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Eating Disorder Brooding: Inside the Mind of Ed

Eating Disorder Brooding: Inside the Mind of Ed

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Eating Disorder Brooding: Inside the Mind of Ed

207 pagine
6 ore
Jun 6, 2014


Compare your thighs squashed in the sitting position to someone sitting next to you. Yours must not be bigger. Can you control your eating? Are you planning your next binge or are you strong enough to abstain? Ugh! You are disgusting and everybody knows it.

Welcome to the mind of an eating disorder! In this role-play, Ed is a homunculus (a tiny being) in the brain helping his protégés navigate their fight against eating. This book is a collection of his commentaries on his mission along with notes on one particular protégé, the author written under the guise of Lauren. Ed makes sure to tell Lauren how fat and ugly she is through her binges, her 32-inch waistline, and even through her breasts that develop too soon. Ed gladly saves the day! He explains his sales pitch, how he came to be, how he uses psychological findings to his advantage, his methods for losing weight, how he uses God against his protégés, and just how tricky he is. Most importantly Ed writes with a trembling hand the answer to getting rid of him. If you know someone who struggles with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating or want to learn how to protect your children then Eating Disorder Brooding: Understand What She's Going Through explains this beast. It’s eating disorders meets Psychology 101 meets C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.

There is so much self-hatred in people who suffer from eating disorders and this book is evidence of that. After writing this book the author felt extreme disgust towards Ed. She believes it will do the same for you and give you the tools to fight him.

Jun 6, 2014

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Eating Disorder Brooding - Julia Waddell


Eating Disorder Brooding:

Understand What She’s Going Through

Copyright © 2014 Julia Waddell, MA

All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form; however, a reviewer may quote brief passages.

Julia is available for speaking engagements across the country. Requests for Julia to speak at your function should be forwarded to

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. (Please note that any underscores are added by Ed.)

The Precious Moments Bible quotation is from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Cover designed by Julia Waddell

Cover image "grab" by Christy Mckenna is licensed under CC BY 4.0

The author has based this book on her life experiences and education. She intends for this book to go together with, not replace, services from a licensed physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, and/or counselor.

Dedicated to my daughters,

Ava Kylynne

Eden Scott

Olive Katherine

Oh how I love you, my darlings...

Introduction—by Julia

The Homunculus: Meet Ed

Ed’s Genesis

A Day in the Life with Ed I

Lauren’s Lament

Lauren’s Binge Talking I

Adolescent Development

A Day in the Life with Ed II


Rock Bottom

Lauren’s Binge Talking II

Treatment: A Diatribe Against Ed

Treatment: A Family’s Role


Ed’s Demise

Epilogue—by Julia


PLEASE COMPARE YOUR thighs in the sitting position squashed by the weight of gravity to someone sitting next to you. Yours must not be bigger. Next, touch your collarbones. Do they protrude out for the world to see? And what about your thigh gap? How much space is in between your thighs when standing with your feet together? Do you even have a space? Also, if you are overweight (add 100 pounds to your current weight to decipher this) don’t even think about going swimming this weekend, as you should not embarrass your body like that. Finally, you will probably go on a binge tonight because you have no self-control (the heifer that you are)—you’ll most likely make it fun and rent a movie. Afterward you must choose one of these ways to get rid of your calories: immediately make yourself vomit several times until you get to your marker food, take 15 laxatives before you go to bed, get up in the morning to workout for 2 hours, or do not eat anything all day tomorrow.

Welcome to the mind of an eating disorder! (Note: Do not follow through with the directives above.)

Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese warrior believed to have penned the book The Art of War, cautioned: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. The families, friends, and professionals of the estimated 11 million suffers from an eating disorder need to know thy enemy in this battle against an eating disorder. This book is a firsthand look into the eating disordered mind.

Eating disorders can be so confusing and disabling and yet so specific and purposeful at the same time. Formally, eating disorders include anorexia nervosa (characterized by a refusal to eat), bulimia nervosa (characterized by episodes of binging and purging), and binge-eating disorder (characterized by eating excessive amounts of food, but not counteracting this with purging). The paradox of an eating disorder, then, is the pull to binge and the fear to eat. How can an eating disorder aim for two completely different things?

You will see how in this book.

For now allow me to formally introduce you to Ed, an acronym for eating disorder. Who is this Ed? Does he symbolize a monster that is there to terrorize? Does he symbolize an abusive boyfriend who feels the need to control? Does he symbolize a god who needs devotion? Does he symbolize an addiction that one is powerless against? Or does he symbolize a friend who is a trusted companion?

Ed is none of these.

For this role-play Ed is a homunculus (a small being) living in the head. This concept came from early psychology, which used a homunculus to explain how our consciousness interpreted data that came through our senses: Our eyes perceived an image, which then sent this information to a little person in our head who then viewed this image. Ed is this separate being in our head that has access to every thought, feeling, and event—he knows all about his protégés. He is the first stop of what comes through the senses and he uses anything for his cause. He uses behavioral tactics, adolescent development, cultural cues, God, therapy, and the list goes on. He believes he is a friend protecting his protégés from inconsistencies in their lives that bring up anxieties. His answer: stay away from food and become stick skinny. Ed desperately hates food and wants to help his protégés be thin. Ed believes giving him up will lead to bad things, such as being fat, out-of-control, and unimportant.

This is Ed.

Ed is smart and Ed is cunning.

By the way, Ed would be vehemently against the assertion that he is the enemy. But he is. And we need to get to know Ed. We need to know thy enemy.

Before you read further you need to be part of this role-play: Please put a pair of imaginary contact lenses in the palm of your hand. Next, squirt some tear-free super glue on the back of the contact lenses and then insert one onto each eye. Good. You need to know that these contact lenses are special because Ed wears the very ones you are wearing. They add a good 50 to 100 pounds of fat to your own body. They do not work looking at other bodies—only yours. This is what Ed sees and this is what someone with an eating disorder sees. So how can they believe anything you argue? It goes against everything they are seeing.

I’m sure an extensive amount of questions have crossed your mind: Why can’t she just eat? Why does she think she’s fat? What does she see in the mirror? Why does she binge? How can I help her? How did she get an eating disorder? How can I prevent an eating disorder? If you have asked any of these questions then this book is for you.

Self-mutilation and binge eating are also heavily explored through the character. In fact, self-mutilation is another homunculus Ed writes about named SI, an acronym for self-injury, and binge eating is explained through the weakness of the character’s id (a Freudian term discussed in chapter 2). This book seeks to answer these mysteries and more by showing the many variables of life and how they interact to bring about an eating disorder and its comorbid disorders.

Nevertheless, these variables you will read about do not cause one to have an eating disorder, rather there are many other factors at play as well. For example, our culture needs to understand that magazines adorned with beautiful models and celebrities do not cause eating disorders.


These magazines influence our culture, especially the teen culture. It puts a pressure on our teens that is very specific. The stories and images put ideas and standards into our collective cultural thinking. They show impossible standards and idealistic existences—a utopian if you will.

There is indeed a link.

There is also a higher incidence of people suffering from an eating disorder among certain athletes. Again, being in these sports do not cause one to have an eating disorder. Rather, many other variables need to be at play, and it is all of these variables interacting to make a concoction of the necessary ingredients to bring about an eating disorder.

I believe the psychological field has it wrong: It is not that people try to escape their emotions by overeating, rather they were not taught how to handle the healthy version of an emotion so the unhealthy version is manifested. In chapter 6 on adolescent development I will delve into this further. However, do something with this information. Seek professional help; it is your responsibility to do so. And my dear sweet readers who may be struggling with an eating disorder believe me when I say that it is worth it. Life is much happier now than when I was in the grip of Ed. There is a freedom and a weightlessness that comes from escaping him. I beg you to believe me; however, I know it is terrifying to do so.

This book is a collection of Ed’s commentaries on his mission along with his thoughts on one particular protégé, me written under the guise of Lauren. I am an experienced professional with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and I also teach psychology for an online university. Along with an educational background I also have a personal history with an eating disorder and received inpatient treatment in 1999 and again in 2000. Ed’s first entry begins in the year 1994 when I was around 14 years old. I have based this book on my life experiences and included actual journal entries and pictures during that time. Eating disorders are precipitated by self-hate, anxieties, and control—these feelings are palpable in the journal entries. Please note that some names and places have been changed to protect the people I love.

People fantasize about being thin. She’ll wear that outfit when she’s lost 50 pounds or he’ll go without a shirt to the pool when he’s down 30 pounds. With reason fantasies to be thin spur people to healthier eating and implementing a workout plan. Without reason fantasies to be thin produce the homunculus and impossible monster writing this book: Ed.

It has been many years since I conversed with Ed. It took purposeful effort to get into the mindset and hear him speak as I wrote this book. I think this will be a tough read. My feeling after writing this book was extreme disgust for Ed. I hope it does the same for you and gives you tools to fight him.



Chapter 1

The Homunculus:

Meet Ed

Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters...

~Francisco Goya

I AM SITTING ON MY noble throne in Lauren’s brain whispering into her ear, Wow! Look at that skinny girl’s legs. Her thighs don’t touch when her feet are together. She has that beautiful, covetous space. She is so dainty, so cute, so admired by everyone for being thin, so comfortable in her body, so fashionable, and so at ease around food. What an amazing life!

I point out how skinny girls can wrap their arms around their waist. No fat on their arms preventing this. Their arms are as thin as a rail. Lauren has got to have this, too, in order to be happy. I also covet a stomach that is concave. I emphatically believe that my protégés who have rolls of fat blubbering out from their fleshy stomach should feel so ashamed they need to cover them up and never let anyone see or touch them. In fact, in many of my protégés lowest moments they have imagined cutting the fat rolls right from their bodies! It would be so easy, wouldn’t it? Just grab it and slice it off. Who cares about the blood and the pain because you would be thinner? That pair of jeans would fit comfortably without a bit of muffin top spilling over the sides.

And I detest chubby cheeks and double chins on my protégés. I praise sunken cheeks that only starvation can bring. Oh how I love any bone that is protruding out from the body: hip bones, rib bones, collarbones, backbones, shoulder blades, the spine, and more bones! They demand respect. They declare: I am thin! I am beautiful! I am envied! I am accepted! I am loved! I am comfortable!

What I have described is true skinniness!

Like a metronome ticking to keep the beat for a pianist my tick is for the best interest of my protégés: You must be thin.... TICK.... You must not eat.... TICK.... You must be in control.... TICK.

The lucky people are thin and are coveted and are adored.

The unlucky people grow fat and are judged and are ignored.

Though my methods can be deadly life will be better. I encourage my protégés to starve, to chew gum, to take laxatives, to sleep, to eat healthy, to eat unhealthy, to take diet pills, and more. It doesn’t matter whether they are engaging in constructive or destructive behaviors because all roads lead to a surety that they will be protected and have a hope for a beautiful future. They are so lucky to have me!

And who am I? I am known by many names. Ana (short for anorexia) and Mia (short for bulimia) are just two personas I have taken on because the psychological field needs to categorize the behaviors they see coming from my protégés, but I should note that many people under my control don’t meet these qualifications. People would be surprised at how many obese people agree with my thoughts. Nonetheless, my Ana and Mia girls are the ones I burst with pride for—they are not lackadaisical.

The psychological field has this book called the DSM-IV that contains diagnoses for abnormal behavior (anything that is interfering with multiple areas of someone’s life is most likely deemed abnormal). So to put it simply, in order to be diagnosed with bulimia nervosa one must overeat uncontrollably and then use a method to rid the calories. In order to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa one must be at a really low body weight—and refuse to gain. My favorite qualification is that a menstruating girl needs to not have a period for 3 months in a row. This is a big milestone for my Ana girls! When their menstruation ceases it is because they have gone under that magical weight number. Oh what a day of celebration! It is one of my bragging rights!

I often pity my Mia girls because they may never reach Ana success. Usually my control starts too late to influence them to

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