What it’s like having a best friend with an eating disorder

You are not your illness

National Eating Disorder Awareness week 2020.

During the 2 years that we’ve been best friends, there hasn’t been a day that I don’t think about Clare. She’s my rock. We laugh for hours about nothing, go on the craziest of adventures, and always gossip. She’s the only person I know I could definitely spend the rest of my life with, without any worries at all. Boy, I couldn’t get rid of her anyway, she knows all my secrets. 

Clare already had an eating disorder when I met her. It was never really a secret, she told me almost straight away in the calmest and most collected way. That’s probably the first time I realised she was so strong; she was fighting this huge battle, but she wasn’t letting it show how much it was terrifying her. 

The longer we were friends the more I realised it consumed every ounce of her daily life. She loved food, but it was the worst thing in the world for her at the same time. We couldn’t just spontaneously go out for lunch, food needed to be strictly planned and thought through in her mind. 

Although I could support her the entire way, her eating disorder is ultimately a battle she has to beat on her own.

Something that really upset me, personally, was the weekly food shop. She was tense the entire way we were walking to our local Asda. I knew she was fighting with her mind about whether she should buy any food at all or not. But, during her worst time, more often than not the anorexia would win. Once, she left the shop with just a packet of gum and some squash, she insisted that she had enough food at home, but I knew she didn’t. It was the helplessness and the guilt that I hated. I couldn’t do anything, although I could support her the entire way, her eating disorder is ultimately a battle she has to beat on her own. 

I used to dream of the day that we could sit together watching a movie and order in a waffle to snack on. Or the day that we could be out shopping and spontaneously decide to get a cheeky Nandos. Instead, I was acting as the receiver for any food in her cupboards that she couldn’t bring herself to keep in her kitchen. 

During her recovery I’ve seen her go from strength to strength. Food doesn’t feel like the taboo that it used to. Yes, she still has wobbly days but there are so many days no where I can see her enjoying food. Sometimes it seems weird that I’ve never known her without an eating disorder, but I think I get closer and closer to that moment every day. I think Clare knows how much I support her, but I probably don’t tell her anywhere near enough how proud of her I am. Even her smallest of steps (like having a few extra chips) is the biggest deal to me. I’m so excited every time she conquers a fear. I will always be by her side supporting her, the shoulder she can cry on any time she needs it, and she will always be my biggest inspiration.

Huda Beauty
Tags: anorexia, best friend, eating disorder awareness week, eating disorders, mental health, the femme

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