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A Letter to My Body, From a Girl Struggling With Self-Harm

Editor's Note

If you struggle with an eating disorder, self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741, or “NEDA” to 741741 for eating disorders. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Dear body, 

You’ve done a lot to me, and I’ve done a lot to you. You’ve put me in the hospital over and over, with one chronic illness after the next. You’ve given me encephalitis and immune deficiency and anemia and migraines and paralysis (and more). I’ve given you scars and starvation and cuts and losses. We’ve both tried to kill each other. I’ve hated you for years: how you look, what you do to me, how much pain you bring and how you’ve made me feel. I’ve spent weeks barely eating enough to survive, making you lose a lot of weight in a week and a half. You have more self-harm scars than I could count, and not all of them have scarred. I’ve felt more insecure about how you look than hungry when I haven’t eaten more than a couple very light snacks for days. 

Dear body, 

It’s so hard to love you when you’ve tried to destroy me in more ways than one. It’s so hard to love myself when I look down and see the reminders of what I’ve done to you. You’ve been scarred, bruised, broken, picked at and starved. I’ve hurt you, and you’ve hurt me. 

Dear body,

Look, I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. I know that’s hardly believable when you look at the hundreds of scars that serve as reminders of all of the times I have hurt you. I’m not going to lie and say I’ll never do it again, but I will say I have regretted it every time. While you have hurt me in ways I could never fully express, you are also the reason I’m alive today, and I’m sorry I have taken that for granted. 

Dear body,

I’m sorry for all of the times I have stared at you in the mirror with disgust in my eyes and pain in my heart. I’m sorry for ignoring all of the times you’ve begged me for food, as I’ve only continued to starve you and hurt you further. But we need to change this. We need to start working together. We need to love each other. I need to treat you like the temple God has blessed me with, and hope that will help lead you to treating me like a healthy human being, not like the patient who spends a countless amount of time in hospitals.

Dear body,

I’m learning how to love you, and I can only hope you’ll do the same. Thank you for protecting me for all of these years, even as I have abused you in ways words could never express. 

Dear body,

It’s going to be OK. We can do this. We can learn how to work as a team and not as mortal enemies. I believe in you, and I hope you can believe in me.

Dear body, 

I love you. We can do this together. I promise. We will make it through this, no matter what.

With love,

Christa.

Photo by Daniel Garcia on Unsplash

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