N(ED) and Side-Eye

I think it is safe to assume that ED not only puts a huge damper on your life but can also get in the way of your relationships with those around you. People who have seen your back and forth tumultuous relationship with ED, will be skeptical of your break-up and will be even more skeptical when you bring around NED. As you become more comfortable in your relationship with NED, family members and friends may not be on board with your new relationship. Do they want you to be with NED? Of course! But do they trust that you won’t mess it up? Unlikely. It will take awhile for the people who love you to be fully confident in you and trust you again….especially if your family does not live nearby. I do not have any family in the PNW aside from my husband. Those who were closest to me when I was with ED, have not had the opportunity to get to know me and NED as a couple. Any insignificant text that ED may send my way is in their mind me taking 100 steps backward. If this is your situation as well, stay confident in your progress, even if they are not.

What I have learned over the last couple years as my relationship with NED has blossomed, is that I do not need to convince anyone of our relationship. I do not need to make excuses for my behavior. If I do not feel like eating a piece of cake, then I do not have to eat the piece of cake. This does not make me anorexic, it simply means I am full. Waking up early on a Saturday to take a run does not mean I have excessive exercise disorder, this is me relieving stress. Going the bathroom after dinner does not make me bulimic, it means I drank too much water (or wine!). The hardest part in overcoming ED and something that I am working on presently is living my life for me, not ED…and those around me. Therefore, if I really do not want the piece of cake, perhaps I really am full or perhaps I don’t enjoy vanilla cake, then I do not have to eat it in order for me to justify to you that I am now with NED.

It is sort of like this… Would you ever ask someone who claims that they are pregnant to drink a shot of whiskey just to prove that they actually aren’t? No! Same thing goes for someone who says they are now with NED. Don’t give me side-eye if I ask for dressing on the side or no mayo on my sandwich. For one, getting to NED is a slow process so someone who is recovering may be taking small steps i.e. ordering a Cobb Salad (instead of a house salad) with dressing on the side. Two, if you are like me, perhaps you still like to make healthy choices. Perhaps I had bacon with my breakfast so for lunch I want a sandwich with no mayo. This does not mean I am cheating on NED or that NED and I are Ross and Rachel and “on a break”. It is me making a conscious decision to eat healthier.

Be confident in your successes and your progress. As long as you stay completely honest with yourself in regards to why you are doing something (meaning ED is not in the driver seat), don’t allow others to lessen your achievement. Even if your family and friends still see you and ED as the same entity, remember, you are not defined by ED… or NED for that matter. It takes a lot more than 2-3 letters to describe the person whom you have become… unless the word is FUN. That is a good one to have.