I remember when you first entered my life. You’d been trying to creep your way in for years, but when you finally did it, you arrived with a bang.
I remember the adrenaline rush the first time I ‘succeeded’ in making myself sick. I felt euphoric – like nothing could touch me and nothing could bring me down. I started losing weight very quickly, people started paying me compliments. My parents were proud of me – I’d actually done something right.
For the first few months you gave me hope, let me feel good about myself, allowed me to believe that I was good at something, that I could be beautiful. . . . if only I lost a bit more weight. . . and then a bit more, and a bit more after that. . .
12 years down the line, and I’m still not there yet, but you are. You’re still there, you haven’t given up on me. Every time I slip, you come back stronger than before. You used to nudge me gently, now it’s more like a shove, but you don’t ever give up. You make me believe that as long as you’re in my life I have the strength I didn’t know was there.
At my very lowest moments, you’ve been there to boost me, to give me that surge over and over again, make me feel worth something, if only for a moment. It’s those moments I cling to, keep going back for, the fleeting moments where I believe for just a second that I can do this.
But you have to keep moving the goalposts. It’s exhausting. Every time I think I’m nearly there, I’ve nearly made it, you push that goal a little bit further. I know I’ll never be good enough for you, not really, but you keep encouraging me anyway.
You’re a hypocrite, really, contradicting yourself over and over again. You make me feel worthless, but also like I could be worth something. You push, push, push until I feel so low I don’t want to go on living, and then when I’m down there, right at the bottom, you pick me up. When the whole world is against me, you’re the only one on my side. The only one who understands the fear of gaining weight, the absolute certainty that recovery is just not possible. You get that. You’re right there with me.
You’ve made me feel safe, protected in this little bubble – us against the world. But that’s part of the problem. You’ve isolated me from everyone. I don’t know who I am without you anymore.