I received this letter from a reader, who has given me permission to post it:
"A letter to a friend who suffered from anorexia/bulimia:
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being there for you when you had eating problems and for not understanding. I couldn't see beyond the skinny figure to the little girl lost inside. To the person hurting inside. Even when you told me that you had been making yourself sick, I didn't understand the implications. I just begged you to stop, told you just to stop. But you couldn't.
I didn't understand, how could I have? We were both so young. Even you didn't really know why it was happening to you.
I do understand now. I understand the pain and suffering you were going through. To purge until there's blood, to go to bed arms wrapped around your stomach which is so painful from the hunger. To have people say that you have lost weight, but you feel so obese and gigantic next to your pretty skinny friends. To look in the mirror and see a whole host of imperfections all personified through one word: fat.
I do understand and I wish I didn't. I am going through the suffering you have been through and it's making my life misery. But all I want is to be thin. I go on the internet each night to find thinspiration, to idolize and stop myself eating. I look at overweight people and feel disgusted by the amount I have eaten. I have a friend, she's overweight. I can't touch her, hug her, because I'm scared I will become like her if I get too close.
The feelings are irrational, but I am alone in this. No one knows.
I wish I could talk to you.
I love you.