I don’t really know where to start this letter. I think you probably know what it’s going to be about though. Or maybe not? Do you even remember that night? Or has it faded into the background of your life like any other normal day to you?
Maybe I’ll start by telling you what I was like before that night. I was bubbly; not just cheerful but joyous. I loved to laugh and spend time with everyone. Every morning at 10am I’d go to the library cafe with the biology girls intending to work and every morning work would fall by the wayside in favour of lattes, cake and funny YouTube videos. I would laugh until my sides hurt. Yes I had bulimia and self harmed but I felt like a young woman whose life was just opening up for her. I loved to wear nice clothes and dressed to flatter my body. I dressed up for nights out, wore heels I couldn’t walk in, got drunk and danced with my friends until I could barely stand! I was young and relatively carefree. My whole future was ahead of me. I wanted to study graduate entry medicine and specialise in tropical disease. I enjoyed time with my family and days out pretending to be tourists. I loved to sing and play violin, I was part of the the choir and ICSE, I loved concerts and the sheer joy of making music in beautiful venues.
Now let me tell you who I became after. I withdrew, nights out became fraught with fear. I felt tainted and dirty and any male attention sent me into a panic. I drank to numb rather than enjoy. My eating changed, suddenly my stomach was too full of poison for food and I began to obsessively restrict and lose weight. As my body became smaller, more angular, more protected by anorexia the safer I felt. And then there were the binge purges where I desperately filled and emptied trying to squash the poison down. By the middle of third year, the week of Christmas, I was admitted to an eating disorders unit with a BMI in the critical range. I spent ten months there, I had to defer uni, I lost the trust of friends and family. My mood crashed and the badness I’d always felt was inside of me intensified and the only way I could get it out was by cutting, deeper and deeper. Landing myself in A&E more times than I can count, arms covered in scars. In January 2014 my anorexia morphed suddenly and violently back into bulimia. I remember walking the streets at all hours- day and night- to the supermarkets multiple times a day, stuffing it all in and making myself sick up to 20 times a day. The sheer desperation I felt. I remember multiple overdoses, rarely seeking help, hoping this time it’d work. I remember losing my music, I still can’t play the violin or sing without feeling panic. Then there were the admissions, 2 to a general psychiatric unit in 2014, one under section, day hospital after that and another day hospital admission earlier this year. And then this admission, sectioned, on my 5th month in hospital, into my fourth month on 1:1, feeling hopeless I’ll ever get my life back. Too scared to move forward in case I fall even further. I should be starting an MSc, I have a place, but here I am, not even able to shower or piss in private.
I have flashbacks to that night you know. I can feel you on top of and inside me and how much it hurt. I don’t remember most of what happened but I have flashes and they are too traumatic to verbalise here. I remember the sickly, dirty, unclean fear the next morning and the way it’s stayed with me ever since. I haven’t felt clean since, no matter how hard I try to wash you away. I should hate you, but I feel tremendous guilt for letting you do that to me. I feel it’s all my fault. And yet at the same time you ruined my life. You took everything that was good about me, everything I valued and everything I wanted from my life and ruined it, spoiled it, made it twisted and negative. You’ve turned me from someone who had hope to someone who feels the only way out is suicide. I hate that I let you win. You took my virginity, my dignity and my future and made a joke out of my life. And there you are; making a living, building a life for yourself, laughing, happy and ultimately victorious. I don’t know what you wanted to achieve that night but I feel you killed off the Becca I used to be. I’m not dead but I might as well be because I can feel your poison running through my veins and it’s destroying me. I can’t even enjoy the time I have with my partner because every time he touches me I feel you doing the same and the clutch of panic and disgust inside me is so real and overpowering.
Youve put a millstone of guilt around my neck and it’s dragging me down. To quote Stevie Smith ‘I’m not waving but drowning.’ I’m drowning in guilt and fear and disgust. I feel completely detached from my body, I punish it by cutting, burning and my ED. I tried to starve and overdose and ligature it away but none of it’s worked and I’m stuck in a body which let me down so badly, which you invaded. It’s an object which you used and I now need to punish.
Youve got a life and I’m not going to take it away from you, but know that on January 18th 2011 you took my life and made a failure and laughing stock out of it and I can never get the Becca I was before back. And I hate you for that.