This is a letter to those who still believe that their Eating Disorder is their safe harbour,
I’m sure you’ve heard it said before that Eating Disorders are terrible things, that they ruin your life, damage your health and could end your life. I can probably guess that me saying it to you again would probably not do much for you. I cannot even give you a convincing or inspiring story of full recovery right now, yet still I write to you because I have to believe that there will be a time when you stop seeing your Eating Disorder as the thing that loves you more than anything else or the thing that defines who you are.
It doesn’t define you and it doesn’t love you.
It can’t love you.
I have known so many people give up on themselves time and time again. I’ve seen them reduced to a person that they once told themselves they would never be. I’ve seen them cry and be broken and so unsure that they will ever be whole again. I’ve listened as they’ve screamed down the phone and held their hands as they have begged for a way out of the prisons that the disorder created for them. I have seen some lose their battle completely.
The heartbreak never lessens. Watching a person diminish, punish, hate and destroy themselves never gets easier.
I have spent years believing the lies that the disorder told me. I convinced myself that it was the only thing that was going to save me from my own mind. I told myself that one day it would make me strong, that it would make me forget what I was trying so desperately to run away from or it would even turn me into someone completely different. Every time I forced my body to push itself further at the gym, every meal that I skipped, every promise that I broke and event that I missed I told myself it would be worth it. I kept thinking that when I reached that elusive magic number I would be able to stop or that I’d even see what all that effort was for. The truth is that I didn’t or couldn’t. It just made me weak. I was thrown into this bleak existence that only continued to get worse. I gave it all up for the Eating Disorder, my friends, family, education and dreams and in the end I was prepared to give up my life.
I can imagine that you are telling yourself that it’s different for you. You won’t let that happen to and you’ll know when to stop. You are in control of your Eating Disorder and besides it’s the only thing that’s never let you down. It’s the only thing that’s never abandoned you. I thought all of that too and yet I was wrong. I went into treatment telling anybody who would listen that I wasn’t like all of the other people there, I didn’t need to be there. There was nothing wrong me and I knew what I was doing and every other sort of delusional sentence that would come to mind. Problem was that every other person was saying the exact same thing. This disorder will trick you into thinking anything in order to stay because it needs you to survive. Your body and mind is thing that it needs to feed off and yet there will come a day when it has taken everything that it can and it will kill you.
Recovery will be harder than you can imagine. Sometimes or most of the time it will make your disorder seem like a walk in the park. It will make you doubt yourself. It will have you in tears as you try to understand why you chose it in the first place. Yes…recovery will hurt and it won’t happen overnight.
But guys, it is worth every tear that you will shed and every anxiety ridden moment that you will have to ride out. In recovery you will remember how it feels to laugh again, you will remember how to make a joke or tell a story. You will stand up without feeling like you’re going to pass out and that annoying ringing/buzzing noise that you hear all the time actually disappears. You will feel again! You will fall in love with all the little things that you had forgotten existed. The dreams that you gave up on will come back and you’ll find that where there was only once despair there is now hope. There are so many good things about recovery, so many wonderful things that are waiting for you.
I do not regret recovery now. I am further enough away from the eating disorder to see that it is no longer a place for me to hide in and then die in. I am going to beat this because I don’t want to live with it.
Everyday I continue the battle to free myself and I ask you whether you are ready too? I hope you are or at the very least I hope that you can at least entertain the thought of living a life that doesn’t have the eating disorder in it.
Let. It. Go. It will not make you happy. It will not make you strong. It will not save you. Only you can do that.
I hope that you are happy one day because you deserve to be.