A letter written to an incredible friend I met in residential treatment. She is currently back in treatment, fighting for recovery once again…and this time she will win.
My dearest friend,
Never give up. You must recover. You do not have a choice. You will die. And even if you survive…if you give up on this treatment, your life will be mediocre at best. I say this because I love you. Because I was you. I did not get it. I never got it. In treatment one day my therapist said, “You are one purge away from a heart attack.” Suddenly, I ‘got’ it. I slowly began to understand that I was killing myself, literally killing myself, to reach some point of unreachable perfection. In my twisted and disordered mind, my life would be complete and fulfilled once I reached ‘that’ goal. Well I never achieved ‘that’ goal. I always thought my next life milestone would magically cure me…high school graduation, college, sorority, college graduation, first job, second job, move, marriage, third job, fourth job…my life never improved. My illness only got worse with each milestone. I could never reach perfection because perfection does not exist.
Never give up. You are young and your life and career are just beginning. Do not be like me. Do not waste some of the best years of your life just “surviving.” Recover! And spend those years LIVING! Do you know what I would give to be back your age and have the chance to get help and recover? I would give the world. I wasted what now feels like a lifetime trapped in my disorder. I spent years stuck in the claws of a self deprecating monster. Do not waste your days restricting, purging and being comatose on a couch. Do not pass up lunches and pool days with friends because your body isn’t “just right”.
Never give up. I see so much of myself in you. But I did not know I could get help and I never wanted help bad enough. I missed out on so many life moments. Ed ruined every second of my life. Even my wedding day. My wedding day! I cringe when I see my own wedding photos because all I see is my illness. You don’t want that. You want your special day to be about you…not your disorder.
Never give up. Real growth and change begin when treatment gets hard. You must dig your heels in and stand your ground against ED when you suddenly realize your treatment stay is going to be longer than expected. And I know it sucks. Every minute stuck in treatment away from your family is gut wrenchingly awful…but…recovery is worth every second. And ironically the road to recovery gets really tough when you finally start to get healthy. The clearer your wise mind gets, the louder Ed gets. But…Don’t give up. And remember just because you are in treatment does not mean the urges and voices just go away. Recovery is work! Everyday I fight the demons to stay in recovery. Some days suck. Some days all I want is to be thin again and feel that feeling…but I fight because that is not me. That is Ed. And I refuse to give him another second of my day. I have given my eating disorder enough of me. I nearly gave him all of me. We are more than our eating disorders.
Never give up. Be free, my friend. Let yourself be free. Recover! You do not know what recovery is right now, but you will soon. Fight the fight. Do not float through life in shambles, afraid of being yourself. Find out who you are and grow to love that beautiful and contagious spirit we all adore and love.
Never give up.
Never give up.
Never stop believing in you…I believe in you.