" 'I'm not good enough, I'm not skinny enough, I'm not pretty enough' was all I would ever hear from the degrading mouth of Ed, also known as my eating disorder."
~ Mallory Faye, Be FreED
I decided to read Be FreED: Recover from your eating disorder at any age by writer, speaker, and singer Mallory Faye because I know that eating disorders affect countless millions of people. Published in 2014, this memoir sounded like it would be a positive and hopeful book that would teach me a few things about eating disorders.
Very early in life, when she was a dancer as a little girl, Mallory had thoughts of "needing to be thin and perfect", and her eating disorder began when she was in elementary school. Although Ed (her name for her eating disorder, as mentioned in the quotation above) was still telling her that she wasn't thin enough, she was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia as a teenager.
"Eating disorders come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. Ed doesn't discriminate. The woman in front of you checking out at the grocery store may just be struggling with bulimia. You don't have to be emaciated to have an eating disorder."
~ Mallory Faye, Be FreED
In this book, Mallory candidly tells her story, and describes how she is able to stop the restricting, bingeing, and purging, and to free herself from Ed. With the help of a treatment team and plenty of support from friends and family, Mallory is able to recover fully from her eating disorder. In Be FreED, Mallory refers to a traumatic incident in her past that affected her greatly and contributed to her eating disorder. Fortunately, she was able to get the help she needed, and to effectively break free from Ed's strong grip. Referring to her eating disorder as Ed is a clever way to present the eating disorder as a distinct, separate, critical being who must be dealt with and conquered. Although it's a daunting challenge that requires change and committment, Mallory knows that she must "be freED" from Ed. In her book, there's a chapter about the Ed box she creates, and in a later chapter, she "divorces" Ed.
I've heard that it's very difficult to overcome eating disorders, because they tend to be complex, but Mallory is determined to not only help herself, but others as well. Be FreED shows her genuine concern for others as she shares her experience, and what has worked for her. Mallory provides a lot of practical ideas and strategies for those who suffer from eating disorders, and her writing is honest, friendly, and encouraging. She is truly a "hope activist", and proves that "recovery and life beyond your eating disorder is possible". She lists valuable resources for those afflicted by eating disorders, including organizations that she's worked for, such as NEDA (the National Eating Disorders Association), at the end of the book. I recommend Be FreED to all who struggle with eating disorders.
Thanks to Jocelyn from Kelley & Hall for sending me a complimentary copy of Be FreED. Mallory, I wish you much continued success and fulfillment in your careers as a writer, speaker, and singer.
Your comments are welcome.