Dear ED,

Remember back in September when I was shocked by the way had slowly, insidiously crept back into my world? Just weeks after that sad observation I left for treatment, thinking, apparently mistakenly, that it would the process through which we would disentangle ourselves. I was wrong – you conned me into believing that I was safe. You laid low during treatment and lulled me into a false sense of security. Now I’m trying and failing to keep up the fight, but with every bite your hands clench more tightly around my throat, your voice echoes more loudly in my ears and your very presence allows my anxiety to swell and swallow every semblance of hunger.I was in such deep denial on that rainy Fall day as I trudged across campus my boots filling with rain and my eyes with tears as I realized that anorexia is perhaps a permanent fixture in my mind. I am still in denial. I have sought treatment 1,800 miles away and yet I hear your screams and believe they are mine. You clench my stomach into silence and I still believe that it is my true desire to starve. You have seeped so far into my real self that when you tell me I want to die I believe that too, that I may be incapable of recovery.Just let go! I’ve been you victim for a decade now – since I was too young to know you had a name. You stepped in and brought fear that no elementary schooler should feel. You convinced me that if I told anyone how I feel they would think me crazy, dumb, unloveable and even uglier than you made me feel. Well, I’m not crazy – just confused and sad and overwhelmed, but it’s taken more than half my life thus far for me to recognize those feelings.Look at what you’ve already stolen from me. You took the strong bones of a twenty year old athlete and left me with those of someone much older. You took the steady, rhythmic thump of my heart. You’ve taken my hair. You’ve stripped my muscles down to nothing. You’ve held my organs with such a white-knuckled grip that they protest when asked to function. You have shrunken my brain, twisted my every thought and turned my passions and strengths into tools of torture. You invaded my world, turned it upside down and fled with your treasure, leaving me with a mess.I have a life to rebuild, a body that isn’t mine, trust to regain, webs of lies, confusion and disorder to unravel. You’ve left me cold and isolated – I have to learn to live, but you did enough damage that I no longer know what I want for myself. And I am so afraid of you merciless and ever-changing retribution that even allowing myself to contemplate the possibilities that wait around each corner is complicated. I would say “go find someone else to bother,” but I can’t allow myself that. I can’t let another fifth grader unknowingly open the door and invite in what is at times nothing short of a death sentence. So I’ll leave it at this – take your loot (my bones, my courage, my muscles, 15% of my brain and my reputation of honesty) and leave me alone; I have nothing left to give.Mary

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