Guest Post: I got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget

As part of my friend’s treatment for her anorexia, it was suggested that she write a “thank you note” to her disordered self.  It allowed her to talk back to the destructive part of her that, for years, had been winning.

I am so grateful that she is allowing me to share the final product on this blog.  It reminded me why it’s important to take the experiences that isolated us seriously, why a society that presents starving yourself to achieve perfection as normal and glamourous is wrong, and how important it is to understand and to feel understood.

Dear Eating Disorder Self,

Just wanted to write you a quick note to say hi! How’s it going? Hope you’re doing swell. Things with me haven’t been so great, but we’ll get to that later. Let’s talk about you first! That’s what we usually do anyway, right?

I want to sincerely thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the years. We’ve been together an awfully long time — feels like forever! — and you’ve given me a lot of things. Of course, to be fair, I’ve given you a lot of things, too. I’ve given you countless days of effort, innumerable pounds of uneaten food, and every waking minute of my attention for the last 10 years. But you gave me so much back.

You gave me the feeling of being empty and pure, one of my favorite feelings in the world. With nothing in my stomach, I can do anything (except, of course, for being social, going out with my friends, or even just standing up and moving at a normal pace)! It lets me know that I’m doing something right, that I’m better than other people, that I’m going to be perfect if I just try hard enough and skip one more meal forever. Thanks for reminding me I can do it!

Thank you for giving me a reason for why people didn’t like me. It wasn’t my personality, my brains, or anything about me on the inside — it was just that I was fat! But you always told me I could fix that. Thank you for making me feel strong and for making me feel like I had willpower. But mostly, thank you for making me feel special. Because of you, I’m not boring. I’m damaged, I’m wounded, there’s something wrong with me. And, eventually, someone will come along and care enough to fix me and prove to me that I’m good enough as a person just the way I am. But until that happens, you made it clear you’d always be there!

So thank you. Thanks for helping me memorize caloric information for thousands of foods I’ll never be able to forget, for all the lies I told to people who cared, for all the lies I’m still telling. Thanks for making me incapable of loving myself enough to be in a relationship with someone else, for the constant reassurance that I am the worst, for ruining my metabolism, my calcium levels, my entire reproductive system. And thanks a lot for stealing 10 years of my life, for making me crazy, for digging this hole I have to climb out of now.

But more than anything else, I guess, thanks for nothing.




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