To the Little Girl With an Eating Disorder
Dear sweet child,
I know your pain, I know your torment and I know your struggles. I can see through your plastered on smile and fake laughter. I can see through your artificial confidence. Why, you ask? Because I’ve been where you are now. Truth is, maybe I’m still there.
But sweet little girl, you are worth more. You are more than a number on a scale, or the size on the itchy tag attached to your jeans. You are more than what’s on the outside. I’m sure many people have told you this, and I know it can feel hard to believe. Maybe you you look in the mirror and want to die. You don’t understand how people see you. You tell yourself they’re blind, or that they’re lying to make you feel better about yourself. But my love, they are not. You are one of a kind. There is no one else on this world like you.
I don’t know if I’ll make an impact, because as I’ve said, I’m sure you’ve heard numerous times how beautiful you truly are, but I hope you’ll listen. I’m a young woman who feels the same way about herself. A young woman, who at age 10, started starving herself. A young woman who was once that same 10-year-old, who is now almost 23. A young woman who believed those lies for so long she almost died way too many times to count. A young woman who spent most of her young life hating herself, wondering why she is the way she is. And sweet little girl, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I have. Anorexia won’t bring you happiness, it will bring you the opposite. It made me miserable. You might not be able to get out of bed, never mind run a race, or go to prom and dance, or even have the energy to just shower. Maybe you’ll become thin, but you’ll never see it yourself. No matter how much weight you lose, every time you look in the mirror, you will see the same girl staring back at you.
You see, you lose more than weight. I lost friends, jobs, boyfriends, sports, hobbies, my grades and my will to live. It left me laying in a hospital bed being force fed through a feeding tube.
You may be thinking that this will never happen to you, that you will stop before it gets to that point. Well precious child, I thought the same thing, and now, thirteen years later, I’m sitting in a nursing home being force fed through a tube, unable to walk because my muscles are too weak.
I wish at the age of 10 I had the words to reach out for help. Sure I can recover now, but I’ve not attended college yet and I can’t hold down a job. I’ve lost a lot of my life because of this.
So sweet girl, when I tell you you are beautiful, know I’m not lying. It’s the mirror lying to you. It is the voices in your head lying to you. My prayer and wish is that you start to believe this. Do for me what I could not do. You are worth so much more than all of this.
A young woman who cares.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.