Saturday, 7 March 2009

Dear Anorexia

Dear Anorexia,

It has been fourteen years, almost to the day, that we first met. I’d seen you around before then- on TV, on the streets, at school: did you see me too? I remember the very first day we were properly introduced. It was a school day and in my rush, I had no time for my usual breakfast. When break-time rolled around, you appeared: “you don’t need a snack”, you said, “see how long you can go”.

From that moment on, we were inseparable. You were with me wherever I went, and at the time, I was thankful. You told me that my fears about school, friends, all the normal thing a 12 year old worries about, didn’t matter. You would make things okay again. I, naively, believed you. It wasn’t long before people started interfering- friends, family, teachers, doctors, “Ignore them,” you said. “They don’t understand”. I remember stopping going to my friend’s houses after school. I didn’t have time anymore. I stopped playing hockey because I was too tired. I stopped playing my harp because I was too distracted by your seductive whispering of rules I needed to obey. I remember one night, lying on the kitchen floor at my mom’s feet- crying and begging her to HELP me. I was so hungry, so tired, in so much pain. Suddenly you seemed more threatening than friendly, and I was scared. I remember crawling up the stairs to bed that night with you whispering soothing words to me: “It’s okay… I'm going to things better for you”.

The years that followed are a blur of one hospital to another. I never really went back to school. I vaguely remember people’s faces, seeing their lips moving. I remember just wishing you would GO AWAY. I remember running into your arms when I was locked up in hospital, with you showing me how to trick the nurses, fake my way out.

I gave up everything for you. My friends, my passions, my interests- most people my age are married, working, having fun. I can’t remember the last time I ate my own birthday cake, went a day where your voice wasn’t whispering in my head.

I remember how much louder your voice got when I tried to fight you- how angry you got. How the more I disobeyed you, the more you tormented me. “You are WRONG,” you said. “This isn’t the WAY- you are making things worse”. I remember not being able to see any way out of the walls you had built around me, and walking into the ER begging for help. I remember you and I went for a little walk that evening? Do you remember too? Do you remember telling me that I would NEVER break free from you, that you would NEVER leave me? I will never forget how the thought of a lifetime under your reign was enough for me to hide on a side-street and swallowed enough painkillers to kill a horse.

I listened as you told me I would never be able to go to college, never be able to hold down a job, but that it didn’t matter because at least I would be thin. I listened as you told me that no matter what, you would always be there for me.

Now it’s your turn to listen to me.

For fourteen years, it’s been “You And I” against what felt like, the world. For fourteen years you have cast shadows over every aspect of my existence. Everything from my clothes to my fridge has your signature all over them. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have cut me out of their lives, jobs I’ve had to leave, classes I’ve had to drop, hospitals I’ve been in.

When I felt overwhelmed with work or school- you were there. But don’t you see? You didn’t help. Losing weight wasn’t the magical answer you said it would be: it made everything worse. I’ve spent more of our relationship locked up in psychiatric units than I have being happy like you promised me. Being thin didn’t make me popular, successful, important. Losing weight might have been something I was “good” at, but you know what? It’s not so special. It’s a scientific fact that if you eat less you lose weight: it doesn’t make me a better person.

So why am I writing to you now? Because I’ve listened to you for long enough. Over half of my life has been shared with you and it’s time to cut my losses and move on- you have nothing to offer me anymore except more of the same crisis’, hospitals, therapy, isolation, despair and drama that the last fourteen years have been filled with.

I wanted so badly to be accepted and loved, and when you offered that, I JUMPED at the chance. Believe me, nobody is sorrier than I am that I didn’t find acceptance and love- I’m still looking for that, but I know now that it will never come from you. The time ha.s come for us to part our ways. My answers aren't in your hands

Yours, with regret,



Anonymous said...

I actually cried reading this. I couldn't not leave a comment, even though I can't think of a coherant response. I just wanted you to know that it really touched me, and that I believe in your potential to break free of this stupid illness. I hope I am still in touch with you when we are both recovered.

Lexi said...

This letter was so moving. I believe you can break free from anorexia forever, because you seem to have a fire burning inside of you for recovery.
Thank you for posting this,

dancelikenooneiswatching said...

you are so much better than ED and i have every faith that we will BOTH show ED the door and have the best lives...we do not deserve to be imprisoned by this illness anymore..

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Flat-Out tips! I'm going home next week and I'll be sure to scope out some Columbus bodegas.

This is such a healing letter, and I admire your strength for posting it. I wrote a similar "letter to my body" a few years ago. Good luck!

Hunger to Recover said...

wow!! this was really good! i wrote a letter to my ed too when i was in treatment. maybe i'll post mine sometime. hope you're having a good day :)

Anonymous said...

I know that you can truly recover. You have all my support and love!

Lauryn said...

ellie, this post was unreal. i commend you for your honesty and courage to share all these emotions and details -- but you are SO STRONG, i can tell through your writing, and i have no doubt that you can beat this for real!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing my dear. So, so proud of you and finding your words inspiring for myself, too. I am sick of anorexia too, all it ever does it take take take from us. Claire xxx

Nutritious is Delicious said...

I know you can totally break free from this disorder because I can tell you really want it! That is so awesome! Get it Girl!

Elle said...


This was incredible. You have the strength, and deserve to have, a life free of your eating disorder. Thanks for sharing this.


Mel said...

"It’s a scientific fact that if you eat less you lose weight: it doesn’t make me a better person."

This is so on point! Reading your letter made me realize just how absurd yet powerful that scary voice can be- I can completely relate to those first thoughts that just creep up on you and then next thing you know, you don't even recognize yourself. Thank you so much for posting this; it's truly inspirational for me. I hope you continue to fight for yourself, because you deserve it!

ElleMigliore said...

this letter should be published. it's amazing and so are you!
I think you reached out to all girls with what you wrote in here!