Written by: Devyn Kerr
Eating Disorder Perfectionism + Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder = Chaos but it doesn’t always have to be that way
One key aspect to eating disorders is perfectionism. For me this was definitely part of my eating disorder or as I like to call him is Ed. First of all I am not an eating disorder. I am Devyn full of life, love for others and hope for the future. Ed is the one who has pulled me into twisted thoughts about my body, weight, took control over my life to where I only simply existed, and stole all the relationships I had with friends and family. Ed doesn’t have control over me anymore. I have control. Also this is not the “false” sense of control that Ed tells you that you have with him. Nope this is me being me. I define my life not him.
I have struggled with disordered eating half my life and it turned into an eating disorder very quickly that I easily head. Well with all this I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have to have to arrive either 13 or 3 minutes early to all appointments, class, work anything that I have to go to. I repeatedly have to check where I put things and make sure I have everything I need when I leave my house even when I know logically I have it. I have to check that my car is locked multiple times before I can walk away. I have to have things even when it comes to how many pens I have in my purse lip gloss etc. But when it comes to anything in my life I know it will happen 3 times before it will go consistent.
Sadly this was true in regard to hospitalizations, inpatient treatment, treatment centers, and car accidents plus many more I do not wish to list. These also combined with I how I was obsessed by how my body looked, what I weighed, how I was dressed and how I did my make-up and hair. These obsessions and compulsions controlled by life already and when combined with eating disorder perfectionism this lead to chaos.
Ed told me that I had to be a certain weight, wear a certain size when it came to clothes, ate a certain amount of food and nothing more but could eat less (see his twisted logic), probably the aspect that I held onto the longest is that I had to have a perfect recovery.
First of all, the word “perfect” should be eliminated from our language except when it comes to meal plans. Second of all I have learned that recovery is a journey, just like life. It is going to have it ups and downs, twists to the left and right, walls thrown up. Well walls can be climbed over. You can get up when you fall down a few steps. You just start from where you left off and twists and turns just make it exciting and give you chances to take risks and make better choices. Recovery first and foremost is a CHOICE! You have to choose to follow the recommendations of your doctors, therapists, dietitians, mentors, and parents. You don’t have to always make the right choice. I have not always made the right choices in my recovery and still don’t always in my day to day life but I learn from my mistakes so I know what to do next time.
I can however say that I am further in my recovery and my perspective on that and life have changed through everything I have had to deal with in recovery and to everything Ed has put me through. I can also say that my OCD is virtually nonexistent, especially those that did not know me when I was sick. I can also say that I have let go of the perfectionism. I don’t have to be 3 minutes early; I can stay calm if I am running a few minutes late. I can leave my car with faith that I have locked it. So you now may be thinking “Wow, this is amazing you can do this, but I can’t.”
Well you are not that special. If you take the risks to be honest and trust people, including yourself you can do it. If you take action on the choices you need to take you will recover. You will see freedom. You have to be patient. This done not happen overnight. It has taken me a long while to where I am today. I am experiencing freedom, free from Ed and free to be who I want to be and to have the life I want including to be happy with my body, comfortable with my weight and happy to be who I am: ME! You can experience all of this too, if you just stop trying and do it. Take action now!
Devyn Kerr is 18 years old and has dealt with eating disorders, self-harm, abuse and violence, depression and anxiety for the majority of her life. She has been through inpatient, outpatient and IOP treatment many times since she was 15. She now as of April 2010 has been out of inpatient and IOP for nearly 2 years and outpatient for over a year. She still however does continue bi-weekly appointments with her psychologist, dietitian and sees her psychiatrist and M.D. regularly.
Devyn loves to dance and run in healthy ways. She loves to be outdoors and enjoys spending times with her family and friends. She attends Westminster College where she is pursuing a degree in Clinical Psychology with an overall pursuit of a PhD. Devyn is a Senator at her school as part of student government and is also Secretary of Alphabet Soup an LGBTQS club on campus. She loves to have time to herself when she is not busy studying or working. She overcomes many diagnoses that she has been labeled as throughout her life by not letting anyone besides her define who she is. She loves life and views it as a journey and no matter what happens she will continue to walk on this path.