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To the Friend Who Saw Me Through My Eating Disorder

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I sat there for the better part of an hour, tears streaming down my face, my eyes fixated on the evil cup of frozen yogurt in front of me: sea salt caramel, my pre-eating disorder favorite. All I could think about were the calories, the sugar and the simple carbohydrates I feared would instantly make me gain weight. I tried to chuck it in the trash, but you wouldn’t let me. “We’re going to sit here until you eat your Froyo,” you said, as you sat there eating the exact same cup of light, airy frozen dessert. And by the look on your face, I knew we’d be sitting there all night if we had to.

Or the time when we went to Target and I bought a box of Kind bars for my evening snack. “You can eat one while I drive, that way you’ll be distracted.” I pretended to eat it, then hid it in my white plastic grocery bag. When you asked to see the wrapper and I paused, my heart beating a mile a minute, you pulled over, turned the car light on and inspected my bag. You drove me home, and together we explained to my mom what happened.

Or when I had to drink four Ensure Plus supplements a day, and you voluntarily chugged them with me so I wouldn’t have to do it alone. 

Or when you visited me in the hospital, even when I didn’t have the decency to tell you I went inpatient yet again, because I was too embarrassed. When you welcomed me with your warm embrace, no explanation was needed: the silence said it all.

For the friend who never gave up on me, when I had all but given up on myself. You knew I wasn’t this cold, statue of a human being my eating disorder had transformed me into. You knew that Audrey was underneath there somewhere: the funny, sweet, caring girl you fell in love with in junior year.

For the friend who was willing to put her own issues aside, and be fully present for my sake. You’ve endured loss, heartbreak, depression, you name it… but you brushed them off so that you could be the friend I needed.

You loved me at my worst. You had (and still have) hope that I won’t be this way forever. You know I’m in there somewhere.

One day I’ll make it up to you. One day I’ll be able to be the friend I feel you deserve. One day I’ll get you that Frappuccino I promised you, whip and all.

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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Thinkstock photo via Kosamtu

Originally published: March 20, 2017
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