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To the Friends Who Stayed Through My Eating Disorder

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To the people I am lucky enough to call friends:

You watched my obsession with perfection in school get worse, causing me to obsess over little details.

You watched as my obsessing moved into what I ate and what I did.

You watched me start to count calories and macronutrients, steps and active minutes.

You watched me buy the scale and listened to me complain about how fat I was.

You watched me refuse food because “I just ate” or “My stomach is a little upset right now.”

You watched me become more withdrawn and begin to skip classes and obligations.

You watched me drag myself to the trail to walk for hours and hours in the middle of the night to lose the “extra weight.”

You watched me ignore your pleas to get help and to talk to you.

You watched me shrink mentally and physically.

You watched me ignore your help, go down a path that could have led to my death. I pushed you away to keep my addiction to restriction. I screamed and yelled at you to leave me alone. I made anorexia more important than you.

And yet, you stayed.

You didn’t run away, scared, like so many did when they found out the real reasons I left school.

You stayed.

You hugged me, told me it was OK, and stayed by my side.

You checked in on me, making sure I was going to my psychiatry and nutrition appointments.

You made sure I was sticking to my treatment plan and following my meal plan.

You made sure I was taking my medications.

You held my hand as I cried into plates of food I didn’t want to eat and reminded me how strong I was.

You helped me be strong enough to throw away the scale.

You helped me begin to live again.

So, dear friend, thank you. I know I haven’t been the best friend. Anorexia made me selfish and angry and mean. I’m sorry I was not a good person to you. I know our friendship hasn’t been easy. I know it was hell watching me disappear into a monster you couldn’t even recognize. I know you probably wanted to turn the other way and leave. But you didn’t. You stayed. And for that, you are the most incredible human being alive, and I am the luckiest person in the world for having you in my life.

I love you.

Thank you.

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.

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Originally published: March 17, 2017
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