A Letter to The Friend Who Stayed By Me in Recovery

To the friend who stayed with me through my eating disorder,

Thank you so much for being by my side in this deep valley. You cried with me, listened to me, and sat with me silently through the rough nights.

But most importantly you fought for me and loved me even in my flaws. Thank you for being a part of my recovery story.

Sweet friend, thank you for encouraging me and building me up. Thank you for pushing me to get professional help and to seek guidance.

And thank you for those nights when you would just sit quietly with me on my bed. Even though you didn’t know what to say, you sat with me in my pain and showed me you cared. Your presence spoke volumes.

Thank you for checking in on me and encouraging to eat the dang piece of chicken. Thanks for your honesty in telling me what I needed to hear, even when it was hard.

You reminded me that fighting for my life back was what I really wanted.

You, friend, taught me what it looks like to come alongside someone and pour into them without giving up hope.

Growing up I had a lot of good friends, but when I transferred schools and moved a few times, people gradually stopped reaching out and being there for me. I remember praying that one day I would get a best friend who cared about me, even in my flaws.

Little did I know that years later I would meet you in college. I’m so thankful, for your consistency, compassion, and grace as we struggled through the ups and downs and joys and sorrows that came along with my eating disorder.

Thanks for visiting me when I had to leave college. Thanks for showing that you cared even though I was no longer with you at college.

Most importantly – thank you for not forgetting about me.

In the midst of my eating disorder, I became short, rude and depressed. I did not have the energy to explain or talk to people because I would get light headed. All my thoughts were selfish and food focused.

My eating disorder had captured me. I became a person I no longer liked.

My friends slowly began to distance themselves and over time I realized that I had stopped putting effort into my friendships. It wasn’t their fault, it was mine.

I cared so much about restricting food and exercising that I had lost a huge part of myself and my community. I had no one except my workouts, my eating disorder and you.

Although I tried not to, I got made at you sometimes. I got mad at you for trying to force me to eat. When I wanted you to tell me I would be fine, you told me the truth – that I needed help.

You encouraged me to go to the cafeteria with you and never once stopped being my friend even when I no longer became the friend I once was. Even when I was at my worst and unable to go into the cafeteria, you went and brought me back food and put it in my fridge just in case I decided I wanted it.

above: Madi used to send this picture to me to remind me of the joy I would have when I was recovered.

Thank you for showing me grace.

As I am on the other side of recovery now, I am in awe of the way I treated you. I am so sorry for being sharp and rude to you.

I wanted to be your best friend, but was captured by my this ugly disorder. It paralyzed me.

But no matter – you tried. You didn’t give up.

When I moved back home I accepted that you’d probably move on and get a new best friend just like all my other friends before. But instead, you called me, texted me and sent me pictures to keep me updated on what was happening with all our friends. Even when I didn’t reply because I was overwhelmed with depression and treatment, you never stopped showing me that you weren’t giving up on me.

Madi, you are a beautiful friend. Thank you for understanding and forgiving me when I was mean in the thick of my eating disorder. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me at that time. But I am so thankful you were there for me.

Since recovery, I have been able to realize how great of a friend you really are. I am so thankful for you pushing me to seek treatment and offering to go with me. I am so thankful for your grace. I can’t imagine going through recovery without you.

Love,

Danielle