"I have been reading all of the stories of all the beautiful people on your blog. I don't expect my story is as heart-breaking or even as recovery inspiring as theirs. I don't even know why I’m writing to you. I guess I just need to write it down. Even if it just gets lost in someone's email inbox.
Writing this is the only way my story would ever get told. I don't talk to anyone, I have lots of people that love me and would listen but when I try and talk my throat closes up and I feel a deep sickness. Even writing I can feel panic overtaking my body and my poor little heart is racing.
I guess I should start with who I am. This should be the easy bit but I don't really know who I am.
I am Charli.
I am 17.
My birthday is 9th February.
I am 5 foot 9 and a quarter inches.
I have brown hair that reaches past my waist.
I have blue eyes.
I am the palest of all the people I know =]
I wear glasses.
I am anorexic purging type.
I wish I didn't have that last point but I do.
I have had an eating disorder since I was 9 (or that’s as early as I see the manifestation) when I began restricting. When I was 13 I began making myself sick. Two months before my 16th birthday I was found out by my mum in the worst way. She walked in on me purging my dinner that I had made for her, her boyfriend at the time, and me. I was so ashamed. I wept so much I couldn't breathe and I couldn't look her in the eye. I couldn't explain.
Then there was CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which just made me see how stupid I was for thinking the way I did but didn't help.
I slipped into anorexia.
And then the bulimia came back in a vicious way and I didn't see it coming. I didn't know that it could manifest itself that way. Packets and packets of diet pills and laxatives a month and exercising until I couldn't stand up.
I am still here, nearly 18, in a cycle of restricting, purging and exercising.
I have realised that my eating disorder used to be the solution to a problem but now it is a problem.
When I was younger I was always the tallest, always the "biggest." I was always the mum and never the baby, always the wheelbarrow driver and not the wheelbarrow. I was chronically bullied for being fat even though I was what you would probably call average, really.
But one day I was called a whale and I looked in the mirror and I thought, "Oh my god, I look disgusting. They are right, I am huge," and pinched and pulled at all the fat on my body until I was red and bruised. The next day I didn't eat.
The bullying didn't relent and from that point on neither did my disorder.
My family is broken. My mum is an emotional rollercoaster, going from damaging man to damaging man with no gap between.
My father committed a crime when he was younger that has shaped his whole life and mine. He has two younger children and a fiancé that dislikes me. She is 20 years younger than him.
My grandparents are estranged, really... giving me money for birthday and Christmas.
I don't really have a family.
I have many lovely friends though. 4 with eating disorders.
I have a boyfriend of 19 months who previously had an eating disorder. I love him so, so much. He taught me to trust and to love again after what I refer to as the "incident".
The "incident" is called this because I can't name it. It happens to other people and not me. He was my ex-boyfriend and it happened on the 3rd of January 2006. Was to be his second chance to prove himself as a decent person to me. But really what happened tore me apart. I had nightmares, couldn't eat, couldn't talk. I was the hollow shell of who I used to be.
I am what you might call a high flyer. Bright and intelligent. Emotionally intelligent towards anyone but myself.
The worst thing is the fact that people see me as the pretty, rich girl with a wonderful family, wonderful boyfriend and wonderful life. Why would I have any reason to cry? Why would I have any reason to be in a bad mood?
What would happen if they knew? My world would fall apart. Everything is built upon what they can't see.
I want so desperately to eat a sandwich. To be normal. But I don't eat bread or butter or meat or spreads.
I know I need to recover but if I let go of this will I fall? I know my body is dying from the daily purging, lax, exercise and lack of food.
I have been in hospital for passing out and "unexplained" pains. The doctors are on to me but I am so, so scared. I need the strength. To get the strength I need to talk to the people I love to get the support but I really can't let myself trust anyone to that level.
I want to scream.
One thing that gets me through is the fact that there are others like me that have recovered. After going to the depth of their ED.
It also saddens me that some people die and that others like me can't see the way out.
I am only 17 but I feel as if I have already lived my life 1000 times over.
I can't even write everything here. And I expect you are bored of my whining now.
I don't know who I am. I don't want to die. But I don't want to be this fat either.
Where do I go from here, Medusa? Do you know the way out? Please help me.
I'm sorry for taking your time.
From a very scared little girl.
I have written Charli privately, and am hopeful that others will respond to this dear girl's cry for help.