An open letter to myself during an eating disorder relapse

Dear me,

I know you are struggling a lot right now. Your eating disorder is putting up a fight and its sick thoughts are creeping in your head again. But I have bad news for your illness: you are fighting back. You are not backing down. You are your own shield, baby girl. That’s where all of your relapses have led you to. Every battle you’ve felt like you were losing has made you stronger. And look where you are now — you’re strong enough to stand up on your own even though your legs are shaking. You’re brave enough to not look away and acknowledge the moment for what it is. This is a relapse, just that. You won’t lose your badges just because of a setback. You are still a recovery warrior, darling. Do not give up on that. There so many wonderful things that you know about yourself that you’ve forgotten the past few days. Let me remind you:

You are beautiful.
You deserve to eat.
You NEED to eat to thrive, not just survive.
Exercising is meant to be fun and to make you stronger; if that’s not what it’s doing for you, it’s okay to skip it.
You do NOT need to shrink. If anything, this world needs more of you in it.
Who you are truly has nothing to do with how you look.
You have enough light within to drive out the darkness. Take a deep breath and let it shine. You’ll be okay.
You inspire people with your recovery. I could tell you to not let them down but what matters is that you don’t let YOURSELF down first. You deserve your peace of mind and self-love.
You hate this dark cold place. Get out of here, and don’t look back.
Your body is magnificent.
I love you.

Here we go, baby girl. See how far you’ve come? You are such a recovery badass that your illness doesn’t control you anymore. It certainly still affects you, though, and that sucks. A lot. And it hurts. And it’s scary. It’s as if you were enjoying a nice swim in the pool only to look around and discover that you are, in fact, surrounded by the ocean. Where’s my life vest, you ask ? The good news is you don’t need it anymore. It feels like you might drown, I know. You won’t. You are going to reach the shore, and when you do, I’ll be there to hold you close.

It’s strange how you can write yourself a letter, but sometimes, you’re the only one who can save yourself. It’s what you needed to do. By writing a few sentences on a piece of paper you have brought back the infinite trust you have in yourself. Hold on tight. Embrace it. It’s not going anywhere. Your eating disorder, though? I’ve already packed its bags. Let’s enjoy the farewell party.

Dance, baby girl. Freedom has never looked so good on you. Make the world spin and reach for the stars. You deserve it all. If you sometimes lose sight of them, come back to me. Read this letter again. I’ll show you the way. I’ve got your back.

Love always,

Charlie is a French unicorn who’s trying really hard to change the world. She smiles to strangers, makes the best hummus and is very good at giving pep-talks. After a year in Boston, she’ll be back in Paris to start her master’s degree in International Development next September. (Most of the time she is WAY TOO ENTHUSIASTIC about life but that’s okay!)

You can find her on Instagram or read a bit of what she writes in both French in English here.

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