You started off subtly. Creeping into my life while no one noticed. My life become more out-of-control every minute, and you stepped in to greet me. Day after day, I would lean on you. I wanted to find something I could control in the midst of the chaos, and you were right there waiting. You didn’t mind my crazy. You welcomed it.
You let me have control when everything else spiraled away from me. I couldn’t let you go; you became so important to me. I couldn’t imagine life without you. You comforted me, held me, grounded me.
My friends never noticed, I hid you so well. You were my perfect secret, my solution. I carried on week after week, until one day someone looked too close. I brushed them off, laughed it away, and never once let them see you again. I was so confident and months passed by before anyone else caught on. They didn’t fall for my act.
They called me out and looked at me with concern. They didn’t understand that you freed me. I made it through the toughest times with you by my side. They persisted and I withdrew. They wanted me to see that you were damaging me, but how could you? Day after day, they pursued me. Day after day, I ignored them. I didn’t need them when I had you. Everything was fine. I was more than fine; I was in control. You gave that to me.
Months of persisting and they broke through the haze. I looked around in confusion and thought, maybe I don’t need you to make it. Maybe I’m ok now on my own. I slowly came to realize that this control I’d fought so hard for was a myth, and you weren’t going to let me go so easily.
The fog closed back in and I sat in the safety of the artifice you created. You wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. You couldn’t; I was in control. Right? So clever, letting me believe I had the power.
I held on to you like the lifeline you’d become, and you continued to slowly destroy me. Spots of clarity enabled me to realize how harmful you were, but that only made me more terrified. I couldn’t let you go, what would I have? Where would I be? I’d spent so long clinging to the security you provided that a life without it seemed impossible.
Their concern grew and my resolve strengthened.
I didn’t want you anymore.
I started to fight back, but quickly learned how devious you were. You hid in my insecurities and fed on my obsession. You pulled the strings, I was only your puppet.
I tried and I tried, but kept falling back to you. One day, though, I realized I’d had more good days that week than bad. I could feel you with me, but you no longer surrounded me. Every day you became a little smaller and less significant.
You brought me to my lowest point, but that’s where I found hope. I found beauty in the world around me, because beauty comes from knowing that God is good. You brought my friends closer to me. You taught me that I must stand on my own two feet, and when I can’t, God will carry me through. You showed me that the illusion of control is my solace and my nightmare.
You creep in and whisper tempting words when my world becomes overwhelming, and I still fall for it. The fog becomes thicker and I must remember to fight it back. I become battered and bruised, but I fight. Until you, I never knew that I could be so strong. You don’t get to hold me captive.
I wish I could say I’ll forget you, but you will always be a part of me. One day, I’ll confine you to a small box on a far-off shelf in my memory. I’ll dust you off when I meet someone else caught in your trap, and I’ll show them that there is a way out.
I’ll remind them that maybe today was a bad day, and yesterday was too, but there’s always a tomorrow waiting for our new beginning. Every day is a choice to live life expectant of the good, and that choice is our power. Not you.
I’ll tell them that an eating disorder does not define them.
You do not own us.
We are brave, resilient, smart, exquisite.
We are more than the sum of our fears and failures, and you will not convince us otherwise.