“Dear Mom”: What Your Daughter With an Eating Disorder Needs You to Know

Dear Mom,

I am so sorry for causing you pain and fear. I hate seeing you cry. The worst part of it is knowing that I’ve caused your tears.

If you get anything out of this letter, hear this: it’s not your fault.

I promise you it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything to make this happen.

You truly are the best mom, filled with love, patience, and compassion. You’ve endlessly poured into me. Since I was a child, I’ve always known you loved me- without a doubt.

I never doubted your love. And I never will.

I don’t know why I am sick with this disorder, but I want you to know that it is not your fault. I know that you blame yourself, but please stop.

It hurts me so deeply to know that you think yourself as a failure. You’re not. I wish I could show you how much I love you.

I want to recover so badly and to see you smile again. I want to laugh and hike with you. But right now, I’m in a battle, the biggest battle of my life. For my life.

I feel like every part of my being is trying to fight this illness, yet I still feel defeated. I don’t know how to fight this- but I want too. I want to so badly and I will find a way to defeat this.

Thank you for loving me and for being with me in this season in my life.

The best thing you can do right now is to reassure me that you support me and will be with me. I don’t need you to “fix me” or try to get me to eat, I simply need you to be with me.

This might mean that you simply sit with me on the couch and watch tv, or it might mean that you come with me to doctors appointments.

I just feel isolated and alone right now. I just need you. Mom, I need you.

No, I don’t need advice or reminders to eat, I just need to feel your love around me and reassurance that you believe in me. Because if I’m being honest, I don’t know if how much longer I can fight this.

My heart is heavy. I hate analyzing everything I eat. I hate that you can’t look me in the eyes without tearing up.

I’m so sorry that every time you look at me all you see is my withered body and shrunken arms and legs.

Ever since I was a little girl, I desired to make you proud. But somehow I ended up here. I went through seasons of denial, anger, shame and overwhelming guilt- but now I am over all of it.

I just want to get better. I want the tears to cease and I want our family to be made whole again.

I’m sorry I cause strain and fear for the whole family. I’m sorry that you had to give me more attention than the other siblings. I promise I didn’t do it for attention. I’m not doing it to get recognized or to be noticed.

Trust me, I am ashamed and humiliated that I struggle so much with food. I can’t wait until the day this is all over, and all that’s left of this time is a faint memory.

I have a lot of things to fix as I recover and regain my life. But before I do anything and before anything else happens- I just need you to know that none of this is your fault and I’m so sorry that I have caused you so much pain and fear.

Love you,

Your daughter battling anorexia

Image: @helenaperezgarcia

1 Comment

  • Danielle,
    This is such a lovely letter, but it is not your fault, either. Your mom cries because she loves you, but you are not doing this to her. Anorexia is a mental illness, not a choice. You have nothing to be ashamed about. Do not give up your battle. You can and will recover. You deserve recovery.

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