As requested, here is a letter to ED - but this time, about how he is no longer a place in my life. I hope this encourages those who suffer, or those who know victims of ED. If you do not struggle with ED, try switching 'ED' in this letter to whatever your problem is - school, stress, drugs, alcohol, an addiction, etc. It feels freeing to be able to stand up to your problem and take control!
You have plagued for me a long time, perhaps for about seven years. When I was ill, you made me believe that you could make things better. That not eating and starving would stop people from teasing me and from making rude comments about my body. You made me think that starvation would make me look thinner and thus stop people from hurting my feelings. And sadly, I listened. I feel into your trap and I become very sick. Over the course of seven years, I became your slave. I ate very little food and lost weight. But each time I lost weight, it was never enough. You wanted me to lose more and more, to eat less and less. I did. Until I got so sick that I needed medical attention. I was dying, but I was blinded by you. The pressure you put on me to lose weight and not eat was unbearable. Food became the enemy, and anyone who told me to eat was also an enemy. You made me lie to my loved ones, pretending that I ate or was not hungry. But inside, the pain was real. I was hungry, but I could not eat for fear that I would gain weight. It was hard for me to help people understand why I was struggling because it made no sense: why couldn't I simply 'eat'?! But people did not know, ED, how mean you were to me. If I thought of eating just one more thing, you would haunt me, telling me that I was terrible. You would remind me of how people used to tease me, and you threatened that eating would make this all come back.
I nearly lost my life because of you. I spent months in the hospital, too sick to do anything. My organs failed, my heart was weak, and I needed urgent care. I was in the ICU for about one month and a half, not aware of anything around me. Meanwhile, all who loved me suffered, not knowing if I would make it out alive. You probably were happy, ED, that I was dying. It would be one more victiory for you, another life that you would have claimed. Another girl who innocently wanted to lose weight and look better, gone because of your torture. I do not know how I survived. All I know is that the prayers of all my family and friends, along with God working through His powers and His people, got me through. I made it out of the ICU, all my organs working properly. But this made you angry. You could not leave me alone now that I had survived. You wanted to fight me more, to make me ill once again. Once I got out of the hospital, you continued to threaten that I would become fat. You made it so hard to eat, each time reminding me of how much weight I would gain.
But I pushed through. I did not let you take over my life once again. With the support and love of my family, friends, and God, I ate. I fed myself, looking at the clock to see when it was time to eat. I ate, regardless of how full and ill I felt. I chewed through every meal with your taunting voice telling me how weak and useless I was. I watched as the scale went up and as my body changed. I got rid of the old, smaller clothes with tears and hated that I was gaining weight and eating. But inside, I knew that I was doing the right thing. I knew that giving you one more chance could have killed me. So I kept fighting, trying very hard to ignore your teasing and demands. And I still am fighting. I am recovering day by day. Yes, ED, it is still hard. It is difficult to eat when I am not hungry, and it is hard to see that my body is getting bigger. It is uncomfortable for me to feel that I am bigger than before, and to see how much I eat. But when these feelings come, sometimes it helps to remember how much pain you caused me. I suffered for too long under your control. It is time that I take my life back, time to be free and live my life. Recovery is hard work, and you do not make it any easier. But the things in life that matter - my health, school, happiness, family, and my faith - are what keep me going. My life would have been over if I still listened to you. I cannot say that you are out of my life for good, because then I would be lying. But I AM saying that you no longer bother me like before. Yes, you call me fat and make me feel bad for eating and gaining weight. But that is all you can do to me now. You cannot make me lie about food, starve to death, or restrict what I eat. I am stronger now and I have learned all your evil and cunning ways.
Maybe I was lucky to have survived you, but others are not. I know that you still haunt the lives of many girls, boys, men, and women out there. For some, you make them believe that they are not 'sick enough' to get help. For others, you fight them so hard that they feel weak and cannot battle you. And sometimes, you do not have a person as a victim, so you make them feel fat and ugly so that you can make them fall. Well, ED, I have a message for you. These people are not alone! They have people who love them and who care. I pray that they may find hope and strength to get rid of you and recover. I know, of course, that you will always be here. You are, unfortunately, one of the most dangerous illnesses out there. In fact, you kill more people than any other mental illness. But, I also want you to know that recovery is possible. People CAN and DO and WILL get rid of you. Because you make our lives terrible. You plague us and make us feel worthless. And now, we are educated. We are unwilling to let you continue to take away our lives and those lives of whom we love. Together, with education, awareness, prayers, and strength, we will overcome you. If that means gaining weight and eating, then fine. If that means ignoring your harsh comments, we will do it. If that means standing up for ourselves, then we are prepared. Whatever it takes, recovery is possible. It is not easy, but that is because it is a battle. We are up for that challenge. We will succeed.