Skip to Content

A Love Letter to My Patients in Early Recovery from Anorexia

You recently accused me of wanting you to be fat. Here's what I've been thinking. . . . Long after we part ways, I'll remember the sound of your voice, the tender and emotional moments we shared, those times we burst out laughing together. I'll have little memory of what you weighed.

I have no investment in wanting you, according to your eating disorder, to be fat. What I care about is your brain, that it's nourished sufficiently for you to think clearly and be yourself again. I'd like to see you return to the you you were before this ugly illness hijacked your anatomy and convinced you to accept this as your new normal.

I want you to be healthy - yes, I know you hate this word - but, I do. I want you to be able to swim in the ocean, sit comfortably in class, breathe in the mountain air, sleep like a baby, and have a baby (if you're a woman and that's what you want).

I want your bones to be strong enough to remain fracture-free, to support you on the dance floor and through old age. Hopefully, you'll live long and hard in recovery.

I want your hair to return to its previous fullness and luster.

I want your organs to function efficiently, as if to shout, for example, "This is what it looks like to be a working kidney!"

I want your heart to beat at a normal rate and rhythm. I want your most precious muscle to be stable and strong.

I want you to experience less depression and anxiety, for you to rest comfortably through the night, and for those frightening suicidal thoughts, that never plagued you before, to fade into the darkness.

I want you to feel energized, strong, and capable.

You're so immersed in this illness that you don't think anything's wrong. But there is. And I know that the core you, the real you, is terrified and pleading for help,

I don't want you to be fat. I just want you, in multiple definitions of the word, to live.