The Truth Behind the Lies Of An Anorexic Mom

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Note:  This blog contains descriptions of eating disorder behaviors.  Although I have tried to be mindful in writing about specific behaviors, there are parts of  that may be difficult to read for those actively struggling with an eating disorder.  For support please see the "resources"page on this site.

  • sherrisacconaghi

I wrote this during my time in treatment. It was at my dietician, Gretchen’s suggestion as I was struggling to let go, fearing what might happen if I completely severed ties with the skinny, over controlled person I had identified with for so long. I pull it out from time to time, when I feel myself slipping, as a reminder that although it would be so easy to run back to the behaviors that numb the hard stuff, I do not need them anymore. It helps me remember that anorexia is like a magnet, and will pull me in if I get too close.

Never in my wildest imagination thought I would share this. But then I remind myself why I started this blog. If this letter helps me, perhaps it might help someone else, regardless of their struggle. It is worth it to me.

Even with so much good stuff in front of me, sometimes it is still tempting to look back. (Phoenix, AZ July, 2018).

September 14, 2018

Dear Skinny Me-

I miss you! I am feeling lost and scared without you. I want to see you sometimes, but I know we can never see each other again.

That being said, I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. I don’t know if I would have gotten through the difficult times in my life without you. The way you swooped in after I had cancer and protected me from my husband’s drinking and the secrets and lies surrounding it. When I felt out of control, you took control. You brought me relief from stress, gave me purpose when I felt empty, and you made me feel special when I felt like I was slipping through the cracks of life.

With you, I felt strong and in control. I felt like I had my shit together. At least I thought we had people believing that. We were a good team. Like some relationships, what starts helpful can become harmful, and that is what happened to us. The control and coping that you gave to me began to take their toll on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I allowed you to isolate me and keep me from connecting with others to keep our relationship secret. But I was lonely. I looked different, people staring at me with pity or curiosity like a circus sideshow.

Two years ago, when we started to part ways, I was so scared to let you go. Afraid of what life would be like without you. I have let you go little by little, sometimes asking you to come back.

When D started spiraling down a dark hole, I didn’t understand, I needed you to run with, to take control, but I resisted. The dark, cold holidays without my mom, I desperately wanted you to numb the pain by forcing me to work my body until I felt nothing but exhaustion. But I didn’t.

Complete with stationery from when I was a child. I needed to connect with who I am at heart.

I love you for all you have done for me, I will never forget you, but it is time for me to do this without you. I have other things to help me now; breathing, yoga, connection to others, and body and mind strength. I have found compassion for myself. I will lean on these as I move forwards.

So goodbye Skinny Me. I will miss you so much. I love you.

Love, Healthy Me

  • sherrisacconaghi

Over the past two years, writing my story has become easier. I have gotten more comfortable in my ability to express myself in a way that reflects my experience while at the same time, makes any sense to those of you kind enough to read this. But it takes focus, I want to do it justice.

This past week I’ve had no focus. Vacationing with my family I got so caught up in living in the moment that I couldn’t, for the first time in two years, muster the discipline to sit down and write.

So I didn’t.

I will be back next week with a significant turning point in my recovery process.

As always, thanks for sticking with me.

Palm Springs (2021)

*Arguing, bickering and eye rolling (not pictured).

  • sherrisacconaghi

If someone had told me that in my lifetime, I would be living through a pandemic that would shut down my world, leaving me isolated from my family and friends, and make me concerned for my health and livelihood, I would have said. “no way I would survive that."

I know that isolation is not healthy for me. Staying connected with close friends was key for my emotional and physical well being this past year. (My Cohort, Mt. Hood, 2020)

But I, like so many of you, have survived it. And I have learned quite a bit about myself. One of the most important being that I do not need so much stuff. I have taken the past year to evaluate the people and things that serve and support me. I have developed clarity on what and who brings me happiness. I have emerged from 2020 with a cleaner house, a calmer mind, and a deeper connection with the people whom I love.

I have the rest go.

Perhaps the tumultuous part of 2018 with my family was not a global pandemic. If someone had told me that I would someday face a crisis where my family would shut down, where I would feel isolated emotionally from my husband and afraid to be around my child, I would have said, “no way could I survive that."

But not only did I survive, I also continued to recover. And I learned quite a bit about myself. The most important being that I no longer needed the habits I had held onto for so many years, believing they were vital to my survival. With steadfast support from my friends and my treatment team, I got through the most stressful time in my life without relying on anorexia for comfort. I was able to withstand the constant anger that swirled around in my house without resorting to extreme exercise to numb the pain. I did not allow the neverending knot in my stomach from the persistent tension to prevent me from fueling my body nor did I turn to food restriction to find control during a time in my life where I felt I had none.

It certainly helped to have amazing friends who, in my time of need, whisked me away to a desert paradise and supplied me with wine, carbs, and love. ( Phoenix, AZ 2018)

I am not quite sure how I did it and I am sure there were setbacks but nowhere in my my journals during that time can I find my thoughts around my body, exercise, or food intake. It was as if I went on auto pilot, knowing my family, especially my son, needed me—a mom with a rational brain and a strong body. He needed me to be his soft place to land in his world of sharp edges and dark corners. I had not provided that to him for many years, and I wanted more than ever to be there for him when he needed it most. I needed my family back more than I needed anorexia.

I came out of that dark year with a calmer household, a stronger mind, tighter pants, and the surprising realization that I didn’t need anorexia to survive. It no longer served a purpose.

It was time to let it go.


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