This is my last letter to you. I wrote my first one almost four years ago. We were in a pit of darkness together, you and me. I am boggled by how our relationship has transformed.
In those years, I’ve collected dozens and dozens of letters in this blog, made public for the world to see. You have been on display; people have been exposed to the shitshow you used throw in my head, the sweet words you used to tell me, the lies and distortion that you weaved into my mind. This will be the last entry, because I realized that a healthy and appropriate goodbye to you (and to everyone who reads you) can be healing for all of us involved.
Four years ago, I was very, very sick and very, very scared.
Today, I’m healthy, and of course that’s a broad, overarching word, but it’s the accurate one to use here. I’m healthy mentally, spiritually, and physically. I’ve also redefined what healthy actually means. Fear still exists, but it’s appropriate fear, not distorted, eating disordered fear.
I’m working in the field I love, with the most amazing clients who have the most amazing stories, and I’m getting married in one month to the man of my dreams.
I am independent woman. I make my own choices.
I eat delicious food everyday. Most of it is scientifically nutritious, but not always. I exercise frequently. Some of it is for aesthetic benefits, but most of it is for the physical release of endorphins and the awesome feelings of being strong and challenged.
I don’t go to therapy. I don’t go to meetings. I don’t binge or purge or restrict. I haven’t in a very long time.
I hate to say this, but I sometimes forget I had a ravaging eating disorder.
And that just purely astounds me, because when I first starting writing to you, you were everything. You were my best friend, my lover, my therapist, my voice of reason. How could I ever forget about you? How did we go from there to here?
I don’t have a perfect answer, and I never will. Time was part of it. Therapy was part of it. Love was part of it. Maturity was another part of it. There have been infinite parts to the recovery journey, but I am proud to say: You don’t dominate my life anymore.
I’ve found better, and I’ve found different. It’s no longer me versus you. It’s no longer me versus an eating disorder. My life is not built around you; it has not been for quite some time. I couldn’t taste the freedom right away; it’s taken about a year. I think I was always too scared to believe of the “inevitable relapse,” the inevitable “back to normal,” which meant, of course, “back to you.”
You used to be in every meal, in every workout, in every dynamic with every person in every situation. You were so pervasive that I figured I was just stuck with you.
And now? You are kind of like the ex-boyfriend I used to write about. I think about him the way I think about you: with nostalgia, in a sense, but without the attachment, resentment, and emotional intensity that used to occupy my mind. There is remembrance, but most of all, there are reminders of my growth, progress, and transformations since then.
I don’t have to write you letters anymore. The time for our closure has come.
You’ve helped me. In a professional sense, you’ve helped become an incredibly gifted therapist. You’ve helped me help a lot of clients who have their own experiences with you, their own heartbreaks and sagas with compulsion and addiction. You aren’t the same as theirs- because no two stories are alike- but I see you everywhere.
You’ve helped me learn about myself and how I cope with stress. You helped me realize that I was driven towards impulsive shortcuts, towards making my emotions, towards cowering in shame. You helped me realize that living that way really got in the way with my own happiness and sanity.
I will always respect you, but I will no longer need you, for I am finally free.