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A Long Overdue Letter About My Eating Disorder

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I want to start this letter to you with an apology. 

I am so sorry. 

I am sorry that it hurts you… that I hurt you. So rarely do I stop and think about how my actions affect others, you in particular, and I am willing to admit that it is selfish and unfair. Ever so badly do I want for you to understand that I live in a state of oblivion, and that the majority of the time I find myself unable to check in with the real world… so to check in with you and how you’re doing often just isn’t plausible.

Knowing how much pain I have caused you kills me. I never intended for it, and I hope one day you can believe me when I say that I love you and that I care about you. I know that all you have ever wanted is for me to be happy, successful and prosperous. I know that you would give anything and everything to see me go back to college, graduate, get a degree and start a career. You never thought that at the age of 24 you would be seeing me in the place I am now — followed around by this hooded shadow in a black cloak, constantly running away from death… sometimes I can even been seen running towards it. For this I am truly apologetic.

I also know that every time I have found myself in this place the frustration builds for you, in you, so bad that you want to shake the nonsense {sickness} out of me. I wish that you could. I wish that I could. You and I both want for me to be just like my siblings – living their lives and checking goals off of their lists as they move along on their own journeys through life.

I know one day everything will fall into place and that everything good takes time, but I do often find myself wishing I could just get there already – for the both of us.

You’re frightened and I’m trapped somewhere between my eating disorder holding me hostage, and wanting so desperately to find a safe haven away from myself. I am constantly conflicted, but when I see you the choice seems so easy… until it’s not again.

You express through timid and shaky words how worried you are that I won’t make it through, but I silence them every time and convince you that everything is going to be OK. 

Your feelings are valid. I have been feeding you bullshit and lies for the past eight years and a small fraction of me enjoys it because the more I deceive the more I can continue to run away and never have to face the truth: that I am in cahoots with my eating disorder and our ultimate goal is to freeze time forever.

If I am being honest, and I want to be honest, my healthy self knows that it is wrong and that it isn’t safe. I want to stop arguing with myself once and for all and pick a side already, but I am afraid that if I choose right now it won’t be the choice you and I both truly want. The choice you and I both desperately need.

I suppose fear has always been the hooded shadow in the dark cloak, I just never knew his name until now. 

Please believe me – I am so unbelievably, whole heartedly sorry. I know that this isn’t the life you hoped I would lead. Every time I look into your eyes I can see the vacancy where hope once settled and it both saddens and sickens me to look. I would look away, only I haven’t yet learned how to stop staring into tall glass mirrors. 

I know that if I keep forcing myself towards recovery, that soon enough the optimism and spark can and will come back, and I think a part of me wrote this letter because I want you to push me… I need you to push me.

I wish I had an exact reason to give you for why I am the way I am and why I have turned out the way I have. Any reason that could make all of this mess feel somewhat better. Only, I don’t have one, and I don’t know if I ever will. Again, I am sorry.

How do I become a better version of myself if I don’t know how to perform this radical idea of loving myself? I don’t know how to force myself to ignore the pains inside of my heart and how not to take offense to minuscule insults of people and opinions that mean absolutely nothing. 

It’s as if my brain runs on autopilot and habit. 

I haven’t the slightest idea of how not to feel everything so intensely and so deeply. My heart, chest and stomach — they physically ache with colossal pain and it’s that exact pain that leads me back into the savage beast of my eating disorder every single time.

Lately, every single day.

Sitting with it is tolerable, but living with it feels debilitating and I just don’t want to disappoint you anymore… I don’t want to disappoint myself anymore.

 I am sorry that I cannot ever seem to stay afloat. People continue to throw me life jacket after life jacket and although I catch them, wear them and swim for a bit, I eventually always take them off. Both aware of my apathy and the knowledge that I may in fact, drown. 

I am sorry for all of my shortcomings in the past and I am sorry for the missteps that will come as I continue to search for and find myself/navigate through the world of recovery. This is scary territory, but I want to do this for the both of us.

I know a part of my recovery needs to be to stop apologizing to others for my choices, my actions, my words and my existence. I am willing to work on this, but this apology is overdue to you and I can’t refrain from speaking out any longer. I hope you understand that this is in both of our best interests. I am beginning to understand that this is in both of our best interests.

I can’t promise you tomorrow I will be all better, healed completely, as if nothing in the last eight years ever happened. But I can promise you that I will never stop trying to be the person you think I am capable of being – that we think I am capable of being. I love you with everything that I am, and all I want is to be able to live a life that makes you proud of the person that you’ve become, the person that you are.

Even when hope is fleeting, I know in my heart as long as I keep fighting, keep believing and keep picking myself up when I fall, that I can and will be able to give you, me and us the life we have always wanted to live.

Just stay tuned, just keep swimming and you’ll see.

Love forever and always,


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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Thinkstock image via Ingram Publishing

Originally published: February 26, 2017
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