Dear Long Lost Friend

I know you may never hear these words spoken to you, but I would wish you could listen to me and what I have to say.

I remember the day I met you, and will always remember your bright, auburn (as you liked it described) hair. I moved into your maths class, and sat next to you, because, like me, you had no friends in the class. We shared a lot of similarities.

As the years grew we spend many days in each other’s company. You taught me a few chords on the piano, and the joys of music, as I shared a few interesting facts about other artists from the painting world. We spent many birthday’s together and gleefully went through supporting each other through the years of GCSEs in years 10 and 11.

I listened to you when you rang for a rant, and supported you when you cried and when our other “friends” did nothing but asked me to see you. You always said I’m here for you whenever you need me. You were the only one who knew that something was wrong without asking. But little could I tell you of my struggles with coping healthily with life and of my self destructive side (which involved cutting myself, and later turned into starvation). Why? Because of fear, shame, and a feeling that I was already too much of a burden on the world.

You moved school to start Sixth Form elsewhere, and I deeply missed your absence, but you heard of the rumours of my noticeable weight loss nonetheless. I remember writing to you on Facebook, in March 2009, after I had entered treatment (which was, precisely, on the 13th March 2009, on an emergency basis). I remember explaining to you (and to another friend or so) that I had developed anorexia, and that this was not a vanity issue, but a deep-seated psychological issue. I thought you might understand: you have a great capacity to listen, your mum is a GP and you mentioned your anorexic cousin. What aspects of the illness you did and did not understand I shall never know.

I remember you asking me to come round to yours for dinner. I was eating a normal sized meal on my meal plan by this time, but the prospect of me eating seemed to frightened you. This was also evident when, previously, you questioned whether I’d be okay to enter the local groceries at Sainsbury’s with you (just because I look emaciated did not mean I would absolutely freak out on your in the shop, the worst case scenario is surely that I would simply leave). Or when you asked for permission to eat in front of me. Or when you questioned me, in Spanish, in the waiting room of your mum’s surgery, whether or not I was bulimic too. You did show great concern, and I am sure you were. But in future, take a word of my advise, and ask is what can I do to help? what am I doing that isn’t helping? instead to treating on egg-shells.

After a while our friendship got weaker and weaker. My life began to crumble as my other “friends” refused to visit me in the school library (I was too ill to walk to see them), or when they purposely told me there was no work to copy up before a test which was due, or when they said, point-blanc told me that I cannot work with them in biology. I did not care if they treated me as such, for I shall most likely not cross their path again.

I remember the day I was hospitalised for anorexia. I wanted to tell you how scared I was that I might die, for the very first time, but our ties were too weak and hence my mouth was sealed.

You gave me a card for my 18th birthday, and said you had the present with you. We should meet up. You live 15 minutes away from me, why did you not visit me? Why did you not drop it off on my doorstep if I was out? I would have, and have done so in the past. We never did meet, as much as the hope, painfully dwindling, still remains to this very day.

And then I had the ordeal with my shoulder, a chronic problem for me. The excruciating pain tore through me, only to be numbed by hallucinogenic drugs. I was a bag full of fear. My status on Facebook was updated frequently– did you read it? I wanted you to be there for my during my operation, my first ever surgery. But you couldn’t, for whatever reason. Maybe you had moved on with you life since then. Maybe you had forgotten about me. Maybe you did care but didn’t realise I was having surgery. Maybe things were going on in your life which made it difficult to stay in touch with me. Maybe.

Perhaps I shut the door on our relationship. No, it wasn’t me, it was anorexia. It was the anorexia which took away my time that would have been spent keeping in contact with you. But the thing is, I wish you could have perhaps tried to open the door, for it was, and still remains, unlocked. Or maybe I was just too blind to see your attempts. I shall never know. But I wish you would have tried once more, just one more time.

I was told my chances of living were worse then certain types of cancer. Anorexia is a lucrative illness, shrouded in myths and mysteries, not least because it is the few obvious mental illnesses of the mind which bear such obvious outward signs and is plastered in the media. We live in a society where we fear the sick; few people mention the word “anorexia”, just as some refuse to call cancer by it’s name too (“the big C”). Why do the names of serious illnesses bear so much fear? Is it fear? I have heard of people with terminal cancer, who, once so popular, received few visitors whilst they wait to die in hospital. I was too sick to engage with the world, but the world did not try to talk to me . And worse, some people tried to hurt me and turn against me. Indeed, some parents thought I was a contagion and do not even say “hello” to me to this very day. I wonder if it is the fact that we fear seeing the illness in ourselves. Teachers have told me they did not expect me to become ill. I think, as a whole, we worry that, in seeing the reflection of ourselves in the eyes of someone who is so ill, we are confronted by the fact that we are all so fallible and at mercy of fate; we are just human.

And so, I wish to tell you that I will remember the good times we spent together and cherish the positive memories. But I will also mention that is is time for me to let go and move on to new relationships and onto a new life. I do bear some resentment, in all honestly towards you. I hope you see that from my point of view; when I needed someone, there was no one. I feel all you needed to do was to open the door handle just a tiny bit more. I know you did worry but simply did not know how to voice your concern. At least that is what I would like to believe. I wish I could say this to you in person. I wish I could tell you my journey and share with you what I have learned. It is time for me to let go and stop dreaming of us becoming close friends again. We reached that fork in the road a long time ago and I need to accept that.

I hope someday you will read this, that I will be able to give this to you somehow. I’m not strong enough to do that just yet, and so, this letter shall lie dormant until that time will come, if it ever does.

Best wishes in your journey in life,

D

19th July 2010.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Telling friends about my Eating Disorder « Against Anorexia

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