To the loved ones of an eating disorder sufferer...
We can see how much we are hurting you; don't for a second think that we can't. We know that it is tearing you up inside, we know that it is terrifying and confusing and we know that we are destroying you. And we’re sorry. That sounds so feeble in relation to the enormity of the pain we are causing, but know that we are more sorry that we could ever say. We don't want to be doing this, we don't want to be hurting you, and we want it to go away just as much as you do. But right now we are engulfed in an overwhelming darkness and sometimes it feels like we are trapped here forever.
Everyday, we are trying so hard to beat this. We are terrified all the time. The voices scream and yell and curse and criticise and every time we pick up our knives and forks, we are subjected to unbearable psychological abuse. Sometimes, it may not seem like we are trying very hard at all. Sometimes, it might appear that we are letting those voices win. But every single time we choose to nourish our bodies instead of abuse them, we are fighting this illness, and we are trying with all our might to beat it.
We promise. Our eating disorders were not caused by something you said, or did, or didn't say, or didn't do. We don't really know what was the cause – most likely it was mishmash of all things physical, psychological, genetic and circumstantial. But it wasn't you. So stop blaming yourself, because that's a greater burden than anybody should have to bear. Our illnesses are bigger and deeper than you think and you are not to blame for a single thing.
Loving someone with an eating disorder is hard. It's an illogical, irrational disease and it doesn't make any sense. But we need you. We need you now more than ever. We know we can be difficult, we know we can scream and shout and sulk and sob, but we are not angry with you. Not ever. We are angry that this has happened to us. We are angry that these demons have taken up residence in our brains. We are frustrated and distressed and lonely and really, really tired. So please don't give up on us, because we can't do this without you.
Because of you, even at the darkest of times and the lowest of lows, we’ve never truly been alone. Thank you for seeing a spark in us that we cannot, and thank you for helping us uncover a strength we didn't know we had. Your love is perhaps the only thing we know for sure in this messy, unpredictable world, but rest assured that is more than enough to get us through. Thank you for believing in us when we can't believe in ourselves, and thank you for holding onto hope when we feel hopeless. We will fight until we are free because you give us the bravery to do so.