“My eating disorder is my best friend. I love my best friend! It’s been there for me through thick and thin. It’s always there. Whenever I am lonely, it’s there to keep me company. Whether I am happy, angry, sad… it’s there with its arms around me. I feel its breath on the back of my neck. Day and night, day after day. It constantly whispers things into my ear. It always has my back and is my biggest fan. I love my best friend.” My best friend loves me so much that it has pushed everyone I love away. It has isolated me and left me alone wanting to give up and die. It has stolen my identity, my faith, my health, relationships, and a college career. It robbed me of a job, trust and my “real” smile. It’s taken my hobbies and other friends. My best friend stole my marriage and the custody of my children. My friend has robbed me of my childhood, taken my spouse and has left me on the brink of death several times. It has robbed me of family dinners and vacations, hope, joy, scholarships. It took my confidence, self-love and my sanity. It stole time, money, freedom and my desire to succeed. My best friend loves me so much that it took my home and forced me to be homeless so that I could spend more time with it. It destroyed my body and left me with having countless surgeries and stays in the hospital. My friend robbed me of growing up and being able to enjoy life on life’s terms. It has taken my self-love, integrity, independence, ability to drive, happiness and my will to live away. It took away my parents trust and amazing opportunities. It stole my high school years, self-respect and my nursing career. I’ve lost opportunities to achieve my goals and make new relationships. It robbed me of my self-worth and self-confidence, motivation, drive, and determination. My best friend stole the sparkle from my eye as it took my child away. It stole my values, peace of mind, time and energy. My friend took away my freedom to be ME! It stole my dreams and ambitions. My best friend stole everything, there is nothing left! I don’t even know my favorite color anymore. This friend that I love so much gave me a gift, a beautiful mask. It taught me to lie and to hide my feelings. It taught me to respond with “I’m Fine.” It tells me how much it loves me as it leaves me feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless. My friend causes me so much physical and emotional pain that it leaves me gasping for air. It puts it’s arm around me as it pushes everyone away and screams at me about death and how no one wants me around. No one cares and that I am a bother. I love my best friend. For many of you, ED is your best friend if not your only friend. Look around. It has stripped you of everything you love. You wear a mask and have been trained to lie, smile and act like everything is fine. Aren’t you tired? Exhausted? Why do you continue to seek comfort in ED? Haven’t you lost enough? Aren’t you tired of being miserable and feeling alone? You are worth so much more. You deserve happiness and joy. You deserve a real friend who loves you unconditionally. Someone who doesn’t judge you and respects you. Someone you can laugh with and have fun. Real friends are forgiving, supporting, dependable and thoughtful. ED is not your friend. It is a liar and a thief! Our friends do not rob and beat us. What happened to you is not your fault. You do not deserve this. You are not your eating disorder. You have an identity. You have a name and a purpose. You are valued and loved and are needed in this world. I’m Shannon and I’d like to be your new friend. We’d like to give special thanks to Rosewood Alum, Jet Cestaro, for the artwork featured in the blog.