Glad to still be alive

October 9, 2008 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

The previous post is still lurking in my mind. I am convinced: It is worth it to keep on living. During the past 20 years, I have experienced many things that I wouldn’t want to miss. I became healthy and so much has happened. I have friends, too. That was lacking back then.

A few days ago, I had an incredibly heart-warming experience. Last week, a good friend offered to read the German translation of my book and give me feedback, before it goes to press. She has only known me for ten years, so she “only” knows the healthy me. When I was young and eatingdisordered, I doubted everything including life itself. My self-esteem was nearly non-existant.

I want to share the following email, because it so beautifully summarizes the changes I made, and what changes and healing are possible — for anyone. Her words also show that others tend to see us in a much better light than we see ourselves. It is a good feeling to have close friends. That is what I write today — me, the woman who 25 years ago could only imagine what friendship is about.

Back then, I was ashamed of my behavior and my apparent weakness. Today I feel mostly compassion. It was a nightmare, the worst chapter of my life. At the same time, I admire my strength. I survived it despite everything. I did more than survive: I learned to live, and I learned to love life. But that’s it. I’ll let my friend say the rest. (My translation from German.)

“Amazement –  Irritation – Doubt – Speechlessness – Reflection – Sympathy – Understanding – Sadness – Depression – Helplessness – Pride – Gratitude – Hope – ….

Here they are, my first impressions. And I, who otherwise writes emails like a spouting waterfall, I am speechless.

I’m not too far yet with reading — because on some days, I just couldn’t get myself to read. I was too touched. Many times I recognized myself and needed to take a break, to look inside myself, to stand back a bit… and then your book tempted me again. And I had to read until deep into the night. And I suffered with you and with the other women who share this chapter of their life with you.

And I was amazed and astonished. I only know you as a vivacious, open, warm-hearted person, who makes friends quickly, and has many friends. The friends of yours that I know give a sense of being deeply connected to you, not at all superficial. For me, you have always been one of the most beautiful women I know, so natural and flawless.

I simply cannot believe, cannot fathom, cannot understand how you could have had such a negative image of yourself. At the same time, I know how I treat myself in front of the mirror!

We tend to be merciless towards ourselves, yet would never treat others in such a way. I comprehend that you didn’t see yourself, but only what was inside of you — and while reading I wanted to shake you and hug you and tell you how wonderful you are.

When I read, I wish that you would look into the mirror and see the Martha that I see. A beautiful, warm-hearted, cheerful, enviable, courageous and successful woman, who has both feet firmly on the ground, is living her dreams, believes in herself, meets challenges with a smile, and believes in the goodness of life. A friend with depth, courage to show her feelings, and an invincible will to live.

And then I am so glad to know you now, so relieved that you didn’t give up back then, that you were able to pull yourself out of the turmoil. As I said, I’m not that far with reading yet, but far enough to see a different Martha, one who certainly didn’t deserve all that suffering. One thing I know for sure. This book gives hope, and can be a support for someone who hasn’t yet succeeded in overcoming this insanity.

I am so glad that you are here, and that you didn’t starve yourself out of this world — or like you said — “puke [yourself] to death”. Even though you live in H– now and are further away than most of my friends, I feel very close to you at the moment.

I hope this note doesn’t sound too dramatic — but I just can’t find other words. I thank you for your trust, for letting me have such a deep glimpse into your soul. Be assured of my respect and high esteem.

I wish you a wonderful weekend. And if the sun winks at you, then only because I am so happy that you can see it!!!!”

Gee, I wish I could be that eloquent when I’m speechless!!



Entry filed under: friends, suicide. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

A delicate topic on the tightrope When enough is enough

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