You skulked in the corner for years; hiding behind the piano as she played, under the table as she scooped out the Halloween pumpkins, lurking behind the Christmas tree when she put the fairy on the top. You ran behind her as she skipped to school with her friends. You were waiting, biding your time.
You started to grow. Every now and then you’d deal her a quick punch. Your voice got stronger, whispering in her ear. ‘You’re not good enough, you don’t deserve that food, exercise more, you’re disgusting’. I caught an occasional glimpse of you but you dodged back into the shadows. Not my girl, I told myself, she’s fine, so happy and clever and confident, that won’t happen to her.
You stole her from us for years. You made her doubt her worth and you ravaged her body and mind. You left an empty husk where once had stood my amazing, strong, intelligent child. The little girl who made everyone smile. You took her happiness and the light from our house. Your shadow loomed over everything. Wherever I looked, there you were. Beating her up until she lay on the floor sobbing, fragile and broken. You are so clever, so manipulative, so completely evil. I cannot put into words how angry I am with you for feeding on my beautiful innocent girl. I never believed I could hate anything as much as I hate you.
You put up a good fight; I will give you that. Day after day we went into battle with you. Our whole family and the medical team who supported us. As she started to recover you turned your attention to the rest of us. Diving out of the shadows to lay a sucker punch on me, my husband and her sister. It took its toll, we were exhausted and battle weary, wondering how long we could keep going. You made us all doubt ourselves and we have lasting mental scars.
But ultimately we grew strong. With the help of others (particularly through FEAST) we learned about you and we started to wrestle her back. Each new nugget of knowledge was a new weapon against you. Each mouthful of food was a slap in the face to you.
As we nourished her, we starved you.
We learned to communicate better with each other. We learnt to show our vulnerabilities and help each other through the worst times. We found ways to cope and we practised techniques that took away your power. And very slowly she re-emerged. She ate and she grew stronger. She shook you off and her joy of life returned.
You will never again find a home in my house, in my daughters’ lives and minds. I watch and I wait for you. Because now I am ready. You are not welcome here. You are not welcome anywhere. Those of us who know you will share our experiences and our knowledge and help your newest victims. Knowledge is our weapon and our power.