Guest Submission: You Save Yourself

Jen had contacted me last year and after I responded, she wrote the following journal entry to herself. With only a few edits to provide a bit more anonymity and some paragraph breaks, here was her message to herself (warning: I have kept in the expletives, because they are integral as far as I’m concerned):

Brian Barnett:
Brian Barnett:

Please note if you are in a bad space in your own recovery process you may find parts of this submission upsetting.

“What you need to do is eat. From the bottom of your heart you know this. You need to eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.

You cannot spend your whole life like this. You can’t, you just can’t.  It will be torture. You will be on your deathbed and look back and think ‘what a waste’, what a waste of a fucking life. 

Yes, I have no doubt you will be successful— you will have a good job, money, you will run for President and you may win— but you will be an empty soul. A shell. A shell of nothing.

You will strive and strive for success, but you will not enjoy any of it, not even for a day— because you will be so utterly consumed by what you weigh, how big your stomach is, how huge your thighs are, and you will look at every girl on the street and compare and be that judgmental person you despise so much. This needs to stop. This fucking messed up crap in your HEAD needs to stop.

You need to eat. Eat. Eat. Eat.

Yes, you are a normal size, yes you have fat on your body— but you need to goddam eat. You need to accept your body. You have to learn that having a smaller body, might make you a bit happier, but the trade off is that you will not be able to eat—you will be shell.

Do you hear me? A shell. 

Do you want to spend your whole life running away from mirrors or any pictures, scared to death that you might actually catch a glimpse of your face and body? What type of life is that? This messed up tortured game needs to stop. 

All I want is silence, ignorance, silence— anything. Silence from my mind, the worst enemy I have ever known. 

I know the other day you thought:

“What would be the best way to end this journey?”

…and you answered:

“Pills or cutting your wrists”.

This coming from the girl who once simply could not get enough of the world.

Who ran to high school everyday early, as you simply couldn’t get enough of it.  Who cried at 19 on an amazing trip, simply because you were so excited about the world, your life and what it could bring.

This girl? This girl? How the fuck did this happen?

But this is it. You need to move on. I need to move on.

Not to death, but to life.

This needs to happen. It has to.

I want to travel the world and cry again about the possibilities that it could bring. I want a great career, to be president and to use my mind for good.

I want to have children who I love, and teach them to love life too. I want to have a husband who I love also, and we will have great conversations together, grow old together, and eat cheese and wine by a fire—and not care about the fucking, goddam calories.

This needs to stop. Not needs to, has to. I am done. I am so done. I need to eat. I know that is the solution.

Eat. Accept. Eat. Accept. I need to eat.”

Jen took the leap and has spent the last year crawling her way through recovery from a physically and emotionally desperate state. As she said herself: “The last year of recovery has been absolute hell.”

But she adds: “I feel I am edging towards freedom. The fact that I actually laughed out loud the other day is shocking to me. It was such a joy to catch myself laughing. Also, I have just booked a holiday to travel in the summer. I have always loved travel, but for 7 years I have been terrified to go, because I have been so utterly chained to my eating disorder.”

She is not in remission as yet. She has a ways to go, but she has come a long way too. To Jen and all of you slogging through, namasté.