least) have been influenced by that eating disordered voice in my head. Without Ed telling me what to do, who knows what I would have done in my life up until now; I could have turned out a completely different human had I never listened.
Not to say, necessarily, that I regret all my life choices. Who knows, maybe without a fear of frivolous calories I would have started drinking excessively and become an alcoholic. Bad things happen in everyone’s lives – my big bad thing just happened to be an eating disorder. I just find it interesting (and kind of scary) to wonder what could have been.
So what’s brought this bunch of wonderings into my mind? While trying to figure out school and career and future plans recently, I think I saved myself from letting Ed make a huge life choice for me.
My plan (up until now, I guess) was to go back to university this fall and study Nutrition. I know, with such a history of eating disorders, definitely a great idea, right? Maaaybe not. But I justified it by saying that nutrition has been something I wanted to do since high school, and that I wanted to help others recover from eating disorders someday. Both true, but even in high school when I first considered studying dietetics, Ed was influencing me. I’m starting to think it wasn’t a genuine Emily interest as much as it was an Ed interest.
Talking about body systems and calories and micro/macronutrients all day? Yeah, sounds like something Ed would love. My eating disorder has always loved to overanalyze food, so of course a career doing so sounded perfect. Me, though? I really don’t think that is, or ever will be, a positive thing to have in my daily life. Not to mention that hospitals and doctors appointments stress me out.
I feel bad, “giving up on my dream”. Everyone I talked to about my plans for the fall was encouraging and so pleased to hear I was headed back to study nutrition. They were excited for me, glad I was going back to school and doing something I really wanted and cared about. A part of me is worried that everyone will be disappointed in me, or think I’m a lazy quitter who doesn’t want to put in the effort at school.
There’s another part of me, though, that’s relieved. And a little proud of myself. I’m glad I realized this now, before I’ve committed to anything, before I’m years into my studies, and before I get myself stuck in a potentially triggering career for life. This might be the beginning of making my own life choices, and taking those decisions away from Ed.
I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I’m only twenty-three, I have time to figure it out. Maybe I’ll stay at my current job for a while, maybe this will lead to bigger things in the same field, maybe I’ll have a brainwave and start on a completely different path. Whatever I decide, I’d like to think it will be me making that choice, because Ed’s had control for far too long.
Gaining just another little bit of freedom from the eating disorder, I think. 🙂