Dear….

I don’t even know what to call you. Eating disorder? For a long time you’ve been my gremlin, the devil inside of me, my shadow of death. Black and cruel, you’ve supported me like the creepers of a tree that wind their way round and round its trunk and suck the life out of it. That’s what you did to me. You slowly sucked the life out of me.

But for many many years you were my one true friend. Like a lover you held me. When things got tough for me you came and opened your arms to me. You helped me forget the things that caused me pain, you told me I was okay and convinced me life was good, even though if I really looked Id see it was shattering around me.

But that was the beauty of you. You veiled me in a silver shroud that protected me from the truth.

When my sister was ill, I didn’t need to feel the pain and loss and fear, I didn’t need to witness her one woman crusade towards death, because I had you.

At university I didn’t need to worry that I wasn’t working hard enough, that I would fail my first year exams and let myself and my parents down, because you came to me then and replaced the anxiety with food, and then emptiness.

Whenever I have been stressed out and struggling to manage the chaos of my life you’ve helped me put it into order. You’ve given me abounding energy when you’ve helped me to take meals out of the equation of my day, sleepless nights that meant I had more time to work or be productive.

At first you brought me so much confidence. All those years that I despised myself, convinced myself that no one would ever love me because I was so repulsive, you appeared with an answer – and when I shrunk myself I found a man, I found care and attention that I didn’t even know I craved.

Ive buried my pain so deep inside but youre the one who helped me bring it to the surface, to wear it so others could see it and love me. Of course I didn’t know it at the time that this was your intention, and you did a good job of making me feel like I didn’t want or need anyone. And this is how you came to abuse me. You consumed me so all I thought I needed was you. The love came but I pushed it away because you made me believe that you were my one true love.

Like my other abusive relationships, I didn’t realize how narrow my life had become. I didn’t see how slowly my soul was surrendering to a fate of misery. I didn’t see that I was losing myself.

And I made this mistake with you.

Where once I lived a life of optimism, of experiences, ambition, friendships, care for others, this all diminished and all I cared about was you and me.

I see this clearly now. Ive begun to experience life again, connection, hope, happiness.

And I like how it feels. IN fact, I like the feelings that I have never really felt before, because you killed them. Although I feel pain and sadness and emptiness, I have found I feel joy, and warmth as well – and when I was with you and void of feeling I forgot that joy even existed.

I know you still try to help me when the pain gets unbearable – you appear on my shoulder and distract me. You know me so well and you say just the right things to subtly tempt me back into your arms. You promise me things will be different this time, that you and I have changed, that I am stronger and will stand up to you this time, that you see that and you wont unravel me.

But we’ve done this before, and I believed you, yet you did unravel me. You got inside me and filled me completely and I was trapped in a tunnel of your venom and I could never reach the exit.

I will not let that happen again. And though it pains me more than you, or anyone, could ever know, for the final time I say goodbye.

I don’t want you in my life anymore. I deserve more than you. I deserve life, and loving kindness and compassion, which you can never give me. I’m building that relationship with myself, so please don’t try to break it. If you do, I will fight, and I will win.

Yours for never more.