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To My Friends Who Keep Me Rooted in My Recovery

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Mental illness can be one of the loneliest experiences anyone can go through. Sometimes if we’re lucky, we have a support system. One or two people or maybe even a group of people who will pick us up when we have hit rock bottom and elevate us when we are at our highest.

These people are our roots in life. They are not leaves that float away with the season and they are not branches that seem to break off when things get rough. They stay with us through everything. These people are the ones we should never let go of.

This is an open letter to the people that make up our roots in recovery:

First of all, thank you. Thank you for sticking by me when things were tough and not judging me when my actions were somewhat questionable. I understand my recovery has not been the easiest of rides for me or for you, but you could never know how much I appreciate you standing by me through it all. When things were tough and I wanted to give up, you wouldn’t tell me to “man up” — instead you sat down with me, placed your hand on my shoulder and said, “breathe.” This was something so simple, yet the most effective method of keeping me in reality.

At times, I can be awful at showing my appreciation. When you suggest I should eat something because you haven’t seen me eat all day and I roll my eyes at you. Or when I’m having a bad day and you try to cheer me up but I snap at you. I’m sorry for that, I really am. Please know I appreciate everything you do for me, but at times when my illness gets the best of me, it’s difficult to understand you’re just trying to help.

I wish I didn’t have an eating disorder. Heck, I wish I didn’t have depression and anxiety, too. But you make me feel like it’s going to be OK even when I’m convinced it won’t be.

I know it’s hard when you haven’t seen me in a while and I come back looking thinner. I don’t mean to worry you. Please remember I can’t see what you see.

When the voices get too loud, I can always rely on you to help me quiet them. I know you can’t make them go away or stop me from having anxiety attacks, but you help more than you could ever know.

I wish I didn’t have to rely on you to meet me for doctor’s appointments so I felt strong enough to go in and get the medical help I need.

But you never complain. You’ve never complained.

You are always there for me even when you have problems of your own. Nothing I do is ever too much for you because you know this illness won’t just go away like a cold.

You make me feel important.

I can’t truly put into words how much you mean to me but I’m trying my hardest. I just want to say thank you.

You are the roots of my recovery. One day I will be strong enough to be yours too.

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: November 15, 2016
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