To My Past Self, Post-Eating Disorder

I don’t blame you for what happened.

You just wanted to be like everyone else — confident, thin and beautiful. But despite efforts, no one saw that in you until it was too late.

It wasn’t your fault. You never intended for things to spiral out of control the way they did. You just wanted to be accepted. It started out healthily, but when you were constantly being encouraged to be smaller, it was hard to not want that for yourself too.

When you hit your goal weight, it wasn’t enough. Everyone giving you praise for becoming newly thin was intoxicating. It was a feeling you seldom felt before, it was addicting. And so, it became a game of “Just 10 more pounds.” “Just 5 more pounds” “Just until I drop another pant size.”

I’m so sorry. I wish I would’ve acknowledged what was going on sooner, but I denied it for years out of fear of being seen as “different” or “sick.” I finally came to terms with it several years later. I often think, if I would’ve gotten help sooner, would I still be dealing with these side effects?

We’ll never know, but I want you to know I’m doing well. Somedays, I feel like the queen of the world and everything is working in my favor, others, you pop back up. Your insecurities and self-hatred. I tried to ignore you for years and I just couldn’t anymore.

You ruined my relationships with friends and past significant others. I used to resent you for it, but I now realize you made me stronger. You carried the weight of the world on your shoulders. You put on a happy front for years hoping one day you would be. No one knew how broken you were inside — no one. That’s such a massive burden to carry. I want to apologize for not seeing how much you struggled.

I wish it didn’t have to be the way it was. I wish we could’ve worked together and never dealt with that 4-year eating disorder. It’s ultimately what tore us apart, but you are not your eating disorder. You were just a girl trying to get through the hell that is puberty.

I’m proud of you. I’m so so proud of you. You gave me the tools and experiences I needed to make myself the strong, confident woman I am today. I would not have the strength to share my story without you. I wouldn’t have worked so hard to have the confidence I do without you.

The truth is, despite appearances, you’re not all that bad. You worked so hard to recover. You, by yourself, turned train wrecks into triumphs.

And for that reason, I love you.

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