My frustration with Instagram led me to set up an alternative account as L’s mum to expose some of the lies and duplicity on social media, so today I posted this message to her along with the picture.
To my darling L, as you go back as an inpatient today, you face two fights and you have to choose one or the other. The first one is the fight you have with every person trying to treat you. You can carry on fighting every mouthful or every crumb, choosing fruit over crumble for dessert, choosing the lowest snack, trying to find every chance to avoid and restrict or purge. Winning this fight will give you the right to stay in this hell forever, losing the people who love you, but keeping Ed, who hates you. Your legs will stay thin, but they will never be thin enough.
Or, you can choose to fight your eating disorder. Choosing this fight will be so, so hard, but think of it like swimming across the sea towards everyone who loves you, because right now we feel a long way away. We will cheer you for every stroke, we will jump in the water with you and swim along side, we will roar at the sea monster voices that tell you how weak you are, how huge and disgusting and we will shout over them, telling you how brave, strong and beautiful you are. Again and again you will feel like giving up and we will beg you to keep going. We will love you and support you with every fibre of our beings but we cannot make the journey for you. Once you get to the shore, we will be there. We will celebrate you and keep you warm and we will tell you how wonderful you are. But we can only do this if you keep swimming. Just keep swimming, my love, because you have been lost in the ocean for so long, bobbing between anorexia and an illusion of recovery. You are strong enough, brave enough and loved more than you can ever imagine.
I hope she reads it, but I also hope others do, those who are posting pictures of their ‘safe’ clean foods, not realising the only safety they offer is the continuation of the prison bars of anorexia and every time they restrict or purge, they are choosing a life of torment, or allowing their eating disorder to choose it for them. These are tough words, but sometimes love needs to be tough, because being gentle just isn’t enough.