“When I Said”

A woman in thought

**Content warning: This is one person’s story. Everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

This poem was submitted anonymously by a former Emily Program client.

I wrote “When I Said” when I began treatment for anorexia four years ago. I felt guilty for the lies I used to cover up my eating disorder behaviors, but I learned to see that deception and manipulation were actually part of my illness.

Now when I read this poem, I see two voices speaking. One is my eating disorder and the other is my true, healthy self. Today I’m thankful that my voice is much louder than the eating disorder’s.

When I Said

When I said
I’m not hungry,
I meant
I don’t deserve to eat.

When I said
I already ate,
I meant
a while ago.

When I said
I don’t like that
or that,
I meant
I’m afraid of that,
and that,
and that.

When I said
I don’t feel well,
I meant
I feel disgusting, guilty.

And when I said
everything’s fine,
I meant
I need help.

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