The Voice of ED – Revealed

One of the things that gets tossed around when talking about anorexia and eating disorders, is this notion of the “Voice of ED.” I remember when I first got to inpatient, all the girls and the staff would talk about, “ED this” and the “voice of ED, that.” To be honest, at first, I thought it was so stupid: I mean, how juvenile and foolish to talk about this abstract notion of an “ED voice.”

But I soon came to realize that they were right on the money about this “ED voice.” ED dictated the inner Lies in my head. ED ordered me to believe that I was worthless. ED commanded my self-hatred.

That’s another thing that gets gratuitously thrown around a lot: is the notion of self-hatred — That she feels an enormous sense of self-loathing and disgust.

So, okay, we hear that. She hates herself. Blah, blah, blah, next topic.

No. I don’t think people quite understand the severity of that self-contempt. Unless a person has had an eating disorder, they will never truly know the degree to which she literally abhors herself. Not just her body – but also her soul, her spirit, her heart, her persona. Who she is. And it is all dictated and decreed by the “voice of ED.” ED: a ruthless tyrant, who orders this self-hatred.

So I was looking through a journal I kept during my eating disorder and found an entry that actually captured the “voice of ED.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, these words were directly from ED. And it was particularly revealing in the level of self-hatred and the degree of control ED had.

And I’m sharing it, because the “Voice of ED” is an abstract concept for those that haven’t personally had an eating disorder. Parents often think, “What a cop-out,” or “Gimme a break…the ‘voice of ED?’ Please. What do you take me for?” Well, I’m here to tell you, it is real. And this is ED, verbalized.

This is the entry from my birthday: You can see, halfway through, where ED comes in and takes over.

The silence is throbbing inside of my ear.

My spirit, it yearns for a way out of here.

Out of this hell hole – This pit of despair,

That I’ve come to fancy, despite of its fares.

The toll takes me back to a place I despise,

Where I’m full of deceit, self-destruction and lies.

My soul was as white as the new fallen snow,

Now is black with the soot from the fires below.

And I hate who I see when I look in the mirror.

I don’t know this new girl who out-lashes in fear.

She’s deliberately hurting the ones she loves best.

Just think of the guilt when they’re laid to rest.

But this bitch doesn’t care – she looks the other way,

When her parents call her and text every day.

Cuz they’re worried and love their sweet baby dear,

But she spits and curses a mean, “don’t you dare.”

Just who is this monster, this girl cold as stone?

Are you really this fucking depressed and alone?

What’s wrong with you, girl, you pathetic fat heap?

You’re a loser, a screw up, just pass out to sleep.

That’s the one thing you’re good at: just wasting away.

And while you’re at it, stop eating – leave your fat ass away.

It’s your birthday and you’re an enormous-ass whale.

And the one thing you’ve done with your life is to fail.

You’ve got no friends and your life is a joke.

And did I mention your fat ass is completely broke?

That’s right! Your whole life’s a pathetic scam.

What a waste! – You’re not even worth a small damn.

You should’ve just hauled off and died in Chuck-town,

Now look, in the pot, just flush your life down.

No one loves you, you’re worthless, just spare us the time,

Won’t you please disappear – is that such a crime?!

Just reading this – gag me – stop wasting your ink.

Cuz if people read this, they won’t even blink.

Get it through your brain – they don’t give a damn!

No one loves you! Not even your dog is your fan.

That’s why I tell you to just fucking quit.

But that’s it! I am done. In your face I do spit.

Wow. It’s hard to believe the dark place I was in. This exemplifies how ED berated me every night. That darkness was all I knew. And it’s all your loved one knows.

People talk about the “voice of ED” as the driving force behind her eating disorder. This “ED voice” sounds so trivial, or childish, but it is actually real. And a powerful dictator at that. This poem is ED. This poem verbalizes ED’s tireless lashings, and rings true for eating disorder sufferers everywhere.

This is the “voice of ED” that she talks about. This is who is manipulating and controlling your loved one. This is who you’re up against.

48 responses to “The Voice of ED – Revealed”

  1. I recall one time at church, I was anxious (like usual) and talking to my friends, being like “It is saying this, it is saying that”. I speak pretty openly with them about it, so then my one friend looked up and was like, “It, it, it, what is ‘it’?” So then I said, “…Satan.” To which he responded, “Well if you know that, then…” It’s true, if we really know where it comes from, not just in theory, not just as knowledge, but really understand it in our hearts and know what that means, then truly we could deny the thoughts; of course we can not do that of ourselves, but like everything God must give us that grace.

  2. OK, I didn’t REALLY ‘like’ reading this, but that’s the only button there. I truly hope that people reading this know at what cost to yourself the words are put to paper. I have some idea of the personal cost of laying bare your soul in the hopes someone will understand it is being done for THEM.

    I can only go so far in one siting, though, my friend. You wear me out. 😉

    • ha, thanks Tony. Yes, this was probably the hardest post to push “publish” on, but it was the post that I knew NEEDED to be published to help the loved ones understand what their daughter/son/friend/wife/SO was going through. ED is not a cry for attention….it is real for a lot of people. And this is a glimpse “behind the curtain.” I pray that it will help others come to understand. Thank you for your support, Tony.

  3. I’m making my way through all your posts. You, my friend, are a precious gift. The depth you possess, your humility, and your ability to express yourself are drawing me in to your story. So far, your description of your father’s (on Earth) response to your ED, and this awful ED voice have moved me the most.

    If I didn’t believe Satan was real before, this voice you’ve given “it” would convince me. That voice is pure evil.

    I have found myself praying for you on my daily walks. Thank you for sharing yourself, and living big.

    • Hi friend. Wow, thank you so much. For the incredibly kind words, encouragement, compassion, and prayers. It means a lot. Truly. Thank you. I don’t know why He placed it on my heart to share my experience, but my hope and prayer is that it will help even one person who is going through or has a loved one going through this horrid disease. God is so good and brought me though – it wasn’t my doing but His. And you’re so right. “ED” and satan are interchangeable. I don’t want to sound like a batty extremist, but I 100% believe that is true. Praise be to Jesus that He delivered me. Thank you for reading, friend. Blessings to you and yours.

  4. Long ago, I had a patient, an alarmingly thin young girl, with an eye condition the nature of which I forget. I reported her thinness, which she disguised with very loose clothing, to the ophthalmolgist in charge suspecting that it was anorexia and wanting to contact her GP (though there was nothing in her notes to suggest she had either ED or a wasting condition). The Ophthalmologist, who was both understanding and compassionate, in this instance told me to do nothing and speak to no-one. I continued seeing her for some time and although I became increasingly worried for her I said and did nothing. Eventually she stopped coming, but I have always wondered if I should have done more.
    From some of your posts I feel love and understanding needs to come from family and close friends. Is it better for strangers to hold back? She was of age and came alone so I had no contact with her family.

    • This is such a great question. I think that speaking the truth in love, especially coming from someone with whom there is trust, is always a good thing. Because, as you can tell from this post, they cannot help themselves. They are unable to. Had it not been for an intervention, I would not have gotten help. So yes, I think that approaching the issue is always a good thing. And how you go about doing it is always important. Gentleness and love first and foremost. But sometimes, as in my case, “tough love” has to be administered. She may be angry at first, but with recovery will come to appreciate the care and genuine concern had for her and the part you played in her healing. Thank you for this reflection. EDs are often tiptoed around, but I am in support of lovingly approaching the topic. The sooner you “catch” it, the easier it is to break the destructive thought process and patterns. I appreciate your readership, Tony. ☺️

      • Thank you. The case above is long past (I am now retired) and there can be danger in showing too much loving care for a patient -using ‘loving’ in the most Christian sense – when the problem is outside what you are treating her for. Perhaps one can encourage a sense of self-worth, in small talk, without mentioning the problem. That sounds very weak but it may be all there is. ‘When I am weak, then I am strong’ (Paul).

      • You’re so right. And suggesting self-worth truly does go a long way. A long, long way. And thanks for sharing that verse — it is one of my favorites. Blessings to you

  5. I started crying at this post so I just had to stop and leave a comment. This one really got to me. I love reading your posts because they are so truthful about this darkness. This voice is real, and this voice is Satan. As someone that’s dealt with depression and anxiety for quite a while now, I know this voice well. It’s actually been fairly recent that I’ve began to understand and separate this voice from my own. It’s a terrifying thing.

    • Hi Bailey, thank you so much for this reflection. You’re right-this darkness is terrifying and I am so grateful to God for rescuing from EDs grip. Everyday I praise Him for my life. Sending hugs. Thanks for reading xox

  6. This is very scary, because, yes, I could see where the voice of ED (Satan) took over. He is quite insidious and unrelenting, and, well…evil. So glad you are no longer listening to that voice

  7. I have never had an eating disorder. I tried so hard to control what I ate in high school because I felt like I was too much, no one loved me, and I was getting too fat. When I failed at that it caused me to hate who I was even more and depression and suicidal thought took it’s place. Something I have come to realize in my journey with God is that there are always two voices. There’s the voice of truth, and the voice of lies. God speaks the voice of truth and Satan speaks the voice of lies. Reading this post, when the words switched halfway through your poem, those words were not from your heart, but from Satan. He was speaking into your heart and feeding you those horrible lies. I know this because, even though I didn’t have an ed, those same words (minus the stop eating part) were spoken to me time and time again. I recognize that voice.

    For me, it can be so hard to decipher between the two. Sometimes I get so consumed in his lies that I start to believe them over the truth. I know that’s what happened to me in high school so intensely. But the funny thing is, when I was truly saved in my sophomore year of college, and I started learning more and seeking God more, I am now able to stop the lies running through my head a lot easier. They still come, and I still stumble over them, but I am able to speak truth over them and make them flee in the name of Jesus a lot more than I could before.

    This post is so powerful. It shows Satan in all his wickedness and shows him for who he is. A lier. It helps people to see that although he doesn’t have power, he is still able to try and mess with your mind through his voice. And if you don’t cling to the truth, and aren’t continually fed with God’s word over and over again, it gets harder and harder to tell the voice to flee.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. You’re right-he is the father of lies and seeks only to steal kill and destroy-literally. So glad that you have found that freedom. Amen to that. There is such freedom in Christ. God is good and we must dwell in that truth. Hugs and love xox

      • Christ has called us out of the world to remember that we are absolutely beautiful as God created us, his Holy Childs, eternal Spirit like him, who extend his love 😉 The only problem is, that the most people have forgotten that. The world is like a veil of forgetting, as long as the human mind is attached to the world. The freedom of Christ ist beyond that.

        Be blessed,

  8. Yes, I know that voice very well, Caralyn, because I have experienced depression. The „dark night of the soul“ in the words of the christian mystics. Dante described in the „Inferno“: „I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” thats exactly the experience. I call this voice in my own language the „voice of the Ego“. We can choose – in every moment – to believe and follow the voice of the Ego, with a mindsetting of separation, fear, judgment, conflict or the happy, joyous and free voice of the Holy Spirit (or Jesus), the voice of eternal truth and love. You can’t serve two masters, said Jesus in the Bible. Or in other words: you can’t follow two voices.
    Choose Jesus 🙂

  9. You will never be alone. Jesus is with you. And your friends (and I am proud to you have called me one of them) are with you. We will never leave nor forsake you. We, the People of the Kingdom, empower each other all the time, thats how we speak in Heaven with each other all the time.

    It is so much fun!!! 🙂

    „I don’t think we need a revival right now, I think we need a reformation! We need to return to the truth of the classic Gospel. You are a new creation in Christ. You are part of a race of people never seen in the earth. Nobody before Jesus ever had God living on the inside of them. He could come on them and lift off them, and now after Jesus–post Gospel–now all of us have God living on the inside of us. That never happened before. You are a new creation, never seen in the earth before and that needs a different language, a different lens, and a different mindset.“

    ~ Graham Cooke, from Developing Your Destiny

  10. Hello again, beloved Caralyn 😛 I highly recommend to you this message from Graham Cooke about the question why “wounded and betrayed believers are so useful to God?” – very powerful words. Please listen to it, if you have enough free time (I have the feeling, that I should show you this….. )

    Hugs !!! 🙂 and infinite epic blessings to you,

  11. Reblogged this on Faith Runner and commented:
    Since discovering my friend and fellow blogger at Beauty Beyond Bones more than a year ago this post has resonated with me, coming to mind again and again as I study opposition in Scripture and in my own walk with the Lord. I thought that this post added valuable context to my post from yesterday, “Do you want to get well?” because it illuminates the voice of discouragement that often keep us stuck by the side of the pool, rather than swimming in the life-giving waters that Jesus offers.

    While I am cautious about giving attention to the enemy, I think it is imperative to learn to distinguish that voice from God’s, and no one does a better job of this than BBB in this post.

    I invite you to prayerfully consider where you have heard (or are hearing) this voice in your life and to invite God in. (I also encourage you to follow Beauty Beyond Bones, one of my favorite blogs for inspiring and instructing my own walk with Jesus.)

  12. You are truly an inspiration and gift from God. This blog is so wonderful and you so brave to share your story so openly and so completely.

    I also struggled with ED and that voice for about 12 years of my life. I relate to this post and remember many long dark nights with that voice in my mind. I am so thankful to have found Jesus and to now have the knowledge and power to shut that voice up!

    I pray that you continue to “win” the battle and listen to the voice of truth! Keep up the good work sister 🙏 💕

    • Oh my goodness what a kind thing to say. Thank you. And thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry that our pasts are a common thread for us, but I am so glad that we are both basking in the freedom of Christ and the freedom of recovery. Cheering for you, Warrior! Hugs and love xox

  13. I think this post really exemplifies the extent of how much self-loathing and shame (as Dr. Brene Brown describes it) is at the core of our maladaptive behaviors. Thank you for sharing this raw picture. Btw have you read or watched any of Dr. Brown’s stuff? I’m sure you have since it’s right up your alley!

  14. Holy crap man.

    Praise the Lord for deliverance.

    This was difficult to read, as I’m sure it was difficult to write. But those days are no longer, and the cross remains.

    • The cross remains. AMEN TO THAT!!! Thank you Derek, yeah I’ve debated and debated and debated some more taking this particular post down, as it is the darkest one. But it needed to be shared so that people know the reality of the situation. i appreciate your compassionate and empathetic reaction to it. Hugs and love xox

      • Don’t get me wrong, it would be much easier to not have to see any person like this. But I’m always reminded of that part in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where the Beaver is talking to Lucy about Aslan.
        He is not safe, but he is good.
        The same is with Jesus and what He promised us for our lives.
        It will not be safe.
        It might not even be pleasant most of the time.
        But it will be good.
        Because He is good.
        Shoots, I’m preaching on a comment haha.
        PS: I live in Hawaii so you’ll likely receive my comments at weird hours 😛

  15. I know this post is older, but I found it fascinating that the dark voices that tear into people seem to come from a similar place. I know when I was reading this post, I recognized that voice.

    • Thanks so much Kevin, for taking the time to read it. yeah, there are definitely notes that I’m sure resonate across all hearts. sending you so much love my friend xox

  16. Thanks so much 🙂 It’s really interesting and inspiring to read both your old and new posts at the same time (well, shortly after one another) and seeing the change in your life.

    • Thanks Kevin. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. Yeah it seems like another lifetime. Hugs and love xox

  17. I felt nauseous after reading this and in tears that you heard that voice for so long. How horrendous. Praise God that He saved you. I have started reading your blog from the beginning. It is wonderful. Look how many lives are being touched by you. Thank God for you, precious sister in Christ!

    • Thank you for your compassionate and kind words. Yes praise God indeed. Thank you for reading my story. It means a lot. Hugs and love xox

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