Have you ever written an open letter to your an illness? Or even to yourself?
I’ve always enjoyed letter writing. Quite often I wrote letters but never sent them, and I actually came across a few not long ago. I don’t know why I started this practice but I can only guess that it was some sort of closure or therapy in the absence of a professional. I’ve addressed letters to my parents, to my best friend, to people who have hurt me, and, now, I’m writing an open letter to anorexia nervosa.
It’s like a message in a bottle, so to speak. You write it, fold it up, and pop it away. You get all those thoughts out from your head and onto paper (or the screen in my case) so that they don’t pollute your vision anymore. Writing to the mental illness is a way of saying ‘I know what you’re doing to me, this is why I don’t want you anymore. Good Bye!’.
Dear Anorexia, this is an open letter.
We’ve known each other for well over a decade now which, no offense, is way longer than necessary. You’ve well and truly outstayed your welcome and I am writing this letter to you to formally ask that you vacate my life.
We met when I was in high school. I was thirteen years old, had just gone through a breakup with my first boyfriend, and was feeling unwanted. By no means was I a small girl having been kept well fed by my grandparents, so I’d always had issues with my body. The heartbreak was my excuse and I obviously felt it was time to migrate to a different form of self-harm.
You fed off that lack of self-esteem and persistent self-hatred. Or didn’t feed as the case may be? No matter, you thrived under those conditions. The conditions of feeling unloved, feeling like an outsider, and the growing tensions at home. You enjoyed the negativity and developing depression. Like a dog enjoys a bone.
You were in your element.
I ran to you throughout those years for comfort, just like I do now. You’re my safety blanket, my fire extinguisher; My scaffolding. But I think it’s time I prepared for the fall. I think it’s time I fought the fire.
It’s time for you to leave.
I miss muffins.
Thick slices of bread. Chocolate ice lollies and crinkle-cut crisps. In other words, I miss the ability to have a full and healthy relationship with food, life and everything in between. I miss it all far more than I could ever miss you.
You’ve nurtured a part of me that wants to dull emotions and hide away from how I feel, but that needs to change. You need to give that part of me back so I can fix it.
I haven’t felt happy in a long time because not only have you managed to block out the bad feelings, but you have also succeeded in pushing out all the good. There are so many occasions when I should have been overwhelmingly happy, but all I ever felt was a sense of apathy or urgency to get it over with. I couldn’t just live in the moment and that’s on you.
Even in ‘quasi-recovery‘ I couldn’t look at myself and think ‘Damn girl, you look good today‘.
I always found something to pick at or hate about myself. I can’t remember what I look like anymore and I can’t see what everyone else sees. It’s just another thing on the long list of things you have taken from me.
You’ve taken my relationships, my social skills, my confidence, my self-esteem, my memory, my motivation, my body, my fertility, and the respect of others from me. This is not a definitive list by the way; you’ve pretty much ruined every aspect of my life so much so that I can’t list everything. Yes, ruined.
You’re so evil and manipulative that I can’t function without you some days. On other days you are pushed to the back of mind. Then 2.00 a.m rolls in and I’m awake and counting everything I’ve eaten that day with a sense of panic in my gut. I still do that every night and did for years although I would never admit it.
Please consider this your notice for the permanent termination of our relationship and your residency in my head.
A fanabla stronza.