Sunday, August 2, 2009

How to write a letter to your eating disorder

I was in Baptist Medical Center in Kansas City from Thanksgiving until December 22nd of 2000 for the first treatment of my eating disorder. There were many girls and women there. The youngest was 12 and the oldest was 54. It was good to see I was not alone.

At one group session we were asked to name our eating disorders and to write a letter to "it." I thought this was stupid and a bunch of psycho babble. I was irritated and wanted to leave, but I am a rule follower by nature and started on the journey. Little did I know that in those 30 minutes my life would change. I got angry for the first time in a long time and as the tears flowed, the words came...

December 5, 2000

Dear Edith,

I just spoke with you, but I guess it never hurts to say hi again. I can't seem to get enough of you. You have become my "everything." Consuming my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes and my future. I can't imagine my life without you in the center of it. You are the one true constant in my life. There have been times that I have forsaken you, left you by the side of the road--but you are always where I left you. Waiting with hopen arms for me, saying, "Welcome home friend, I missed you. You couldn't make it without me, could you?" And I run into your outstretched arms and find my comfort there. You taught me so many things. Things that I didn't know before you came, such as:
  • I don't deserve to be healthy
  • It is selfish of me to take care of myself
  • Boys don't like fat girls
  • With you I have control
  • I am a bad girl
  • That everyone will hurt me
  • That everyone will leave me
  • That you will always be there to hold onto
You have never let me forget one of these lessons. You are so good about playing these messages back to me whenever I get too full of pride. You show me all the beautiful people on television, in the movies and on magazine covers. And then tell me how happy I could be if I were like them!

You play old home movies for me so I don't forget the pain of my past. You recorded every event of my life and play back the most painful when I start to enjoy life too much.

Oh how you have worked to keep me in my place. Oh how you have slaved to make sure I know how truly inadequate I am. I haven't given you all the credit you deserve! You are amazing! How could I even think of leaving you behind? You are my all! I am nothing without you!

But...You disgust me!!!! I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I want to enjoy life! I want to be free! I want you out of my life! I want to have people see ME and not YOU! I want to cherish my time with my husband and children! I want to look like a woman again! I want to think of something, anything but you! I want to go out to eat with my friends and not worry about what they are thinking about me and you. I want to give up--"us!" I want ot break it off! I want you to die! I want to leave you by the side of the road and I want you gone! Don't follow me anymore; don't be waiting for my return--I won't be back! This is the last goodbye! I don't want you! I don't need you! I won't have you!



  1. Rachel, I really respect you for doing this. I hope this doesn't sound warped, but I think this blog has a really catchy name and I think it will be of interest to MANY people. There are a couple people I was thinking about as I read it. I will send them a note to take a look at it. From the dates shown, this is a new blog. I just wanted you to know that I think it is truly worthwhile and will be helpful to others. I will be reading it every time I see that you have posted a new entry. From personal experience, I can say it is truly amazing how much our self-image affects us! I had the bariatric surgery and hated that people were looking at me all the time. I have now gained back about half of the weight and feel like everyone must think I am a big failure! Very defeating! God is good, though. He will see us through. I will be praying for you.

  2. There are a few rules in our house (my kids would say there are a lot) that I am very strict about. Those are that we do not use words to describe people such as "fat" or "skinny." People are so much more than their size and it is important to me that my boys grow up knowing that. In the beginning we didn't tell the boys what I was battling, they were really young. Now they pretty much know it all. They are very supportive and are very empathetic to others struggling with self-esteem issues.

    This blog is very new, but I have been wanting to do it for a long time. My reason for holding back was that I didn't want to offend or hurt anyone. I finally realized that was the root of the whole thing to begin with. It was time to bring it into the light and share.

    I have spoken to many groups, churches, high school health classes and Girl Scout groups. I am hoping to make that my new career, motivational speaking on the issues of self worth facing women and our youth.