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Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Nuwe skryfwerk | New writing > Artikels | Features > English > A letter to Anorexia

A letter to Anorexia

Letitia Smit - 2007-08-07

"I reflect back on the day that you first came into my life. I thought that you were coming with a lot of helpful wisdom and many things to share. You seemed to be a great companion, when no one else was there. You talked to me like I was your friend and that you knew what was best for me. You first praised me for the great progress that I was making in this friendship when I did everything that you wished. I would listen for your voice to see what was coming next. I would run that extra mile when you told me to. I would not eat all day if that was desired by you. I would eat and eat and then feel like I betrayed your trust and the one way you told me to make it up is throw it up. Everything that I have done and still do is never enough in your eyes. You can’t look past all the failing and continue to point out everything that I am not. I have worked so hard to try and get you to love me for me, but it seems that either my face is too fat, my thighs are too big or that I am just a disgust in your eyes.

"I have tried so hard to have love and sympathy for you and understand where you are coming from. The reality of it is that I don’t understand. I don’t understand why I continue to shut everyone out of my life just so that I can be with you. You have robbed me of so much. I wouldn’t go to the mall unless you approved. I am allowed to relax only when you say that it is ok. I wouldn‘t smile without feeling your guilt. I couldn‘t take a bite of anything without your leering behind me to tell me what a fat, disgusting pig I was. I feel so strongly that I have to keep you a secret from everyone. I feel like when I tell people about you, they really don’t like you. It is hard because I want to defend you and at the same time wondering what I am trying to defend. You have done so much hurt to me, you have taken up so much space in my life that there is hardly anything left for anyone else. My family just wants you to go away, my friends just want you to go away, I, however, feel like I am in an abusive relationship and I don’t know how to leave you. I have tried really, really hard to love and embrace the way that you are, I just feel like I can’t do that anymore. I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore, I don’t need you to control me! I am sick of you taking everything from me, and deciding when I am worthy. I hate the person that you have become in this relationship. You think you love me, you really think that you love all of me, and then you tell me so many hurtful things.

"I don’t know what to do anymore. I have tried to run and hide, and you always seem to find me. I try to be extra good and that isn’t enough. I have tried and tried, tried to get help, more help and more help. I want out of this relationship, I want to be free, I want to think my own thoughts, I want to be close to my friends. I want to feel joy without your guilt attached to it. I am done with you, I am done with feeling so alone. It is because of you that I felt that way. Can you see how you have hurt me? Can you see how you are ripping me apart inside?

"What more do you want from me?? Because I have nothing left to give."

Anorexia is a mental illness, I doubt a disease. But one thing is certain, it's not a lifestyle choice! Some people think anorexia can be "caught" and many young girls (correction, many girls) think that you can learn in some way how to be anorexic. This is very wrong! It's more than a diet that went wrong. It's more than attention seeking, because in my personal life I did not really have someone whose attention I wanted to draw to me. It was just a decision to stop eating completely. I know that a lot of my childhood experiences had something to do with this, but I didn’t know that up until now that I am working through the past.

In some way or the other your anorexia voice gets a name. The shortened name for anorexia is Ana. Yes, there is an Ana voice inside of every anorexic, but this is a voice created by your own mind. She is a part of you, and in some ways you like having her. She is to blame and you enjoy blaming someone else. In my life the only one I could blame was Ana. I had no parents to blame, and my sister lived too far away. My aunt who was supposed to look after me was in a world of her own. And me? I was in my own world of fairies and pixies and all the wishful thinking.

I never really spoke a word. I spoke only when there was something someone wanted to know, or if I had to ask something or when I was forced to. I grew up this way. It was a protective shield for me against the world. A horrible world for the little girl I was.

Things changed, I changed. I came to understand why I am hurting myself by starving and cutting my legs. I am learning other ways to cope with my emotions, frustration and other feelings.

There is hope out there – you just have to reach out and grab hold of someone’s hand. The world is a scary place, especially if you have to walk alone through the dark alley called life. But there are people who care, and somewhere along the line you too will begin to see the light.