Trigger warning: this article is about my experiences with my eating disorder and features/alludes to eating disorders (surprise surprise), starving, binging, purging, self-harm and depression. If any of these are likely to be a trigger for you, I would suggest not reading any further.  

Heema Gokani

Dear ED,

I am not in love with you.

Not anymore.

Once upon a time, I was. Once upon a time, I was intoxicated with the destruction that you brought, with the illusion of power and control that you swept me up in. I loved you more than I loved the people around me; I loved you more than anything else in this world. But you don’t fool me anymore.

Finally, I see you for what you are — a dangerous monster that lived in my head. You told me that I couldn’t be beautiful until I was under 3 figures. You told me that no one could ever love me because I was too fat to deserve love. Day in, day out, you pummelled me with insults, with words that ended up carved into my skin.

Heema Gokani

But I understand now. I may not fully see you in the light that you deserve, but I understand that your entire existence was a lie. I get it.

You told me that food was a danger, that it was an addiction that I had to ween myself off. You told me that it wasn’t there to be enjoyed – it was there to be shovelled into my mouth and then vomited straight back out. You told me that it was all or nothing, that I couldn’t sit and smile my way through dinner like everyone else could.

You told me that I was in control.

(I wasn’t.)

You told me that I wasn't sick.

(I was.)

Heema Gokani

You told me that my life would look better once I’d finished throwing up, once my hair was no longer matted with mashed up food and I was no longer crying over the toilet. Once I walked out of the cubicle, things would be rosier, my stomach would be emptier, and I would be happier.

That’s what you promised. 

But things weren’t rosier. My stomach was emptier, sure, but the acid was in my gullet instead. You tore holes in my oesophagus and then shrugged and told me to deal with it when I bled into my hands. You drove me to the edge of death and then said, “well if you go at least I’ll be gone, too”.

I chose you over my own life. I loved you far more than I could possibly love myself. Do you remember me bent double over the toilet, crying into a blood stained bowl? Do you remember me writing out my goodbyes, convinced that I'd seen my last Christmas?

Heema Gokani

Of course you do. Because you were the one thing that I couldn't imagine living without. You were an integral part of my life. You were a comfort.

But you're not anymore. You said that you'd live in my head until the day that I died — and I sure as Hell thought that day was going to come sooner rather than later. But you're wrong, ED, you're so, so wrong. Because I don't listen to you anymore — I barely even hear you.

Instead, I’ve started listening to my boyfriend who tells me that I’m beautiful and to my friends who tell me to choose health over the voices in my head. I’ve started listening to the counsellor I hated who told me to have confidence and to my Mum who begged me not to ruin my own body. And I’ve started listening to my God who tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I choose to listen to them over you and in making that choice, I render you powerless.

I'm not in love with you anymore, ED. I was, once. But I no longer care enough to keep you hidden. I no longer care enough to protect you.

I no longer care enough to believe you.

And that is the best feeling in the world.

N.B. this article is an shortened and updated version of a letter I wrote a few months back. If you'd like to read the full, original version, you can find it here.