My Eating Disorder Is Certainly Not a 'Teenage Girl's Disease'

Dear Eating Disorder,

In many ways, I still call you “dear.” You wrap yourself like a tangled ball of yarn around my brain. So tightly that it’s hard to tell the difference between you and myself. I didn’t ask for you to come into my life, and I’ve asked many times for you to leave.

This yarn gets untangled a bit in some places, only to be more tangled in others. You served to mellow out and uplift my spirit during the multiple depressions that scattered my younger years. You were there when no medication was available because it “wasn’t safe for children.”

And now, you’re an addiction. There isn’t enough research and treatment to fight you; you’re still seen as a petty, teenage fad. Oh, if only you were a fad! You’re a disease that overtakes the mind and 99 percent of my thought processes. You ravage the body. There’s nothing you don’t affect. My relationships, my schooling, my ability to work.

I will be 26 in a month. A decade will have passed since my family acknowledged there was a problem, since we first sought help. Likely around five years before is when you first crept in.

Perhaps there’s a life to be lived without a thought of you. Maybe I will be able to drink a glass of water and not feel like purging it. My logical brain is astounded at the things I catch myself doing right now. Maybe I will be able to work full-time doing what I love. I have hopes and always will because I’ve come so very far.

But I simply can’t live a life without thinking of you. Because you’ve transformed me in ways I never could have imagined. The destruction you’ve done is surpassed by the lessons I’ve been taught.

Humility. Patience. Gratitude. Living like it’s your last day on earth. Hope. Joy. So many things to list.

You’re an ugly creature, but I’m thankful for you. You most certainly are not a “teenage girl’s disease”– you’re a force to be reckoned with. But you’ve proven that even more so, I am the force to be reckoned with.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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