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Eating Disorder Recovery: A Letter From My Body

I run non-stop. My heart never stops pumping blood. Ever. I would die if it did. Which bring me to what I ultimately want to talk to you about today: I was dying. And will die if you do not fuel me and listen to me. This is not a threat, this is a warning from someone whose sole purpose is to give you a way to live your life. I WANT YOU TO LIVE, JENNA! But you have to want it too. I can’t keep us alive on sheer will power alone. We have to be a team.

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Dear Jenna,

Hey. It’s me. Your body. I lead a pretty confusing life these days. You know how you struggle with feelings of instability and a lack of safety? I am fraught with the same alarming feelings. I don’t understand. I keep trying and trying to run properly so that you can live your life (and even do what you love), but I really can’t without fuel. You are the only one that can help me. You are the only one that can take care of me. Other people keep trying to help me, but for some reason you refuse their help and deny me what I so desperately need. Please help me. Please.

The confusion I mentioned does not stop there. You see, you feed me and eventually I am able to breathe. “Maybe we are in the clear” I think, beginning to get comfortable and let down some of my protective walls, believing that the straight zone is straight ahead. And then BAM!!! Out of nowhere: No Fuel. I get really scared when that happens, not knowing the next time fuel will arrive. I begin shutting down the systems you need the least, to protect us and to keep us alive. I try to send you warning signals- dizziness, headaches, body weakness, irritability, fatigue… anything to get your attention. In these moments I am screaming at you, “HEY!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!!” But Jenna, you deny me. You hear me, you see me, but you refuse to validate me and instead reject my needs. Because of these things, I honestly do not trust you. Do not mistake the previous statement as me not wanting to trust you, as I feel quite the opposite. I do want to trust you- so badly! But you have to understand that you do not have a good track record when it comes to taking care of my needs, looking out for my well-being, or listening to my signals. I know that you think that you are “strong enough” to handle restriction, but Jenna, have you ever stopped to ask yourself if I can handle restriction? I am now here to answer that question, whether you are asking or not. My response is: No, I cannot handle restriction and furthermore- I wasn’t made to. This is not about being “strong”. Jenna, YOUR ABILITY TO RESTRICT DOES NOT PROVE MY STRENGTH.

I have a lot of different jobs. AKA: I do a hella lot for you. I am constantly working. I need you to treat me in a way that shows me that you are aware of this. Furthermore, I need you to acknowledge that: I HAVE NEEDS! Jenna- I need fuel. It is not losing self control to eat- it is giving me thing that I absolutely need. It is non-negotiable. Do you know what this means? You do not have to feel guilty for fueling me anymore- It. Is. Not. A. Weakness. You are giving me what I need. You see, I can do all of these incredible things for you- the “trade” is fuel. I’m going to be cliché for a second: A car is not weak because it needs gas to run. Once it runs out of gas, it runs out, which causes it to stop. When that happens, no one is like “Damn! My car just isn’t strong enough to run without fuel. It is so weak! It is non-negotiable, if you want to drive, you fill your car with gas. This is how I need you I need YOU to look at food for now- you don’t have to like eating, but I need you to look at it as something that just needs to happen.

Jenna, because of our trauma, I get very protective of you sometimes. In these situations, I feel like we are in the same situation you were in before, which makes me feel very unsafe. I need you to remind me in these moments that what is being triggered is not making me unsafe in the present and instead tell me that I am safe. I want you to really think on this: When I send signals telling you to stop exercising and moving, it is for a reason. I wouldn’t send those signals unless I really needed you to stop. It does not make me stronger, it makes me weaker. I am trying hard to keep our systems running lady, I need you to listen to me. And this whole thing about “looking strong” over being strong: It’d bullshit! It cannot happen. If you fuel me and do not over exercise, we can be strong- inside and out. Can you do that for me?

Now for some girl talk: Jenna, not having a period does not validate that you are skinny enough. Quite the opposite, actually. Not having your period is the red flag I desperately waving to show you that something is not right. I know you don’t want to have children, and that is a-ok with me. I have been through a lot already ;) But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to continue your cycle. We actually need our cycle to keep my reproductive organs running properly.

Jenna, when you do not fuel me and treat me properly, I suffer. I am not joking or being dramatic. I am fucking serious right now. I have to stop helping any of my systems that are not crucial to your survival, and even then, I am struggling. Jenna, I am so tired. I am not able to fight off infections to keep you healthy and able to live a life you enjoy. My immune system is currently jack. When even the slightest illness hits, it takes such a tole on me. Here is a list of the things I am going through: my hear is shrinking, my blood pressure is low, I have poor circulation, I am loosing hormones, my development has been halted, my muscles are damaged, I have weaker teeth/bones, slowed healing, heartbeat irregularities, low blood counts, increased risk of physical injury, inability to learn, loss of memory, loss of concentration, fatigue, electrolytes are negatively affected, and headaches. On top of this, I am literally “eating” my own muscles to stay alive. This it too much shit to deal with Jenna. I run non-stop. My heart never stops pumping blood. Ever. I would die if it did. Which bring me to what I ultimately want to talk to you about today: I was dying. And will die if you do not fuel me and listen to me. This is not a threat, this is a warning from someone whose sole purpose is to give you a way to live your life. I WANT YOU TO LIVE, JENNA! But you have to want it too. I can’t keep us alive on sheer will power alone. We have to be a team. I promise to continue to fight my best fight, but I need you to do some things for me:

1.) Fuel me (You cannot restrict. I know that a pit dropped in your stomach just reading “I cannot restrict”, but it hurts my ability to function both short term and long term.

2.) Make sure I get enough water

3.) Listen to me- If I feel really tired, don’t make me workout. If I want to move (w/ healthy intentions on your part), Let’s get our move on!

Please think on this. It is something to be taken lightly!

Your body

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