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“i wish you were happier,” he said. 6 months later i had moved a few states over for the summer to work at a weight loss camp. i thought the change of scenery, the busyness and the dieting would help me… | Secret Keepers by Emily Joy Rosen

“i wish you were happier,” he said

6 months later i had moved a few states over for the summer
to work at a weight loss camp
i thought the change of scenery, the busyness and the dieting would help me

this move was surely for me, but also for him
i didn’t want to lose him

3 weeks in, i reached out to him:
“i am so much happier,” i said, “i love the kids, i am enjoying being outside and working hard i think this is just what i needed, i am getting healthier!”

to which he said:
“happier, really? this is just what you needed? i guess i wasn’t enough. it feels like you don’t need me anymore, it feels like you are changing, and i am not sure i know you anymore.”

and he hung up

that night
i ate 16 sandwiches and 8 bags of chips

us counselors at the camp had late nights of prepping for weekend activities
during the day the food was portioned controlled and i stuck religiously
to the 1100 calories-a-day plan,
along with working out 4-5 hours a day with the kids

because we were up late that night helping,
the camp brought us sandwiches and chips
i told myself i was not going to have even a nibble
i was so afraid that the littlest bit of food would stir the desire in me
to eat more

i was starving
i fixated on those sandwiches
furious the other counselors didn’t finish them
i wanted to scream at them, “f*cking eat”

anyone who tells you dieting has no impact on your mental health is lying
it can make a sane person perfectly crazy

everyone left and i lingered pretending to be doing all sorts of important things

i stared at those sandwiches for what felt like eternity
but more realistically, it was minutes before it was just me on the floor surrounded by brown baggies covered in crumbs from swallowing pieces of bread whole

if you have never experienced a binge you will probably not understand
how much it can feel like you are possessed,
and you will not understand why,
if i was hungry, i could not eat only one sandwich
but once i started there was no stopping me

there was a void so big in me
that one of anything would never do

i learned about bulimia that summer
i had never purged before
but when i told the camp aerobics instructor that i couldn’t stop eating at night
she taught me how to get rid of it all

i had no idea how much darker my road was going to get

i had no idea how much the fear of not being loved was driving me and how his words affected me
how they taught me that the broken girls are more lovable.
how they showed me that i needed to hide my strength
and fierce independence

this is not to blame him, at all
this was two young kids spoon fed codependency by tragic love songs
two kids who thought that love was needing another to be complete

we broke up
i got sicker

and i kept searching for something and someone outside of me
to change me

all the time people ask me,
“what did you do to stop it. how did you get rid of your eating disorder?”

i struggle with this question because of its impossibility
i wish wholeheartedly that i could answer it clearly
for every single one of you,
but i cannot know what will turn the key for you

but i do promise you this:
it will not be something outside of you

you have to figure out why you would ever
torture and abuse yourself in such a way

and yes, i know the euphoria of not eating for days
and the sweet surrender of a binge in motion

but this is just a slow death my friends
you are killing yourself
and i hope you stop it soon
because the world needs you
all of you

❤️ emily joy rosen

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