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Student Life

Surviving Ed

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 01 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0604167

A year ago, a medical student told us about living with an eating disorder. Has anything changed since then?

Since I last wrote, much has changed.1 My deceitful shadow, my manipulative gremlin, my dark voice, my intrepid black silhouette, however you wish to name my eating disorder, it's still with me. But my Ed, as I choose to call him, has mellowed, has relaxed, and has taken some leave. My journey with Ed continues and evolves. The most important thing for me at the moment is to share my experiences, to open people's eyes, to raise awareness, and to look to my future.

Decision made for me

If you remember, the last time I wrote of Ed, my life was only medicine and him. No time and no brain space for friends, family, pleasure, and life. Just as medicine can be all consuming, Ed fights to make sure that he is number one, top of any agenda, and comes before everything and everybody. Living with Ed is sheer hell both for Ed's victim and for those close to him or her. I was adamant that Ed would not force me to take a break from medicine—that would be my ultimate failure, further evidence to add to my belief that I was undeserving, useless, pathetic, weak, and generally not worthy to be alive. Sometimes decisions are made for you, when you are almost incapable of evaluating a situation for yourself. The decision made for me was to start full time hospital treatment, to stop medicine part way through my penultimate year, to recuperate and to devote 100% of my time to fighting with Ed.

Slow recovery

In terms of length, my treatment has far exceeded my expectations: three months as a hospital inpatient, unable to go outside, to use the stairs, or initially to go …

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