What I Discovered About My Eating Disorder in My Teenage Journals
If you live with an eating disorder or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741 for eating disorders, or “START” to 741741.
A huge part of my journey with mental illness was the impact it had on my family and, in particular, my parents.
Being ill from such a young age — around 11 — meant I had not yet developed the skills or techniques to cope with or communicate what I was going through.
One day, I chose to write. I had no intention in my writing other than to pen the words in my head onto paper in the hope of gaining some understanding of the monster inside me.
This became a regular practice of mine, one which I still use today, especially at times when I am grappling with my own mind.
I recently came across the journals from my teenage years. Looking back, through the eyes of an adult, at the unrelenting torment this poor child had to endure is heartbreaking.
The letter below is compiled from multiple entries written by my younger self, it is everything I wished so desperately to tell my parents, had I not have been gagged by the monster in my mind.
Dear Mum and Dad,
My life isn’t quite going to plan.
A few years ago I fell, and I fell so fast and the dark came so quickly that by the time I needed help, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t yell and my lungs were crushed as I was dragged down by the blackness.
Every day, I get deeper and deeper and I fear that, one day soon, I will drown and you will never know the pain I feel and the guilt I have for the torment I am causing you.
I don’t want to be the way I am, but the monster took hold so tightly and so quickly. It doesn’t let me eat. It makes me throw up when I do, never lets me sleep and has made me see myself for what I really am. I now see what you and Dad are incapable of seeing, as you are blinded by love.
I see the wretched person I really am. I see how disgusting and ugly my body is. I see how unlovable I am and what’s more, how “stupid” I am for ever believing otherwise.
I know I am not right for this world and I am so, so sorry for being the disgrace of a child you never deserved.
Every day, I open my eyes and the sadness washes over me with such force, my eyes well and the tears pour from my eyes before my head leaves my pillow. I feel a deep pain in my chest; the sorrow has rooted in every part of my being and has taken on a power of its own. My head is so heavy and my legs are so sore, my body can’t move for the heaviness in my veins.
Getting out of bed is the hardest part of my day, for my days are long and I know the pain that is coming.
Some nights, I wish to some higher power that I could drift away peacefully in my sleep so I won’t have to fight through another painful day, where I try to find the courage to leave this hell.
It isn’t that I don’t see the wonder in this world; I can see the sunlight and see the joy but I can see it from so, so far away. I look at others’ happiness as if I am watching a film; it is a life constructed for others, one which I will never touch, as my life is here, in the dark, alone.
I grieve for love and a feeling of connection but that is not the path for me.
I want to be your child. I want to be with you but the monster keeps me silenced. It keeps me hidden from you. I can never let you see me for who I am really am as I no longer know what is me and what is the monster. Maybe I have been the monster all along.
I know I hurt you and I know you wish I was different.
I wish I was different too.
I am so tired; I don’t want to keep fighting it anymore but I know the only thing more painful than watching me go through this hell would be to watch me give into it.
So, this is to my parents, who have loved me and waited for me. I know you will never stop waiting for me. I want to promise you I will come back to you but I can’t. I do promise I will try my best; I will give it everything I have to come back to you, so please just wait a little longer. I’m sorry.
I am sharing my story to provide hope to those who are still on their recovery journey. If you would like to know more about my story or have any questions about recovery, please message me below.
Photo by Mariana Vusiatytska on Unsplash