To the Body I Starved Because of My Anorexia
I’m sorry to have confused you for so long. For not eating in front of you, then bingeing on chocolate at sleepovers, appearing normal and immediately returning to that desolate place of starvation. I’m sorry I never said my anorexia was binge/purge sub-type, because then it would have made more sense. I’m sorry for the times I broke down in shopping centers and cafes, for refusing to eat around others and for denying invitations to social situations — all so I could deny myself and my body of nutrients, and keep the cycle of social isolation alive.
I’m sorry for the times I snapped, the words I spat and the sarcasm I wielded like a weapon. When my safety and sanity were taken away, those harsh words were the only weapon I had left.
I’m sorry for lying to you. About anorexia, about my weight, about my eating and exercise habits. About being bullied and the emotional trauma I suffered because of it. About the neglect and invalidation I felt in your company, and the pain this caused me. The panic I felt when I so much as thought of telling you any of it, to relieve the tension on my own mind and heart if nothing else. The constant reassurance I had to seek about my size and shape.
I’m sorry for the punishment I felt I so strongly deserved, no matter how many times you told me I was worthy and deserving. Of food, of life, of friendship and laughter and good things. I’m sorry it took me so, so many years to relieve that burden by sharing it with you. I’m sorry it took me so long to see how sick I really was, and the steps I would have to take to get better. I’m sorry I didn’t reach out sooner, to you, to God, to professionals who could help me. I’m sorry I didn’t see the worth in draining my bank account to hold a conversation through tears for an hour. I’m sorry I can’t speak about these things in person, but am able to bare my soul through words on the internet instead.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
I’m sorry for all of it, to all of you.
But I’m also sorry to my body. For depriving you, berating you, sustaining you on the bare minimum when you needed so much more. For seeing menstruation and puberty and all the normal signs of healthy growth as mistakes and failures that needed to be squashed. For all the times I hurt myself after losing control to binge urges, when you were just incredibly hungry. I’m sorry for scarring you, when you were just starving.
Dear body, I hope we can be friends. I hope we can enjoy milkshakes together. Chocolate. Cheese. Medjool dates. All those things you’ve been deprived of but desperately need to satisfy those intensely deep psychological and nutritional cravings. I’m sorry I lied over and over again about the damage I was causing you. For always answering “no” when asked if I had ever thought about starving myself from countless professionals, but never the right ones, never in the right tone, never at the right time. I’m sorry they never saw through the lies, and saw how sick we had become. For seeing an admission to hospital as a threat to be avoided at all costs, when I was just a terrified 14-year-old, and an admission was exactly what we both needed. About the years following, where I didn’t let us deteriorate further, but we didn’t exactly make any positive progress either. About the dizziness and fatigue. About my weight. About attempting weight restoration by myself because I was overwhelmed by fear. About the spiral of control I thought I was keeping together but losing a fighting battle to.
To my body: I’m sorry. I miss you.
Can we be friends?
Getty Images photo via kevinhillillustration