Hey! Today I have a very personal post that is about my best friend. If you are triggered or affected by posts around eating disorders, depression or mental health in general then please don’t read it. However, I will not be mentioning numbers or percentages. This is a letter about my best friend and her struggle with anorexia ❤
‘The doctors told me that I could die, but Abbie I don’t care, I just want to be thin’.
This was one of the many conversations that internally broke my heart. But this was it, this was breaking point. She had to be helped and now, otherwise I was going to lose her forever. This conversation happened when she had been admitted to our local paediatric ward. Now, from the outside, when she was dressed in baggy clothes and smiling, you would think there wasn’t anything wrong. But looks are very deceiving. She had been admitted because she was severely underweight and her blood pressure and heart rate had plummeted to dangerously low. But despite this, she didn’t care at all. She rang me whilst led on a hospital bed not allowed to move, and she told me she didn’t care if she died because being thin was what she wanted. This petrified me. She’d given up and there was nothing I could do anymore.
I visited her whilst she was there and she’d tell me how she had to be supervised while eating but when she got the chance she would hide the food in her coat pockets. Then she would say ‘But I’m fine, can I just go home now?’. But then when she had to wheeled in a wheelchair to the toilet just down the corridor, I had to hold back the tears. She was so weak and frail that even that was dangerous to her health.
I remember her being in hospital for about a week the first time and on the Sunday I spent all afternoon with her. We sat on her bed playing Uno and cards, we watched TV, listened to music and chatted about everything. I wanted her to always know that I was there and no matter what I wouldn’t leave her. But I knew that at times she hated this, she wanted me to leave her alone and let her be consumed by Anorexia. I was getting in the way because I tried to make her stop doing it to herself. But I knew Anorexia was in control of her. It wasn’t her. She tried desperately to push me away and we argued about food, me trying to get her to eat something, what she thought about herself, we were horrible to each other and we fell out about it. She hated me when I told a teacher about things that she told me to keep a secret. But I couldn’t keep them any longer, I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t tell. I thought ‘even if she hates me and never speaks to me, I’ll know I’ve done the right thing’. Our friendship completely evolved around anorexia, it tried to kill her and our friendship.
I spent hours and hours researching by looking at websites, articles, watching TV programmes and videos to try and understand. To try and do something to help. Our school knew, CAMHS knew, Doctors knew, family knew and a small amount of friends knew, but NOTHING was being done about it and I’d had enough of trying to prove to people that ‘she was sick enough’ to receive professional help.
This was until she was transferred from the ward to an eating disorder unit. Despite her desperately not wanting to go, me crying after our final phone call before she went and the fact it was two hours away, she did it. She got in that taxi and has since faced the most terrifying thing for her. I wasn’t in contact with her for three weeks initially and those weeks went so slowly and I had no idea what was going on or how she was. I sent her letters and finally she called! She’d been given a brick phone! She explained everything that was going on, the friends she’d made, the rebellious things she got up to and what the hospital was like. It reassured me and even though she hated it, I knew this was the right thing for her.
The first time I visited her in hospital was absolutely terrifying because not only was I about to see my best friend after 81 days apart, but I had to test my own anxiety. I had to make sure that I was careful with what I said, how I reacted. I had to build up the courage to talk to the hospital staff whilst desperately trying not to have a panic attack. I didn’t know what an eating disorder unit was like and I was scared. But, after being sat with my Dad in the waiting room, my best friend came running out smiling and jumped on me for a hug. She looked healthy and beautiful and she still does. All of my worries went away, I had her back and we had the nicest day together.
That hospital has saved my best friends life. I cannot thank them enough for that. The staff have looked after her and have been there for her whenever she needed them. She has met the most amazing and inspirational people that are now her close friends. The girls I have met; you are all amazing. All the girls I have written letters to, spoken to on the phone and now I’m friends with you on Facebook. I look forward to following your journey to recovery. Stay brave, keep fighting and never give up.
Now, fast forward time to now and she is still in hospital and has been there nearly 5 months. She has make remarkable progress and has started her journey to recovery. I am unbelievably proud of her and I know that she can beat Anorexia! I love her so much and we plan to create the greatest memories together in the future.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I know what anorexia is like because I don’t – AT ALL. But I do know what it’s like to suffer with mental illness, what it’s like to watch a friend be tortured by an eating disorder and how it has affected me.
‘Anorexia nearly killed her and our friendship, but she is fighting back and it won’t win anymore’. ~
I hope in some way this post helps people, even if it was just one person I would be happy.
Please check out my best friends blog and all of the lovely girls (that I know have blogs!) below. They write so well about their experiences, struggles and road to recovery ❤ :
Thank you so much for reading!
Love Abbie x