Contributed by a former McCallum Place patient
I wrote this poem, A Farewell to My Eating Disorder, while in the partial hospital program at McCallum Place. It captures the recognition that the loud voice of my eating disorder became a little bit quieter the more I did the opposite of what it was yelling at me to do.
Saying goodbye to an eating disorder isn’t quite like saying goodbye to a stranger you will never meet again. Saying goodbye to an eating disorder is saying goodbye to a piece of yourself, an identity that you held onto for so long. It is like ripping out part of your brain that promised you safety, security, control, and freedom.
It sounds painful because it is. It is a lengthy process of cutting off a sliver of that “thing” wrapped around your brain controlling your thoughts and your actions. When it is gone, the emptiness and wounds are still there. It still hurts because you are healing. The pain in your brain reminds you that the eating disorder was there and has left marks. It is up to you to heal or give in and let it swallow your brain, controlling thoughts and actions again. The poem is about finally letting go of something so powerful that convinced you, you were in control.
A Farewell to My Eating Disorder
This isn’t goodbye, but a see you again.
I will see you again in a different light, through a different lens
I will step on you and make sure you stay plastered in the mud
When the mud starts to crack, you will inch out and bud
You’ll try to reach for me and devour my heart
I will acknowledge you and let out a big fart
Because I ate food today and I’m off to a fresh start
Some days I will want you to solve my equations of pain
Other days I will look at you and see darkness and rain
You were my best friend, the voice that saved my life
You were my best friend, the voice that took my life
You helped me succeed, win, and dominate
You helped me fail, lose, and deteriorate
You were my truth, my helper, and my excuse
You guided my so far, my anxiety felt loose
Numbness from pain, hate, fear, and criticism
Numbness from happiness, love, safety, and individualism
It’s so hard to say bye because I don’t want you to go
It’s so hard to say bye because you won’t go
If I can ignore you, I can ignore hate and fear
You are what I know but what if I could know more?
I know feeling hunger is addicting but so is fullness
Fullness of life, happiness, imagination, and sadness
I can feel them all without feeling you
I can be myself and know the new
You are in the air; I can breathe you in and breathe you out
You will make me cough and scream and shout
Your air is crisp, my lungs know you’re a liar
Your smoke smells so good, I want to be warm by the fire
I will grab a marshmallow, watch it burn ‘til it cracks
Use your flames for my s’mores, love food, and laugh
This is me, enjoying me by using you
I will use you to fuel my desire for the new
You are what I know and I am what you know
Together let’s change the story and turn it into a show
But when I find myself, you need to go.
This is a goodbye and a see you never again
I will by myself in a different light, through a different lens.