Goodbye Letter to Anorexia

December 23, 2009
It seems like all the other letters start out with why Ana came into their lives, so I’m going to brief you on that. At the time, there were more reasons for me to be anorexic than not to be. I wanted the body, the control, the illusion that I was perfect. This image was so strong that I fooled myself from the very start. But I couldn’t fool the people who cared. My friends noticed first, closely followed by my parents. I reveled in the moments when they commented on how “stickish” I was, and how they were worried I would break. I knew they weren’t compliments, but Ana morphed them into positive feedback. Thank God I was only tricking myself. My parents got me the help, even though I fought with every ounce of strength I had, every logical argument, and every trick at my disposal. Looking back, that’s why I failed. I had no strength, no concrete thoughts, and no devious plans. I was a shell of a person... a sickly, hollow shell of what I used to be.
When they told me it was going to be hard, this recovery thing, I definitely believed them. I was going to make it hard. I was going to fight the system, show them that I was justified in my actions. Again, Ana was tricking me. There was, and is, no justification for hurting myself. I always told my friends that I couldn’t run because “my doctors won’t let me”. But I now realize that Ana took it all away.
We punished ourselves by letting Ana live in us. And just like Cory, Lisa, Robyn and Eve have been telling us all along, this truly isn’t our fault. So why are we hurting ourselves? That’s not what we should be doing in our lives.
I used to tell my parents that if I wanted to live like this, it was my choice- I wouldn’t starve myself to death. But really, I already had. By having ana, I deprived myself of the right to live. The dictionary defines living as “ the action of leading one’s life”. When I let Ana in, I halted my life to a standstill. I was going absolutely nowhere. That’s not life- that’s simply existing.
I wouldn’t have my life back if I had done this alone. My parents were my police force, and then my support. All the doctors here were my seeing eyes dogs when I was blind to the facts. My friends were my voice of reason and endless suppliers of love and motivation. My two sisters were the most patient advocates. And my group members were the most amazing girls I could ever have met. They understood me like no one else possibly could have. I hate to leave here, knowing that they have struggles they’re going to face. But I have all the confidence in the world that they are stronger than the demons they are facing. I know they have more determination than Ana does.
To Ana, I want to say, thanks. You showed me just how blessed I really am. Because of you, I met the most incredible people and learned the most invaluable things about myself. Now that you’re gone, I relish every normal moment I have. I want to say the same things to everyone in EDIOP, even though you’re the opposite of Ana.
It really isn’t about food. It’s about you. You’ve got the strength, the determination, and the loyalty to yourself. You can be the person you want to, and you can do anything in the world. Ana teaches you limits. But life isn’t like that at all. It’s a one heck of a crazy, hectic, emotional, spontaneous, and thrilling ride. In recovery, you have limitations and rules. But those fall away. As you win battles with Ana, you win the right to live. Not exist- live.

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