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Dear Friend, I Fight My Eating Disorder in Memory of You

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Hi Nicole, it’s me.

It’s the girl who first saw you in a group during treatment and took note of how gorgeous you were. I was jealous when I first saw you, as I compared every ounce of myself to you. I remember your pearl earrings, your turquoise Pandora ring, flannel and white Vans, which I soon took note of as your trademark outfit. I remember how you stayed quiet, while the other patients shared how they felt about whatever the group topic was. I remember your sense of peace.

I wasn’t in treatment for long before you transitioned into my program. After your first day in the partial-hospital, I was certain you weren’t coming back. I listened to the other girls talk to you, and I listened as you said how much you hated it here. That is something all of us girls and guys bonded over in treatment, our resentment of the place that was supposed to be saving us from our eating disorders.

I learned later on that not everyone can be saved.

I remember telling you I would eat the pudding you hated so much with you so you didn’t have to do it alone. I remember going to the Pandora store, getting the My Princess ring we talked about and showing you how pretty it was after I got it. I remember you looking through my altered book, telling me how you liked my art.

I remember playing Bananagrams, and you asking us how to spell words you were unsure of. I remember Occupational Therapy group, where you tried time and time again to make a bracelet with the tiny beads, getting fed up with how small they were, then laughing together after they all fell off the string. I remember the day you wore a dress because your doctor “made you,” and telling you how cute you looked, even though you hated it as it showed your body. I remember the little things, which now, seem to be so important.

Nicole, I wish I had been able to be there for you. I wish I could’ve told you that you had the world in front of you, and in recovery, we both could’ve taken it by storm. Both coming from Catholic high schools, we shared a small bond that no one else on the unit did, but I wish I could’ve told you I understood you so much more.

I wish I could’ve told you how beautiful you were and how you lit up the room when you smiled. I wish I could’ve helped you more and been there for you during the times when your eating disorder put you at your lowest. I wish I could’ve been the friend you needed, to encourage you, to talk to you and to listen to the struggles you had but that we also shared. I wish I would’ve given you the hug you needed. I wish I could’ve helped you pick up the pieces and grasp just how enough you were. I wish we had more time.

To the girl who got tired in the fight against her eating disorder, I hope you can look down and see how loved you were, how strong you were and how beautiful you were. I hope in Heaven there aren’t eating disorders, depression or self-harm. I hope by the loss of your life, you have saved someone else. I hope you saw the fundraiser I put together for you, allowing me to send almost $800.00 to the National Eating Disorders Association in your memory. I hope you know on the days when I struggle to hold my own recovery together, I think of you and vow to myself that I will do this for you.

I hope, that one day, I will see you again.

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.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 20, 2017
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