Dear patients,
First of all, please excuse me for using this word, because you are obviously much more than patients. You are warriors, fighters, you who endure nameless suffering every day.

This message will not give you a miracle solution, it will not heal you, but I hope it will bring you some hope.

For almost a decade I suffered, I experienced the shame of robbing my parents’ refrigerator and then the store shelves, clogging toilets and carrying bags of vomit around in my neighbourhood.

I experienced the guilt of eating the cherry tomato I shouldn’t, the intense fear of gaining weight and the euphoria of losing it. I did the yo-yo alternating excessive thinness and slight overweight. I have experienced inappropriate hospitalizations where caregivers lock you in your room and shoot you up on medication. I have experienced isolation, the prohibition of visits, the hundreds of kilometres separating me from my family and I have known the “right” to call my parents for three quarters of an hour every three days. I knew the probe that is stuck in your nose to make you gain this weight that you are trying to lose and I knew the food supplements that you discreetly empty. I have experienced this heavy and permanent feeling that everything is too hard, including drinking a glass of water. I wanted to give up and I gave up several times. I have experienced the loss of friends who were also suffering and I am still in mourning.

But I have also known caregivers who believed in my abilities, caregivers who responded kindly to my refusal to live, to struggle, to be exhausted and to be determined to destroy me.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by a few relatives and an invested healthcare team. I have been wandering for a long time but “wandering humanum est”. I’ve been accused of complaining, of relapsing to do harm. I often felt misunderstood and certainly could not be fully understood. But some have tried.

Little by little, step by step, cautiously, I slipped a toe out of eating disorders.

I knew what I was losing but I didn’t know what I was going to win. I was terrified, but I persevered. I defied the doctors’ prognoses, refusing to be condemned to live like that. I tried, I failed, I tried again and again until one day I realized that I didn’t know when my last seizure had occurred. I went back to school and let go.

Not everything is rosy, life is life with its ups and downs, but I don’t regret this fight. I learned a lot and realized that I had a lot of resources.

You who suffer also have them. Starting with the instinct of survival which, although discreet, makes you push the door of an association, a psychologist’s office, a clinic. You have resources and above all you have the right to take your place. You have the right to refuse normality and create your own, you have the right to shout “I’m tired”, to cry but also to laugh. You have the right to exist and you have the right to live. You have the right to be happy.

The possibilities are endless. The disease makes you think you are worthless and deserve to suffer, but that is not true. You are not guilty of anything, but you are responsible for your recovery.

Hope, courage, strength, perseverance. Every effort ends up paying off one day and if you are afraid, know that life deserves a minimum of attention and that you will not be alone.

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