Dear Mum and Dad,
I don’t think I have ever thanked you for the support you gave me throughout my eating disorder.
Firstly, I want to say sorry, sorry for causing you so much grief, for being such a nightmare to live with and for nearly killing myself. I was weak and you were my strength. Even when I fought back I am thankful that you didn’t give up on me.
Thank you for driving me to CAMHs each week whilst I sat in a mood in the waiting room. You didn’t give up on me.
Thank you for crying with me, celebrating small victories and for never ever giving up on me.
But here is what I want to tell you – no matter how hard you try you will never fully understand what it is like to be living in the midst of an eating disorder. The fear that passes through my mind when I sit down to a meal, the panic that rises in me when I have to socialise around food, you will never understand.
I lay in bed each evening frantically adding up all my calories throughout the day, I lay there wondering when I could next exercise, or finding plastic bags to make myself sick in. I sit there whilst the voice of anorexia grows evermore inside me, beating me up, questioning me on what I have eaten in the day – have you exercised enough? You didn’t need that extra snack? They are all trying to make you fat – endless quizzing from her and some nights I cant shut her up. Some nights I battled in to the night exercising in my room letting her rip me to shreds, letting her get me ever closer to death.
I still go to bed at night and wish my life away, I wish that she would leave me alone and stop bullying me. I wish I wouldn’t wake up until she had left me alone.
I know how hard you tried to understand. The endless hours of reading, family therapy, all the books and internet search on anorexia. I am grateful you tried.
I saw you fall apart, I saw your eyes watching my every move and saw you battling with yourself. I heard you outside the bathroom listening to me making myself sick, I heard you lingering in the corridor outside my bedroom deciding whether to come in. I watched you looking on in agony, hurting as my heart slowed down, as anorexia sucked in to each part of my life.
At times I wanted to die, at times I still do, I wanted to give up fighting and let her win.
I am pleased you haven’t had to go through this with anorexia pulling at you and beating you up. I mean that. I couldn’t face to watch her be this nasty, this manipulative to someone else.
Am I an eating disorder survivor? Will I ever be completely cured?
I love it how you remind me who I am, you don’t just see my eating disorder, you no longer see someone trapped in a deathly cycle but you see me as me. You see a fighter. You believed in me and you still do.
You don’t have to understand my past to share in my journey, but simply by holding hand and being there for me you can help me get to the finish line.
All my love,
(an extract from Stand Tall Little Girl by Hope Virgo)