You’ve Been Served: A Letter to My Bulimia

By Andrea HoodOctober 26, 2016

Dear Bulimia:

This decision took a while to make. When you first crept into my life so long ago, we were riding on a high that couldn’t be beat. I remember thinking, “You mean I can eat that and still be thin?” You reassured me with a grin and an endearing nod. At first, we rarely saw each other, only when I really needed you. But eventually we began seeing each other regularly, attached not at the hip but at the middle and the index finger. Soon we were inseparable. You went from being a crutch to lean on when forced to consume something “unhealthy” to being around every day when I was bored or stressed or tired or angry or all of the above. You felt like a warm embrace, a calming presence.

Eventually there wasn’t even an “us” anymore. It wasn’t you and me; you swallowed me. The only difference was you had no intention of throwing me back up. But I didn’t care. Even when my hair started falling out, I loved you. Even when I missed period after period, I loved you. Even with the tears and brittle fingernails and the struggle to stay warm, I continued loving you.

Years of therapy and nutritionist appointments couldn’t convince me to give you up because I believed I needed you. I believed that no one would truly understand our relationship, so I never fully let anyone else in on our secrets. I believed you made me whole even though you reduced me to half the person I ever was. I’ve known you for six years, almost a third of my life. And our lives are now so intertwined that I still find myself questioning who is calling the shots.

Even when I cheated on you with self-harm, you didn’t care. You even encouraged it. And you two worked together to launch us into mutually assured destruction. Like a messed up love triangle, we used each other for years. But even after I left self-harm and came back to you, we were never the same. You set out to destroy me, and you came close many times.

But I’m done. I’m finally done.

This is not just a break-up. This is a divorce. Sure, we never signed a marriage license, but we might as well be married. I depend on you. I’ve spent a significant portion of my life with you. I’ve spent large amounts of money trying to please you. And at times, I’ve felt that you brought more peace than any real partner could.

But if I stay with you, you will consume me to the point where there is no “me” left. All that will be left is the shell of the person I used to be, which is why I am ending our relationship for good. For now I still “love” you. For now I will miss you. But in the years to come I will remember the sour taste you left in my mouth. I will realize how controlling you were. I will remember how you kept me away from friends and parties. I will remember how you forced me into actions I never perceived possible. I will remember how you made me believe I wasn’t worth love or affection – from myself or from others. In the years to come I will look back on our relationship and realize how foolish I was.

This divorce from you marks the beginning of me. It will take some time to get over you, that is sure. But I am telling you right now that you will never come back into my life. I have severed our ties, and I am burying you six feet deep before you have the chance to do the same to me.

This divorce is the first step in letting go of you, letting go of us. I could say I hope you find happiness with someone else, but I don’t. I sincerely hope you never find anyone else to control, manipulate, or destroy.

You’ve been served. But do not worry. This letter doesn’t need your signature.

I’ve already signed off for the both of us.

Leave a Reply

Comments (14)

  1. Bellla

    I selfishly wish you’d never have had to experience and endure all you so unfailingly and amazingly put into words here, but I’m so incredibly glad you wrote this and shared it, for I know it will help many. I hope, most, helps you. I’m proud of you. You’re worth fighting for your health, your future, your love.
    You’re in my prayers. God bless

    Reply  |  
  2. Deb Jones

    I am in my 50’s, but reading this brought me back to my 20’s, when I wasted a decade in the same unhealthy relationship. I used to attempt suicide to kill off that part of me. Back then anorexics were pitied and coddled; bulimics were looked at with disgust. I know. I have been both. Today I have a healthy relationship with food and body image. According to “The Guidelines” I could stand to lose 15 pounds. But you know what? My clothes fit, I’m healthy, but most of all I’m happy with who I am today.

    Reply  |  
  3. Lauren Carter

    This is beautiful. I read it three times in a row.

    Reply  |  
  4. Julie

    Amazing I almost cried while reading this letter, I hope one day bulimia will stop controlling me as well… Really well written and moving, congrats! Keep going on

    Reply  |  
  5. Marta

    Mam podobne problemy do twoich. Jestem pod ogromnym wrażeniem, że masz siłę i odwagę z tym skończyć. Chciałabym być taka jak ty, Jestem pod wielkim wrażeniem bo wiem jakie to trudne. Potrzeba do tego ogromnej odwagi i siły. Niestety ja jej nie posiadam. Ta choroba mnie wyniszcza od środka. Coraz częściej mam myśli samobójcze. Codziennie próbuję z tym skończyć i codziennie przegrywam. Dziękuję Ci za twój wpis. Dzięki niemu wiem że nie jestem sama. Trzymam za ciebie mocno kciuki. Wierzę że wygrasz z tą chorobą. I proszę Cię nie popełnij mojego błędu i walcz. Ja niestety już skończyłam moją walkę i teraz czekam tylko na śmierć, bo nic innego więcej nie mogę zrobić.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Marta,

      Please, please do not give up. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re struggling right now, but please keep living. Please reach out and let someone know you need help. Talk to a friend or family member or someone you trust and let them know how you’re feeling, even if you’re sure they can’t help. You deserve to live, and you deserve to get the help you need. We would not be better off without you, Marta. We need you to keep living.

      If you need resources, we list some here: Please also feel free to email our team if you’d like some words of encouragement.

      You can do this, Marta. You can get through this and get to better days.

      Reply  |  
      1. Bellla

        Marta, I can’t translate your comments, but I can understand you’re in pain from dear Ms Biggs response. I’m very proud of you for writing here. Your voice, experiences, feelings, thoughts, matter so very much. You matter so very much. I’m so sorry for your pain. I’m sending you love, precious soul. You’re in my prayers. God bless

        Reply  |  
  6. Heather

    Thank you, thank you. Our secrets keep us sick- and I am so glad you are making the choice for health. You are in my prayers!

    Reply  |  
  7. Clarisse

    Many of us live this miserable life but aren’t courage enough to end it!This letter is a true definition of strenght.

    Reply  |  
  8. Carrie

    This is so beautifully written…and describes it all so accurately.
    Thank you thank you for sharing this I needed to hear this.

    Reply  |  
  9. charlene

    I just wanted to say that this was eloquently written and took my breathe away at the end. It made me want to stand and clap for you.

    Reply  |  
  10. heather

    Wow I am speechless. So very true this letter got me into tears.

    Reply  |  
  11. Kehul

    I wish I had the courage to do this. Right now me and bulimia are still going strong. Though some days I hold hands with anorexia instead.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      The courage is definitely there, within you. We hope you know that it is possible to find recovery, but you don’t have to do it on your own. If you would like to, we would love to offer you some resources and encouragement. Please email us at [email protected].

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.