Dear Anorexia, by Kim Ratcliffe

September 8, 1998

I have come a long way since the first day we met. I don’t need you nearly as much as I did before, and that’s a good thing. For so long I have hated you, and now the hate has lessened. I think I am beginning to understand you and why I needed you so much. I also feel that we are both trying to trust each other and believe me I know how difficult that is. That “TRUST” word does not come easily to me or should I say it didn’t come easily to me. I am beginning to see that you can trust people in this world, have relationships where people don’t abandon me, or leave me. I don’t want you to be a part of my life anymore, but I don’t know if that is possible. I will have to deal with that. I realize that for the past 20 years I really needed you. You never left me, you made me feel safe, I could always count on you, you gave me power and control when I needed it, but you did this in a very DESTRUCTIVE AND HARMFUL way to me. That’s where the anger comes in and why I hated you so much. The arguments we would have in my head nearly killed me. I could no longer take them which is why I got help!! You made me do things that are DISGUSTING like, abuse laxatives, loose a lot of weight, lie to everyone (including myself, be secretive, isolate from everyone (and the one that hurts the most from isolation is my kids, they never had a mother for a long time), I was always angry and hungry, you made me starve myself, you made me have medical conditions from the eating disorder (some I still have), I felt worthless, had no self-esteem, and my recovery has been one of the most hardest things in my life to go through. I nearly lost everything because of you, including my life!! How could you do this to someone? ME or ANYONE for that matter. You take lives away and don’t even care because you are still out there grabbing on to someone else. YOU should be ASHAMED of yourself, not “us” feeling guilt and shame.

I was 16 when you came into my life, you had no right to! I was just a kid! Now, for the past 20 years of my life, I have done nothing but live with you, fight with you, and not even know who I am. You have taken 20 years of my life, and I had no choice about it. Now, for the past 4 years, I have been trying to get rid of you, so you can’t hurt me anymore, (I have had enough hurt in my lifetime.) I would like to do this in a positive way, not a destructive way like you did. I can’t say I forgive you completely, but I am trying to understand you and why I still need you at times. I am NOT a bad person (like you said I was), and if you would only let yourself see that, along with all the wonderful people I have met thru my recovery process. They really do care about ME, not what I look like or how much I weigh. It’s “ME” they care about. The INSIDE stuff. And do you know what a wonderful feeling that is, to have someone care about me, for ME. I don’t have to be THIN to be LOVED!! I don’t need your protection anymore, nor, do I have to pretend to be someone else. I know in the 20 years you have been around, that through that time, I needed you to protect me, let me feel safe and worthy of myself, but I don’t need that anymore from you. I can protect myself (in a healthy way), and I am beginning to love myself and find out who I am. I know I will continue NOT to need you as much, because even when you do come back in my life for a while, you don’t stay around long enough to do any damage, a choice that is mine!! I won’t give back to you all the hard work I have done in letting fo of you. You can’t have it. It’s mine. I guess this letter is GOOD-BYE!! Please leave me alone, I don’t need you anymore or want you in my life! You have hurt me 20 years too much. This is now my life, not yours! One I have worked VERY HARD to build. I deserve a happy, healthy, ANOREXIA FREE LIFE!!

When I began writing this, I had no idea it would turn out to be a good-bye letter, but it did, and it was much needed for me to do.  I can see that now. I have done a lot of healing from writing this, one that’s been a long time coming!!

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