Explaining my Anorexia to my Mother: A Story

By Sarah Brown (’26)

There is something you should understand before I begin,
I love my family.
I never meant for them to get hurt.

But that’s what Anorexia does. It tears you until you’re nothing.

I once heard someone say, I don’t know how to describe the rabbit hole

Without dragging you down it with me

Please don’t come down this rabbit hole with me.

I haven’t found my way out

I remember saying “Mom, the blueberries are squishy.”

She scoffed and rolled her eyes before saying, “So, are not going to eat those either?”

That sentence broke down the damns that I had built

To hold back the hurricane that was brooding inside me

Tears filled my eyes and I fell silent.

Mom doesn’t understand. She never has, and truthfully, I don’t expect her to.

How do you understand that your daughter is so lost inside herself that she doesn’t know her way out?

Mom looked at me and asked why am I throwing away my treatment

My weeks in inpatient and time inside

Why am I sabotaging my life? My grades, my positions, my senior year!

Mom says you are in control.

Oh how I wish that were true.

If I were in control I wouldn’t be panicked by the thought of gaining weight

If I were in control I wouldn’t face urges that tell me to do ridiculous things

Because isn’t that what everyone thinks ED’s are all about?


My thoughts are drowning in the rapids filled with floating wood from the broken stilts which I had built to keep me above ground.

Words want to form but my throat is being held tightly in reigns.

Careful what you say. You must never give away your fear of it.

I wish I could explain.

Explain that my Anorexia is not a track in which I am jumping over hurdles to reach a finish line

My Anorexia is a minefield, filled with barbed wire fences and false exits

One wrong move and the whole thing implodes.

Words finally begin to work

But all I can manage is “I’m trying…”

My god can’t she see that I’m trying

Mom says “You’re not. You’re not eating.”

I break a little more.
Whirlwinds of thoughts trample through the flood water to my consciousness.
I’m sorry Mom.
I’m sorry that I can’t look at a plate without seeing numbers.
I’m sorry that I can’t pick up a forkful of rice without the number 35 flashing before my eyes
Without my thoughts holding a dagger to my throat and pressing it a little harder
Every second the bite gets closer to my lips.

So I give in.

No fighting the urge, no piecing of my skin from the dagger, no attack of thoughts.
Mom still doesn’t understand.
But I can’t share more
Because I’m terrified
That someone will read it and find it appealing
And then down they’ll fall
Into a rabbit hole
Disguised as a friend.