I have long suffered from an eating disorder, and writing a letter to this marked the beginning of my healing. I had the idea to ask other women suffering from an eating disorder to do the same exercise, to break taboos together, one letter at a time.
Letter to my eating disorder No 1.
“Dear eating disorder,
Today, I thought of you. After all the work and progress I have made, I almost forgot about you yet, you always manage to come and find me, even if I blocked you on Facebook. You’re quite the detective. If I needed a private detective, I would hire you right away. Also, if you wanted to register on a dating site, I’d advise you to disclose that you’re a faithful person because you are always there … even if I do not want you.
You and I are old friends. We have known each other for more than ten years, so we can be real with each other, no?
Our relationship has always been destructive. A love/hate relationship. We hate to die, but we are afraid to let the other go. However, for a year or two now, I can see I am much happier when I don’t think of you. I breathe better, I eat better, I accept myself better. Your cousin the mirror always remains a friend whom I prefer not to cross too much, but I begin to accept him more and more. I try and develop strategies to not think of you when I see it. My food disorder is only a reflection of myself. With you, I become in a way, my own enemy. For years I have let myself accept you as a part of my life. I’ve learned to control you instead of trying to make you disappear. It was after several couple therapy sessions in your company that I realized that divorce would be much more expensive than staying with you for better or for worse. To accept you as you are … and to accept me as I am even if it is not easy, and even if it doesn’t suit me.
I must confess, you have made me live very difficult moments. At the beginning of our relationship, I felt like I was wearing a mask. The stress of unmasking myself constantly weighed on my shoulders. So we hid, and we were very good at doing so for years. Eventually I started to become someone else and I choked. I hid you for so many years that the day I let you out, when I spoke of you, I finally felt the weight of the world crash down off my shoulders. When I introduced you to my friends, that’s when I felt hope. This is what has since helped me live with you, all the days of my life. Days where I now have control.
Of course, some days are more difficult than others, because you know when I’m most vulnerable. On the other hand, the difference between you and me is that I evolved as a woman and as a person suffering from an eating disorder. Without you, I would not be who I am today. You created a strong woman who knows that someone can rise and fall and come out even stronger than before. Some will say, be close to your friends, and even closer to your enemies. Yet I do not see you as an enemy. Thank you, because you push me to surpass myself every day, to control what I will never let you control: my life.”
If you have suffered or suffer from an eating disorder and would like to share your story, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer, it can be anonymous. The only guideline is to write a letter of about 500 words addressing your eating disorder (present or past), telling him his positive and negative effects, and why you are now ready to tell him farewell. You are not alone.