My letter to Anorexia
My youngest daughter battled/still battles with anorexia. In 2010 she was admitted to a clinic to help her deal with it. This is a letter she has written to Anna (anorexia), the inspiration for which she obtained from an article in a magazine. It does seem that the story of anorexia sufferers are quite similar, yet we somehow, as parents and family, seem to miss the signs.
One can see the transient moods – from hate and anger, to acceptance, and then to a positive view of the future.
I don’t know exactly when I said hello, but now I’m trying to say goodbye. This is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do, or maybe just as hard as admitting you had taken over my life. I’ve been trying to find out why I let you in, and let you take control. I welcomed you on board because I was convinced you were making me happy. You were making me the person I thought I was meant to be: skinny, yet so strong and proud. But there shouldn’t be pride in having a person like you rule my life.
You told me I could conquer anything by letting you rule my life. You took over and I let you. But admitting this was so hard and, even though I made you feel proud of me, I felt like a failure. You made me feel like I should be ashamed of myself. I gave you everything but got nothing in return. I was willing to die for you… I would have died because of you. And you would have let me. You would have been so happy to see me suffer. And I was willing to make you happy and proud. But it would never have been enough for you. When would you have told me to stop?
I will never forget the day I decided to get rid of you. It was 6 December 2010. I knew that you’d hate me; that I would pay big time for trying to lose you. And I did. I was forced to give up everything: my life, my family, my friends, just to be able to fight you. As if you hadn’t done enough damage already, you had to take away everything else that made me a happy person. I hated you so much for that.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I could have given in, but I didn’t think you deserved it. If I wasn’t allowed to be happy, then you certainly weren’t. So I was ready to kick your bony little ass! I’ve been fighting so hard against everything you led me to believe was right. I’ve been fighting you to find out what makes me happy, to find out who I really am, to learn to love myself unconditionally. Each battle was hell and the war isn’t yet over, but you will leave shortly.
I know you hate that I can see a positive side to all the grief you’ve caused me. Sometimes I care. Other times I don’t. Ignoring you when I had to start eating properly was so much harder than dealing with the guilt you still make me feel. You thought you were so strong, but you’re not.
You did me wrong, but I’m grateful. You made me look at my life in a different way. You’ve made me appreciate things I’ve always taken for granted. You’ve forced me to look inside and see who I am. I don’t miss the life we had together. I don’t cherish the months of isolation and torture and fear. But I do cherish what they have taught me. I was so scared to think of life without you, but I’m strong and am only going to get stronger by fighting you. So thank you for making me realize just how beautiful my family is, how beautiful my life can be and how beautiful I am. Once you’re gone, I’ll focus on me and on living the life I’ve been fighting for.
I’ll never forget you. I’m a stronger person for having had you in my life, although I’ve paid a high price. Now I’m letting you go. I don’t regret letting you in, but I think about the other people you’ve taken from this world and I’m grateful you’ve not taken me too.
I don’t hate you, I just hate what you’ve done; and I love what I’ve become.
I mean it when I say ‘Goodbye’.
As a dad, I am so sad that she had had to go through such an ordeal. As a dad, I am also so proud of the growth and development that I see.