And now they’re telling me I have to get rid of the only thing that loosens its grip. That’s the irony, isn’t it? … The thing that helped has become the thing that imprisons us. We keep feeding it and it keeps wanting more. This is a disease that tries to convince you that you don’t have it. This is a disease where the medicine that gives relief is the same thing that kills you.

You deserve this. Even when you feel like you don’t. You do. You deserve to have a healthy, loving, grace-filled relationship with yourself. You deserve to stop hurting in secret and in shame. You deserve to fully experience life. You deserve to be heard and helped. You deserve everything the negative voices have told you you don’t.

My friend Bailey is looking at me with tears in her eyes and a smile of pure joy. She sees me, the real me, not the broken little bird that my mother sees, or the Ambassador of Hope that my father sees, or the girl who was stupid enough to walk off with a stranger and ruin everyone’s lives that my sister sees. Bailey sees me as I want to be: a normal, non-newsworthy, non-broken, non-victimized sixteen-year-old girl.

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