The Mighty Logo

Dear Anorexia Nervosa, I Think It's Time We Parted Ways

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Dear anorexia,

It’s hard to remember when we first met — so many of my childhood memories revolve around our times together. We were inseparable for many years; people could barely tell where you ended and I began. You took a lot away from me, friends, an education which would have been my career and almost my life, but we’d drifted apart. But now, like all very best friends, it’s like we’ve never been apart.

I was surprised by how easy it was to pick up where we left off. How quickly our old ways of being together fell back into place, how old habits reformed and how soon enough we were finishing each other’s sentences, completing each other’s thoughts and prioritizing our time together above everything else.

But the thing is, and it’s really hard to be honest about this, I’m not sure I have time for our friendship any more. It’s just so intense and leaves little time for the friends I’ve made and the family I’ve grown while we’ve been parted. I feel that perhaps you’re resentful of my other relationships because you seem to seek a perverse pleasure in preventing me from spending time with the people I love the most. You seem to want me all to yourself and you work hard to prevent me enjoying time with my children, with my husband and with even my closest friends. I wonder too whether you’re jealous of my achievements? It feels like you’re doing all you can to undermine and sabotage everything I’ve worked so hard for.

And you’re just, well, such hard work to be around. I spend my whole life walking on eggshells when I’m with you. I heed your voice above everyone else’s for fear of what will happen if I don’t. And when I’m with you I seem to lose sight of my senses and I do and say all sorts of things I wouldn’t normally even dream of.

Thank you. Thank you for protecting me from all the hurt I was feeling. Thank you for distracting me, for giving me something else to focus on. Thank you for being my friend and for being something I could always turn to. Thank you for shielding me from the painful reality I was living.

Thank you, eating disorder; really, I mean it. You served a function for a long time. You taught me how to survive in the only way I knew how. Now, however, I know better. I can no longer be easily fooled by the tricks and stories that led me to believe I needed you. While it may be true that at one point or another you were my saving grace, the reality of the situation I’m now able to see is that you were slowly killing me.

So I’m sorry, but I think perhaps it’s time we parted ways. I won’t ever forget our special times together; I’ve learned a lot from you and much of what I do is inspired by the times we’ve shared — but I just don’t have time, either physically, or emotionally, to continue to make space for you in my life right now. I can’t just get up and walk away. I care too much about you for that and our relationship goes back too far; but I hope perhaps I can start to find time for other people and other things in our lives. And I hope we can do that soon, before it’s too late. Do you think we could try that?

I do hope so because I’m tired, and I’m fed up of letting people down because of you. I’ve come to realize that when we’re together, I’m not the best version of me — so please forgive me and quietly let me go.


Someone who isn’t a victim anymore.

Getty image by iprogressman

Originally published: May 22, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home