An Open Letter to My Treatment Friends

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Dear Mandy, Meredith, Kristin, and Sarah,

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. My love for y’all explodes unlike any other people that I have ever met. I guess that makes sense because y’all truly are unlike any other person that has ever walked into my life. Who knew that when I walked through the door of that little yellow house in the woods that I would meet four of the best girls ever and would hold onto them for dear life in the coming months.

Our two months in treatment were the worst ever. They were the best ever. They were the most gut wrenching. They were the most heart filling. They were every single emotion and adjective that you could use to describe them because we were becoming pros at feeling our feels and we definitely made them vocal enough for the entire house to hear (cue my multiple meltdowns after phone time). Those two months in treatment were the hardest months of my life, but I truly laughed. I truly loved. I truly cried. I truly felt. I truly danced. I truly sang. I truly yelled. I truly hit things (bat therapy, anyone?). I truly did all of these things because of y’all.

We caused a lot of chaos in that house, but only in the best way possible. We often felt like we were being annoying (we probably were), but I know that the staff appreciated it. That place could get so so dark, but we always brought the light. It took a while for us to find that light in ourselves, but as Meredith’s dad reminded us with his flashlight (actual tears still), there was always a light to find. And y’all, we found that light. We are shining so bright.

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We watched a heck of a lot of Annie, endured the same 30 minutes of Mamma Mia until Meredith got distracted, crocheted, hula hooped for only five minutes, crocheted while hula hooping, sang a lot, constantly asked to be let into the art closet, sang hymns after lights out (still don’t understand that one honestly), had nightly pow wows, wore gloves while doing dishes (“the disgusting vat of nastiness”), got in trouble for laughing too much, absolutely lost it in the best way possible every Monday night snack, talked in pig latin, and so much more.

We made faces at each other over not to our taste preference meals (tofu we’re looking at you), played table games when one of us was struggling over dinner, cheered each other on when we had to supplement, supported each other through behavior chains (and laughed at Meredith’s very passive aggressive behavior chains), held each other’s hands when emotions became too strong, celebrated when we had bowel movements (if you’ve never had an eating disorder, don’t judge us), reminded each other to use our coping skills, cried with each other after hard therapy sessions (@ family therapy), and validated the heck out of each other’s feelings.

As much as therapy and groups changed my life, y’all changed it more. Without y’all at CH, I would not have been able to do it. I would’ve AMAed my butt out of that place real freaking quick. Even though we were all going through our own crap, but we brought out the joy in each other. No matter how hard a meal was or how vulnerable we felt after a group, we still laughed and sang and felt all the feels. We had each other’s backs when it felt like the world (or the team) was against us. We were all that each other had (except from 7:30-8:45 when we had contact with the outside world). We stuck together like glue because I don’t think we would have been able to survive without each other.

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I’ll never forget Meredith writing me a note during a hard dinner that said, “You can do it, buddy. Remember, recovery is worth more.” Or when Kristin wrote us all letters for us to read out loud at each other’s goodbye snacks since she couldn’t be there. Or when Mandy helped me draw x’s over all the times I wrote “fat” on my body. Or when Sarah hugged me for the longest time and reminded me of my worth after a really crappy phone time. I’ll never forget the times that y’all fought with me, even when I didn’t want to fight.

Sometimes we had to force each other to fight, but we always fought.

We all said goodbye at different times (RIP the one night I was left alone at CH), but we never left each other. We started the Hermacita Fan Club group message, and we’ve talked almost everyday since then. There is not a single day that passes without me thinking of y’all and thanking Jesus for y’all.

We’ve done a lot since we’ve discharged. We’ve texted, road tripped, ate sketchy free froyo in a Mexican restaurant, NEDA walked, flown on airplanes, explored random cities, did a scavenger hunt all over downtown Atlanta (excessive body movement??), watched Annie, gone to the beach, gone to a pumpkin patch, crocheted, NEDA walked again, driven past Carolina House, FaceTimed, struggled through a corn maze, gotten tattoos, and so much more. Some of that we did just two or three of us, but some of it all five of us were there. Whether together or apart, we have lived so much life in the past months.

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I’m so proud of y’all. I’m so proud of us. To think of how far we have come since May. We are absolutely killing it, y’all. We’ve done amazing things and we’re going to continue to do amazing things. We’re going to change the world. We’re going to live happy and healthy. We’re going to make it.

I love y’all so much, I can’t even put it into words. Thanks for being the 8 ounces of milk to my 2 cups of cereal because #perfectratio. Y’all rock.

With all the love that we never gave to Hermacita,

BASA

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Because throwback to when we had to photoshop pictures together bc HIPAA.

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