Regrettably, Our friend Ana



 Allow me to introduce myself. My name, or as I am called by so called "doctors", is Anorexia. Anorexia Nervosa is my full name, but you may call me Ana. Hopefully we can become great partners. In the coming time, I will invest a lot of time in you, and I expect the same from you.
In the past you have heard all of your teachers and parents talk about you. You are "so mature", "intelligent", "14 going on 45", and you possess "so much potential". Where has that gotten you, may I ask? Absolutely nowhere! You are not perfect, you do not try hard enough, further more you waste your time on thinking and talking with friends and drawing! Such acts of indulgence shall not be allowed in the future.

Your friends do not understand you. They are not truthful. In the past, when the insecurity has quietly gnawed away at your mind, and you asked them, "Do I look...fat?" and they answered "Oh no, of course not" you knew they were lying! Only I tell you the truth. Your parents, let's not even go there! You know that they love you, and care for you, but part of that is just that they are your parents and are obligated to do so. I shall tell you a secret now: deep down inside themselves, they are disappointed with you. Their daughter, the one with so much potential, has turned into a fat, lazy, and undeserving girl.

But I am about to change all that.

I expect a lot from you. You are not allowed to eat much. It will start slowly: decreasing of fat intake, reading the nutrition labels, cutting out junk food, fried food, etc. For a while, the exercise will be simple: some running, perhaps some crunches and some sit-ups. Nothing too serious. Perhaps drop a few pounds, take a little off of that fat tub of a stomach. But it won't be long before I tell you that it isn't good enough.

I will expect you to drop your calorie intake and up your exercise. I will push you to the limit. You must take it because you cannot defy me! I am beginning to imbed myself into you. Pretty soon, I am with you always. I am there when you wake up in the morning and run to the scale. The numbers become both friend and enemy, and the frenzied thoughts pray for them to be lower than yesterday, last night, etc. You look into the mirror with dismay. You prod and poke at the fat that is there, and smile when you come across bone. I am there when you figure out the plan for the day: 400 calories, 2 hours exercise. I am the one figuring this out, because by now my thoughts and your thoughts are blurring together as one.

I follow you throughout the day. In school, when your mind wanders I give you something to think about. Recount your calories for the day. It's too much. I fill your mind with thoughts of food, weight, calories, and things that are safe to think about. Because now, I am already inside of you. I am in your head, your heart, and your soul. The hunger pains you pretend not to feel is me, inside of you.

Pretty soon I am telling you not only what to do with food, but what to do ALL of the time. Smile and nod. Present yourself well. Suck in that fat stomach, dammit! God, you are such a fat cow!!! When mealtimes come around I tell you what to do. I make a plate of lettuce seem like a feast fit for a king. Push the food around. Make it look like you've eaten something. No piece of anything... if you eat, all the control will be you WANT that?? To revert back to the fat COW you once were?? I force you to stare at magazine models. Those perfect skinned, white teethed, waifish models of perfection staring out at you from those glossy pages. I make you realize that you could never be them. You will always be fat and never will you be as beautiful as they are. When you look in the mirror, I will distort the image. I will show you obesity and hideousness. I will show you a sumo wrestler where in reality there is a starving child. But you must know this, because if you knew the truth, you might start to eat again and our relationship would come crashing down.

Sometimes you will rebel. Hopefully not often though. You will recognize the small rebellious fiber left in your body and will venture down to the dark kitchen. The cupboard door will open slowly open, creaking softly. Your eyes will move over the food cupboard door will slowly open, creaking softly. Your eyes will move over the food that I have kept at a safe distance from you. You will find your hands reaching out lethargically, like a nightmare, through the darkness to the box of crackers. You shove them in, mechanically, not really tasting but simply relishing in the fact that you are going against me. You reach for another box, then another, then another. Your stomach will become bloated and grotesque, but you will not stop yet. And all the time I am screaming at you to stop, you fat cow, you really have no self-control, you are going to get fat.

When it is over, you will cling to me again, ask me for advice because you really do not want to get fat. You broke a cardinal rule and ate, and now you want me back. I'll force you into the bathroom, onto your knees, staring into the void of the toilet bowl. Your fingers will be inserted into your throat, and, not without a great deal of pain, your food binge will come up. Over and over this is to be repeated, until you spit up blood and water and you know it is all gone. When you stand up, you will feel dizzy. Don't pass out. Stand up right now. You fat cow you deserve to be in pain!

Maybe the choice of getting rid of the guilt is different. Maybe I chose to make you take laxatives, where you sit on the toilet until the wee hours of the morning, feeling your insides cringe. Or perhaps I just make you hurt yourself, bang your head into the wall until you receive a throbbing headache. Cutting is also effective. I want you to see your blood, to see it fall down your arm, and in that split second you will realize you deserve whatever pain I give you. You are depressed, obsessed, in pain, hurting, reaching out but no one will listen! Who cares?! You are deserving; you brought this upon yourself.

Oh, is this harsh? Do you not want this to happen to you? Am I unfair? I do do things that will help you. I make it possible for you to stop thinking of emotions that cause you stress. Thoughts of anger, sadness, desperation, and loneliness can cease because I take them away and fill your head with the methodic calorie counting. I take away your struggle to fit in with kids your age, the struggle of trying to please everyone as well. Because now, I am your only friend, and I am the only one you need to please.

I have a weak spot. But we must not tell anyone. If you decide to fight back, to reach out to someone and tell them about how I make you live, all hell will break lose. No one must find out, no one can crack this shell that I have covered you with. I have created you, this thin, perfect, achieving child. You are mine and mine alone. Without me, you are nothing. So do not fight back. When others comment, ignore them. Take it into stride, forget about them, forget about everyone that tries to take me away. I am your greatest asset, and I intend to keep it that way.

Sincerely, Ana


I can't seem to find the origin of this letter. I was given it by a nurse when my emaciated body was checked in to start my recovery in a hospital full of trained professionals who were kind and selfless. I have been in recovery for four years, but like anyone who has been gripped by anorexia, I too slip sometimes. I hope this letter is able to help somebody else out there too and for those who simply cannot understand, I ask for blind compassion. Living with an eating disorder is painful and difficult, we do not need your judgement and disgust, we have enough of that for ourselves through Ana to last a life time.  


takethesebrokenwings takethesebrokenwings
22-25, F
18 Responses Oct 20, 2009

A while ago, I saw that letter from Ana. It got really into me. Like REALLY into me. I did everything she said, I still do. In recover right now, but everytime I read that stupid letter all over again, I fall straight back down.

Thanks so much for posting this. Reading it was scary. Like reading something I had written and forgot about, it's exactly how I feel. I have a bmi of 14 and think I'm fat? I could never explain it to my friends and family but I'm going to show them this letter and think it will help greatly. I hope you full recove. I'm getting there but very slowly. Still more bad days than good, but it is decreasing and I have days of no exercies and good meal without guilt so just keep going:) One day at a time till that bloody Ana will just shut up :)

That was my story before!! The binging-purging part was the worst... I'm really happy I've been able to overcome it. Its a daily battle but I know I'm strong enough to overcome it. I'm really happy that U've been able to stand alone without ana's dictation. Big Huh :) Never give up

It's sad to say but if I stop eating I either stay the same or gain which sucks!!! Sometimes I wish I could experience anorexia long enough to reach my goal weight. But I'm sure it doesn't work that way since mentally most who suffer from this can't tell when too much weight loss is happening.

amazing... hit me right where it needed to hit...

I know exactly how u feel it all started with 1 dream, to be thin. hate those ****** evil ******** who put out false images and unachievable body images they ****** up my life. Thank you dear ana and the media

the fact you are writing about this ,shows you know what is wrong,people can comment ,but only you can change it,you are only a young girl ,with a long life to look to,but life can not make you do anything ,only you can.

This was written incredibly well...i think this should be published...people need to know what this is...where it comes from and what a heart-wrenching disease it is for everyone involved. To put an actual voice to this...truly amazing...thank you so much for posting this.

Beautifully written and so true. I have an eating disorder, too. It crept up on me, unaware, like a python I thought was my friend until I realized it was on and in me and crushing me, taking my life, sucking me dry in every way--mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually--I was going down like in quicksand, the further you're in the harder it sucks. I finally cried out . I wanted out, I wanted to live. A gentle, strong hand came down and took mine, a spirit of peace filled me and I knew I was loved and safe even though I was still in the quicksand. "Pull me out, now," I prayed. "You have to pull, too," it whispered. "I don't know how," I cried. Then people appeared around me. Some were free, some were getting unstuck. They heard me and nodded their heads, they knew what I was feeling and what I wanted and what I needed. They also held my hand and told me how to get unstuck--12 simple steps. Simple, but not easy. It took working them every day, telling them my truth, and they never laughed or criticized, they just listened and understood and loved me, some even cried with me, sometimes we laughed at ourselves but never each other, and they just kept saying, "It works if you work it, one day at a time, one minute at a time, and don't let go of that first Hand and don't let go of ours..." Soon I stopped noticing the quicksand and kept working the steps and the next thing I knew I was free! But I had to keep hanging onto the Hand and taking the hands of newcomers because there were so many of us in the quicksand, and the more I pulled on them the higher and freer I got..and my life became great even though my circumstances and other people stayed the same but I was different--I was whole and happy and now my life has purpose and joy."<br />
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My heart is with you and hoping you will one day cry out and reach out and take the Hand and hands that are waiting to free you to become the safe, real you that you were intended to be--"happy, joyous, and free". Love and hugs.<br />
<br />
from a 12steppingcompulsiveeater

i had 3 letters from anorexia..the one was similar to this..i kept it n kept it n kept it for so long. once i threw them away.time passed n then i re-wrote them.......till recently again that threw them away in my anger n disappointment n thats forever,i wont rewrite them...coz those letters were keepin me near her ..

Thank you for your compassion and support. <br />
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I felt alot of Emotions throught reading This, ~Im Speachless. I have self esteem issues but you deal with a bigger problem everyday. I usually don't say this but, I wan't to give you a BIG hug :).

finally i've reached a point again in my life where ana does not consume all of my thoughts, time, and energy. although, she is always there. its a daily struggle but today i choose to stand alone without ana's dictation. thank you for kindness, understanding and support.<br />
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This is beautiful, sad, and truthful. I hope you are out of reach of Ana's clutches now. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out.<br />
<br />
Clem x

Thank you for posting this letter. It reminds me of myself, except that I haven't lost my friends, and I am beggining to recover. thanks for sharing your personal story with every one, too. And "Mawna" should just shut up because she/he obviously didn't read the part that said you were in recovery. Don't worry, because I know that if I can start recovery, any one can. You have really inspired me, and I hope that you can recover as fully as it is possible to recover one day soon.

while you are emotionally grappling with your plight, there are small changes you can make day to day, that are not as hard on your body. Like if you feel driven to take a laxative, try the natural versions instead. (like Senna Tea.. you get it at Asian grocery stores, and sometimes marketed as Ballerina tea). Or goto GNC, and opt for their Invifiber alternative, which is gentle on your body, and does do any lasting damage like laxatives do, (laxatives take the ability for your body to regulate your bowels away)<br />
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I did these small steps, until I was able to make healthy food choices, as I was learning to love my body . <br />
<br />
doing yoga, is a very good way to stay or get connected with your body, and helps you feel comfortable in your own skin. <br />
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just do little things each day. Dont worry about your addiction right now, as that can be very over whelming. focus on 5 minutes at a time, and then go for 10 minutes, and then 15 minutes, and eventually your addiction will shift. <br />
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After all, I know with me, I was not anorexic over night. It was something that slowly consumed me over the years, like a quiet sort of seduction, until it consumed me. You can swing things back in the other direction, eventually. <br />
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Just out of curiosity, what is like to be hospitalized for anorexia? How in the world are the doctors are able to shock someone into eating, since the whole ordeal is a mental affliction. ? I always wondered how that worked. For me, it was a 30 year trek to hell to get me out. no one could get me out of it but myself, but then again, my mother was the one continually pushing me back down the dark hole.

Regrettably, I understand where you are coming from. there is always more, better, etc.. when we reach our milestones, we dont stop to celebrate, but to get the OK, to reach for even MORE extremes. <br />
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You are incredibly strong.. And some day, you will see yourself for the strength of character that you possess, because it takes this strong will, that you possess to be happy. <br />
<br />
I am 40 years old now, and finally beat anorexia after 30 years of doing EXACTLY what you are doing, and I am here to tell you, that you are definitely a winner, someone to contend with. But you do not know that, at least not yet. When I was in my twenties, I was unaware of my power too, and instead, I turned that power against myself. <br />
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You are actually using your inner powers against yourself to the point of imbalance. Some day, you will channel your energies into something else, and whomever your contender is at that point, god help THEM, because more than likely, you will be fierce competition.

YOUR organs are SCREAMING at you to help them! YOUR brain is SCREAMING at you also, YOU can hear her. YOUR muscle are SCREAMING for some kind of REAL vitamins and minerals. <br />
NO don't pay attention to any of us out here after you have posted a plea for understanding and help. And YOU know that we can not touch you, as we are in cyber space. So you and your little demon friend are safe from us. BUT you ARE NOT safe for your own self. And YOU know this, nor would you have posted this for us to read and know you are in pain and hurting. SEEK help from someone you trust in real life. OR you KNOW what lies just down the road for you, don't you?