To read this blog in order start at July right at the top of the blog archive and progress down in order. This is an account of my battle with anorexia and bulimia

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


In the beginning of the year Mim and I travelled down to the Blue Mountains for a holiday. We stayed in a motel in Springwood, which was a lovely little place. We had an absolute ball. We spent a fair amount of our time shopping, as females do. One of the things we liked to do when clothes shopping was to try on the most unsuitable items of clothing in the change rooms then take a photo of what we looked like. I often went for the skimpier little outfits because I knew I would never wear them in reality. I was extremely skinny then and these clothes made my sticking out bones a lot more prominent. I didn’t notice at that time though.
We went to visit Charles and Lana one night for dinner. Apparently they noticed my weight loss and made comments on how grey and lifeless my face looked. My cheeks were sunken in, and my whole body was out of proportion. We didn’t stay there very long.
We had fun the next day shopping in one of the biggest shopping centres. As we walked around the shops I was starting to feel ill. I didn’t mention it to Mim because I thought it would go away. Perhaps, I thought, I was hungry. So I ate. Actually we ate
all day. I tried not to let it bother me, but it did. I had to make excuses to go to the toilet so I could get rid of whatever I ate. The pain in my stomach was not getting any better, and when we arrived back at our motel all I could do was rest on the bed. I was up all night vomiting, genuinely sick. The pains in my stomach were unbearable. The only thing I could link it to was the amount of times I had made myself vomit that day. The following morning I woke up feeling better. I tried to stomach a bread roll for the sake of making it seem as though I was truthful about feeling better. In actual fact I felt weak and yuck. I didn’t want to disappoint Mim though and I was hopeful the pain would disappear. We were heading into Sydney for the day. We had planned it out earlier where we could go and what we could do. Both of us really looked forward to this day and I wasn’t about to ruin it. We hopped on a train and got as far as Penrith before I felt extremely sick and faint. We got off the train and waited around for a train to go back to Springwood. All I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and disappear. I had never felt like this before and it was scary. We made it back to the motel where I grew sicker and weaker by the minute. Poor Mim was at her wits end about what to do. She spoke with the owners of the motel about getting a doctor in for me. She then phoned mum for her advice. The owners were very helpful and worried about the situation. Eventually a doctor came out and looked over me. He was another one who said it could be my appendix. He said if I didn’t improve through the night I would have to go to hospital for fear of dehydration. Mum was phoning the motel every five minutes by this stage wondering what was happening. In the end she made the decision that we both needed to be home as soon as possible, then went ahead to book plane tickets for us. This decision did not impress me at all. I knew I would be better by the next day but no one believed me. So that was it. We caught a plane home to Tamworth. Sure as I knew I was much better the next day. I felt so bad for Mim though. It was my own fault that I got this sick and as a result I ruined our holiday.
Harley, my kangaroo, had grown bigger by now. He was beginning to hop out of his “pouch” more frequently now. This annoyed mum in some ways (although I could see how much she loved him). It especially annoyed her though (in a funny way) when he chewed the dried grass tied around the necks of mum’s ceramic cows. Being it her house she decided Harley could no longer stay here. This broke my heart because raising him was one thing I was successful at. But, I had to respect mum’s wish and soon found a home for him. He was going to some people, Jody and Jim, who lived 30kms out of town. They had kangaroos already in their rehabilitation yard so Harley was actually better off there. I was given the opportunity to visit him as many times as I wanted to so I took them up on this offer.
The first time I visited was only a couple of weeks after I had given Harley up. I stayed for 3 days and Jody and I did fun stuff including bird watching in the bush at night, driving, and chatting. Naturally I thought Jody was a fun person to be with. I had a few other weekends up there and we got into discussions about my eating. What I couldn’t figure out was that she knew I had a problem before mum or myself even told her. I talked a bit about it with her, then she brought mum into the equation. She started referring to mum as a co-dependent person. That mum was dependent on Mim or me. All things she had to say about mum were negative. At the time, I listened and took in what she was saying. The only reason I did was because it made sense. Mum didn’t like us to do anything without her, she always relied on us (especially Mim). She used to ring me anywhere up to 5 times a day at Jody’s and it seriously drove me up the wall. Jody had absolutely no relationship with her own mother, which is why I think she interfered in mine and Mum’s. After a few visits there mum was becoming really determined about stopping me from going there. I went against her wishes and went in spite of her. I needed to get away, or so I thought. I came back to unfriendly comments from mum and I couldn’t figure this out. I didn’t understand what was so wrong about me going to see how Harley was progressing. Eventually mum came clean about why she was upset about me going to see Jody. Apparently Jody used to ring mum up and gloat about the good times we had when I went up
there. She told mum how I talked with her about my eating, and that she thinks she is the only person I would own up to. The worst part is when she told mum that I said Jody is a better mum than mum is. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I did talk about many things with Jody because often it is easier to talk to an outsider about feelings than to those closest to you. I never ever said anything in the way of Jody being like a mother. This really saddened me and it made me totally understand why mum disliked me going to see the woman. I didn’t know how to convince mum that what Jody said was a lie. The only practical way to prove it was to ring Jody up then and there and confront her. Confrontation is and always has been my weak spot, but I really let her have it. There was no way I was going to let her say such viscous things to mum. The conversation wasn’t a very nice one, and after it we rarely spoke again unless necessary.

finding confidence in music

It was like being engulfed in a different world where
music exists and food was a fun part of it
Towards the end of the year I spent many times up at Fiona and Vicki’s. Harley usually accompanied me in my backpack and I left him in a quiet room at their house. We played our instruments for hours, then would stop for a lunch break. I actually did
eat lunch, and I enjoyed it. I think my body was wondering what on earth was happening. We got into playing Christmas carols then I got brave and suggested we go busking down in the main street. Vicki nearly fell over in shock wondering if I was serious or not. Because they were who they were I felt confident in going out and strutting our stuff. We played outside some little shops and people walked by stopping briefly to listen then throwing some coins in our case. On our first day out, playing only for 2 hours, we made $180, and got asked to play at a wedding. On the day before Christmas we played at Nursing Homes too. It was quite sad, but it was nice to know we could do something for the elderly people here.
It was from that when we decided to form a quartet of our own. Jess (from Les Mis) joined us so we were now officially a quartet. I was spending more and more of my time up at their house, and mum began to have an objection to that. If I wasn’t at their house I was at our house writing out music for our quartet. Mum also had problem with this saying they were using me and taking advantage of me. She couldn’t understand why I would put so much time into writing all this music. My only reasons were that I offered to do it, I knew I was capable of writing music, and I enjoyed writing music and feeling useful.
* * * *
Mum was still playing her games of trying to make us feel guilty if we wanted to do something or go somewhere. Quite often we went into town for her to do the grocery shopping, or pay bills. We knew that during this time we were out mum would drive to the shops and buy her stock of alcohol for the next dew days. Sometimes she could go through a 6 pack of beer with in one to two days. She also had her glasses of wine on top of that. Sometimes she cried about it and said she wanted to get help, other times she was so spiteful and bitter towards us. Mum often “reminded” us that we caused her problem. She said that we prevented all potential relationships because of the way we were and acted. We also didn’t treat her with any respect and we neglected her. That is why she turned to drinking. We made her do it. Once my secret of my eating disorder was in the open she really liked to use that as her excuse. I drove her to drink because she was in so much pain as to what to do about me. She said that while I was at high school she knew there was a problem there with me but didn’t know how to cope, so that’s also why she drank. There were endless pathetic excuses about her alcoholism. She refused to acknowledge she was alcoholic, therefore did absolutely nothing about it. I hate to think that in some ways I am so like her in characteristic of not doing anything about my problem. I often admit it’s there, cry about it, then the next day I do nothing about it. It’s only now that I can understand that mum probably really did need and want the help but was too afraid to let go of what she knows, and her “safe” way of handling problems- through alcohol. I can only imagine how frustrated people are with me at times. I really regret that I didn’t think to even offer mum the proper support and encouragement she needed. Instead I showed her anger and hostility, probably adding to her problem.

The cycle worsens as the determination gets stronger

Finally my Animal Attending Tafe course started. The classes were done in weekly blocks every six weeks. I immediately started my pattern of not eating lunch. I went from about 9am to 6pm with virtually nothing. I sometimes had a chocolate bar but usually not much else. In winter I allowed myself to have hot drinks of ovaltine, because they were supposedly low in fat. There was another awfully skinny girl in our class and I wanted to compete with her. I made comments to the others about how skinny she was. They said that I wasn’t any better looking myself. It didn’t take long for my class to notice my poor food intake, and so the cycle recommenced. They noticed I wasn’t eating so therefore it was best to stick with what they had already made note of.
It was fantastic to be out of school. I had no anxieties of what my tech class thought of me. I was somewhere I wanted to be, and doing what I wanted to do. Given the fact that it was a small class of probably 15, I felt more secure in who I was and was able to be just myself. I felt confident to speak up in class, and even turned out to be one of the leaders and well-liked ones in the class. What a difference from high school. Despite the fact I was accepted easily into the group I felt the need to be skinny. I had to gain the attention of others somehow for some reason. Sometimes on the odd occasion I allowed myself to eat McDonalds but tried not to let this happen too often.
On the off weeks when tech wasn’t on I was at a loss for what to do. It was only 5 weeks in between classes but for someone like me that is hard. I like to keep busy, and without a job that was hard. Mim was doing her hairdressing course so I couldn’t do much with her either. In the mornings I got up, had breakfast (special K cereal) threw that up, then cycled on the exercise bike for nearly one hour. I then used Mim’s weights to work my arms and did some aerobics. Mum was still asleep while I did this so she didn’t know. She would have stopped me in a flash if she knew. I carried out this routine of mine in Mim’s bedroom because it was at the back of the house where mum couldn’t hear much. It was dreadful staying at home. I tended to eat more because mum was constantly watching my every move. This is when I practiced my violin more regularly. I took lunch into my room stating I needed to practice so I’d eat while I did. I then threw my lunch in the bin. Now and again I let myself fall and took a bite of what I had prepared. I was incredibly disappointed in myself for this because once I had the taste I then wanted more. How I could lose such control was pathetic. So I ate whatever it was then threw it up. That was the ultimate pits. I was disgusted in myself for having that happen. I tried to find other ways then to keep myself busy, even if it meant studying and doing assignments all day long. As a result of continual study I was always achieving high marks, so I guess it paid off.
Later in the year the course required us to do a week of work experience in the animal field. I chose to do mine at Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo. A few weeks prior to this another class studying an animal course were going on an excursion to the zoo. One teacher said it might be beneficial for me to attend this excursion to get to know what is required of me for work experience. It turned out to be a very depressing trip for me, as I knew no body. We arrived in Dubbo in the evening and got ourselves settled into the cabins in a caravan park I shared a cabin with two girls and the teacher. They all decided to go out to eat and invited me to join them. I declined stating I wasn’t hungry. They asked if I was sure, because it had been a long day and it may be good to get out and have something to eat. I made the good old excuse of being travelsick and needed to rest. They believed me but were a bit worried that I wouldn’t get any better if I didn’t eat. One of them made a comment that it may do me good to eat because I was too skinny. I disagreed with them and said I never eat much anyway so I should be okay. Off they went then and I stayed in by myself imagining all the food I could be eating because I was so hungry. The rest of the trip wasn’t too exciting and the others made no attempt to even include me in anything. I couldn’t wait to get home on the Sunday.
In the meanwhile, in the middle of tech and doing nothing in my absolutely monotonous life of nothingness I had committed myself to an orchestra to play in the musical Les Miserable.
This was actually quite a confidence boost in someway, as I was originally the only violin. It was a small orchestra and less formal than the youth orchestra. If I made a mistake I wasn’t looked at, or if I didn’t use all of my bow I wasn’t shamed for it. After a few rehearsals another violinist, Jess, came. It was a relief to have someone else play along with me. I enjoyed the busyness of playing in this orchestra. I was out many nights for all hours rehearsing. Mum was a bit concerned about the amount of late nights I was having, but it seriously had no effect on me. It turned out that two people from youth orchestra were also playing in Les Mis. They were Fiona and her mother Vicki. We got to know each other quite well and I usually went along to rehearsals with them. Fiona and I spent heaps of time playing duets together, and sometimes Vicki joined in with her double bass. We ended up spending a lot of time together forming a great friendship, and eventually forming a music group. I enjoyed going up to their place because for some peculiar reason it felt acceptable to eat. In fact they made eating to be fun. They are such natural people with big hearts, who accept anyone. I was accepted into their family and I really valued this. We shared quite a few similarities such as music and animals.
Throughout the time of the Les Mis concerts, I had one week of work experience at Western Plains Zoo. For that week I boarded with a lady named Winnie. I had my own bedroom there, and another girl Paula was also there. Paula drove me out to the zoo in the mornings and also picked me up in the evenings. My eating really fell here. While I had the opportunity to not eat I certainly didn’t. I never took lunch, surviving on only drinks throughout the day. Even when one of the staff brought in birthday cake I politely said no, and was very proud of myself. There was a lot of physical work involved working there. Most days I was raking out animal yards or shovelling manure. I am surprised my body coped with this. When I got home to Winnie’s, she had dinner waiting for me. I picked at my food eating a little bit of it so as not to appear impolite. Her and Paula were pretty concerned. Winnie said I needed a lot of fattening up, especially if I wanted to work in an area such as I was. They encouraged me to eat more, but I had to try and stand my ground. A couple of the nights I gave in and even ate dessert. Straight after that I had my shower and was so grateful there was a toilet in the bathroom as well. Doing this made me feel like a betrayer and ungrateful but I was too disappointed in myself to worry about anyone else.
On my first day at the zoo I was placed in the nursery with a lady Annie, for injured or orphaned animals. If I had my choice I would have been in there everyday. It was rewarding to know we were helping and caring for these helpless little animals. A man came in with a Joey he had found on the side of the road. It broke my heart to see this Joey. Annie took him from the man and began caring for him. Since I had recently become a member of WIRES (wildlife information rescue and emergency service) I toyed with the idea of taking this Joey home to foster him. I told Annie this and she agreed on one condition - he had to be over 1kg by the end of the week. I was so excited about this. Finally I could put everything I had learnt in WIRES into practice. Mum was displeased with the idea telling me I was crazy. Oh well, I went against her word because it was what I really wanted to do. The last day finally was here. I bundled up my little Joey and set out to take him home. I knew mum still wasn’t impressed by the idea at all, we had already had many an argument about it. I wrapped my joey up warmly, put him in a backpack and got on the coach back home. I think it was more of a shock for poor mum when she actually saw my joey, because it was more of a reality. Mim and I named him Harley. He was a little darling and I felt special to have the opportunity to care for him.
Suddenly my focus turned to something else. I by no means miraculously recovered and started to eat properly again, but I did believe I had a purpose to fulfil. It was a purpose to nurture Harley and give him the best care possible. This involved many four hourly bottle feeds, toileting him outside, giving lots of love. It was hard but rewarding work. There were a few times where I nearly lost him because he became exceptionally sick and had constant diarrhoea. This in kangaroos can be fatal, and I didn’t know what to do. I had the support of other WIRES members and they were very helpful in getting Harley on the road to recovery.
I had gotten my L’s this year as well. I found it hard last year to not fit in with everyone else who had his or her L’s. They were having driving lessons then acquired their P’s and most of them had a car to drive. Mum wasn’t particularly enthusiastic to teach either Mim or I to drive. At school I tried to justify myself with not having a car or my licence by saying I didn’t want to yet. Seriously I would have loved to have my L’s and go for driving lessons with mum. That’s what I perceived a normal family to do. That is what most people do. Mum did take us out on the back roads sometimes, but she panicked every time we went too fast. She usually only had something to complain about or criticise of our driving. It’s no wonder we didn’t get too far. I gave up trying in the end assuming that driving was obviously something not made for the likes of me.

1995 - year of freedom

This felt pretty weird. It didn’t hit me at first that I wouldn’t be returning to school because it was just as though it was school holidays. We saw Jo (from Katoomba) a considerable amount over the holidays. Jo, Mim and I went on a holiday to Coffs Harbour together to see her Dad with her. It was an alright kind of holiday. Her dad was a bit on the strange side so we were wary of him.
It wasn’t long after Jo left Tamworth that Mim went down to Sydney to visit a friend. She also visited Jo in that space of time. Mum and I had the whole week to ourselves. Mum and I cooked together, went into town a few times, and also hired out videos to watch together. Before Mim came home mum said she was glad to have spent this week with me to get to know each other again. It was fun too. When Mim came back, Jo was with her to stay for a while. She only stayed for 5 days and then we decided I go back to Katoomba with her.
Having nothing to do seemed weird but good in a way. I was making the most of being able to travel around and just relax. I didn’t have any ideas really on what I wanted to do. I did want to work with animals, and enrolled in a Tafe course for this. This wasn’t to start until a couple of weeks so I made the most of my free time.
Staying in Katoomba was fun. I didn’t worry about eating too much, and I had no one keeping watch on me. Once again I felt free. I contemplated contacting Charles and Lana again seeing as we lost contact with them since we lived with them in 1991. I was nervous about doing this, but since I valued their friendship I went about to find them. They had since moved to Lawson in what used to be a convent. Now they had three children, all boys. Lana was surprised but happy to hear from me. We arranged a time to meet up, which was dinnertime at their house. Lana got the biggest shock of her life when she saw me and how much weight I had lost. She asked a few questions about it but I wasn’t too willing to speak. I enjoyed seeing them after all these years and decided I would do my best to stay in contact with them.
I left for home the next day. I didn’t want to go back home at all. On the bus trip home I felt home sick for the mountains, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I dreamed about moving down here and finding a flat with Jo. I thought I could also take Wolfgang with me. I knew however that this was only a dream because in no way was it practical at this point of time.
Mim had started a hairdressing course at tech with her best friend Rachel. My course was yet to start, so in the mean time I applied for jobs. My attempts were futile though, as I wasn’t exactly putting my heart into it. I spent a fair amount of time with Wolfgang trying to train him as the lady at the kennels had taught us to do, but it appeared a waste of time. He was becoming larger and a lot more uncontrollable. Sometimes he ended up bowling me over. He was dragged constantly back and forth to the kennels for more training lessons. All of which did nothing for him. Eventually we realised we couldn’t cope with him and that he would be better off with people who could handle him better. It was sad at the time, but also a relief.


The HSC was a terrible event. I studied for an incredible amount of time leading up to it. I spent hours in my room going over notes and memorising work I had done. Mum repeatedly called me out into the lounge room to watch television with them or talk with them. However I just wanted to stay in my room and study, or sometimes just stare blankly at what seemed useless information that will get me no where in life. It got to the point where mum became upset and annoyed with me for not spending time with them. To be truthful I actually preferred to be on my own. Sometimes Mim came in my room for a little chat bringing a dessert in or a little snack. Usually if she didn’t stay in the room the food ended up in the bin. I was becoming rather distressed from studying. Sleepless nights became common. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I felt so stressed that I left studying til too late in the year and I would never know all I need to know. Other nights I was awakened by horrific nightmares. I was so over tired ending up in the deepest sleep. My dreams often consisted of suffocation or someone trying to kill me. In my dream I struggled to be set free to breathe. I woke up startled letting out a quick scream. This happened three or more times a week. Weekends were fun because I slept in the spare room which was adjacent to Mim’s bedroom. We stayed up for hours talking and laughing. Every so often I startled Mim and woke her up because of my nightmares. She said all she could hear was cries and groans from me, then a scream. It was special having that time to spend with Mim though. We talked about everything and anything.
Mim and I shared a very unique relationship as sisters. Of course there were moments when we felt like tearing each other’s hair out. Still, our bond as sisters was too strong to ever let anything get in the way. It was quite amusing when we did have small arguments though. One of us was capable of seeing the funny side of the argument then starts to laugh. We never talked over any minor arguments as they were forgotten about within minutes. Mim and I also went on holidays together. Before the HSC began Mim and I went on a holiday to Katoomba to visit a friend we met the previous year when going to the BonJovi concert. Mim stayed for only two days, and I remained for another whole week. Over this stay I found it easier to not eat because no body was watching me. I thoroughly enjoyed my freedom and didn’t want to leave. I had it in my heart then that I wanted to move away from home and establish my life elsewhere.
Only a couple of weeks after I returned the HSC began. The first one was music, and it absolutely sucked. It wasn’t like the practice ones we did, it was much harder. I came home and all I could do to describe the exam was cry. I wanted to chuck the whole HSC in at that moment. Thankfully Mim talked me out of it. The day before the exam, mum and Mim went to town. They arrived home chattering non stop about this German Shepherd puppy at the pet shop. Our old German Shepherd lady died earlier in the year and poor Mozart (silky terrier) was on his own. I convinced mum to buy this puppy. We named him Wolfgang. It wasn’t long before we realised what a handful he was, so mum booked him into the kennel where they also do training on dogs. He came out after a week still as boisterous as ever. Meanwhile I was still studying for my exams. I ensure that the best day of the HSC is the last day. As soon as I came home I changed my room around to get rid of the study desk, then threw out all the study notes I wouldn’t need for the future.
The day right after the last HSC exam was the tour to Coffs Harbour for orchestra. This had to be one of the best trips I went on. The unreserved side of me came out and I totally enjoyed myself. Some girls and I ran a muck, which we were in trouble for. Because we got into trouble for making too much noise at the motel we were at, we decided to sneak out and go to the beach. It was pitch black and we couldn’t see a thing, but it was fun anyway. I completely let myself go for a change and I fit in with the crowd too.
The year 12 formal came around. Mim sewed my dress and it was absolutely gorgeous. This was yet another event of which mum didn’t come to. My friends were cool though and offered that I could borrow their parents. The formal was a formal dinner at the RSL restaurant. I was annoyed that everything had to revolve around food all the time. As I walked past the teachers some of them gaped at me, then remarked on my dress. They said it was beautiful except I need to put weight on because I looked sick. One teacher said I was anorexic and poked at my hipbones that were visible through the dress. I couldn’t believe she said that especially after I had eaten a meal and felt far from anorexic. After the dinner most of the grade went to the pub. Our group went for a little while for appearance sake but left early. Then that was the end to year 12.
Mim, Steve and I went on a holiday together to visit Jody in Katoomba. The trip itself was fun, but the eating issue was not. There was no way I could avoid eating around Mim and it became rather stressful. We all went to the Supermarket together to buy groceries to contribute for the week at Jo’s. There was absolutely nothing I wanted to eat, so I walked around extremely cranky. Mim got very cranky at me and said I had to eat or she would ring up mum and tell her. She said that I was just making myself look like a fool in front of everyone. So, I ate. But, I didn’t keep it in. I tried to make it a rule of mine not to throw up other people’s houses for fear of the drains and pipes blocking up, but there was no other way around this one. Except for the food issue it was a fun trip. We did many tourist like things, including walking on the Three sisters. We stayed in Katoomba for a whole week.
Christmas this year was heaps enjoyable. As German tradition we open our presents on Christmas Eve. Steve was around for this also. After we unwrapped our presents we felt like being daring. We dressed up in the most unusual clothes then went for a walk. We stood at the top of the street waving to cars as they drove past wishing them a Merry Christmas. Except for one egg thrown at us, other people were positively responsive. For the New Year we rang up people at random with made up telephone numbers and wished them a Happy New Year. Some people were friendly and others were rude and hung up on us. It didn’t bother me either way, I was just glad the year was over.

yr 12 -1994

School commenced in February. I remained with the same group of friends, so that was cool. I still felt isolated from them at times though. One of our friends had travelled to India in the holidays and she arrived a few days after school started. She had lost a little weight and I immediately saw green. I was afraid of losing my status as the skinny girl in the group. I noticed one day she only had an apple for lunch and showed a lot of concern. I explained the consequences of not eating, not even realising I was doing this to myself. My ultimate goal was to get her to eat again so she couldn’t get skinnier than me. That would mean she was better than I was and I couldn’t cope with that. In the end in turned out to be a phase lasting for about a week. Not many others noticed, and I was still the one getting the attention. At the swimming carnival I wore my swimmers that had very low back in them. People were shocked to see my back and commented on how they could the bumps in my spine. From that I only wanted to be skinnier.
Life appeared extremely dull and monotonous. I seemed quite cynical about most things, and had no enthusiasm. All days were the same and boring. I always longed for doing the things that other families did such as go on holidays or have family picnics. We rarely did that and it made me wonder whether we were a normal family or not. I had no real definition of a normal family, but I didn’t suppose it was a mother sleeping all day, and the children not doing much. The arguments we had with mum as a result of her “drunk” state were endless. At Easter time mum went on a holiday to Tasmania to visit friends. When mum went on holidays Mim and I had sudden urges to clean the house and make it look really nice for her. It was no surprise for us to find numerous empty wine cask hidden everywhere in cupboards, under beds, behind chairs and in drawers. They were even down in the back yard in our old cubby house. We threw them all out absolutely disgusted. Beer cans were a popular find as well. They were everywhere. It took more than two plastic bags to get rid of them all. It was more shameful than anything. When mum came back nothing was spoken about what we found. Mim and I were so aware of mum’s problem though so we were always watching mum. When mum was in bed we searched the house for hidden wine casks. When locating them we ether threw them away or hid them somewhere else leaving a note to say “I didn’t want you to drink me so I moved”. The first few times this happened mum never said a word, but we knew she was not impressed. She ended up finding other places for them which we didn’t know about. When this happened we knew that she’d have to get it out at some point in time to pour herself a drink. Mum waited until we got to bed before sneaking out her wine cask and pouring herself a drink. Mim and I were waiting for this to happen then sprung her in the act. Mum tried every excuse to defend herself but it didn’t pass. There was nothing really that we could do anyway, so we just spat out words such as “that is disgusting”. Mum was more in shock from being caught more than anything else. She called us sneaky little bitches. She tried to justify her secrecy and her alcohol by blaming it on us, saying she was sick of us running her life. We were worried about her life, not running it.
I had finally decided on the topic for my PIP. That kept me busy for the time being. I was doing it on my mother and her move from Germany to Australia in 1972. Only 4 years before I was born. I started this as soon as I thought about it because I was rather excited to learn more about my mother. I thought up a zillion questions to ask her, although not all were relevant to my project .it took many weeks to go through the questions with mum, in interview style. In a way it brought us closer together because we were actually talking a lot to each other. I was finding out many things about her and her life that I had not previously known. We ended up in long discussions about many things and I really got a lot out of it. After my final interview with mum she admitted how much she enjoyed talking about her life and her family. I then put a lot of time and effort into perfecting this on a friend’s computer, adding photos and other bits and pieces.
Doing my PIP, and music were were the only two subjects I put my whole heart in to. Society and Culture was the kind of subject where the class ended up in discussions. I enjoyed this class except for the fact that I was reasonably shy and quiet. I sat in class taking everything in but never really participating. Sometimes on the odd occasion I spoke. All of a sudden all eyes were gazing on me as if in awe that I had a voice. I suddenly became very anxious, aware of everyone listening to only me. My voice was the only sound in the room. I finished what I was saying in an extreme hurry so that I could climb back into my little hole where I didn’t need to speak and people couldn’t judge what I said.
My music class was a contrasting situation. There were only three of doing the class and I was beginning to feel confident with them. We had a lot of fun times in music, joking around but also getting to know each other. I let parts of my real self out, the
outgoing side of me that my school peers rarely saw. They did wonder out aloud what happened to the timid little girl who never said “boo” to anyone. Now I had an opinion, a sense of humour, and a voice. I enjoyed myself. Sadly mum opposed this change in me, saying they had turned me into a right little loud-mouthed bitch. She hated that I spent so much time with my music class having fun and especially resented the teacher for this. She assumed she was trying to take me away from her. The times I was supposed to go up to the school or to the teacher’s for a 3 unit music lesson, mum tried her hardest to prevent me from going. I managed to find my own ways up even if it meant walking up there. We fought often about this issue, and it never resolved it self in that time. It was only when year 12 was over that this was no longer an issue. I hated when mum was being so controlling like this, as she only made the situation worse. I desired more and more to get away from her. I remember one night when the class had a get together up at the teacher’s house. I gave mum no time of which I would come home, I just let her know that Pete would drop me off. When we pulled up at my house we sat outside in his car and just started talking. Time was slipping by then we noticed Dan(from our class) drive by. We wondered what on earth he was dong at such an hour driving around my street. He stopped alongside us and we asked him what he was doing. He told me that mum had rung him up frantically worrying about where I was. She also rung up the teacher, and Pete’s parents. If only she had looked out the window she would have seen Pete’s car. I was absolutely humiliated because I knew that mum would have been in one of her of the planet states from drinking. I dreaded to know what she really said to Dan. We fought about this and she called me an irresponsible selfish little slut. The issue was laughed over with the others but it didn’t help my situation in any way. It just proved how controlling mum was.
By now my low weight was becoming somewhat noticeable. Every second comment was on how skinny I was. Part of me loved this, but on the other hand it was annoying and difficult to believe. Mum began observing my eating habits and commenting on them, not trusting me if I told her I was eating. Mim and her had discussions about it and about what to do. One of their options turned out to be bribery. One Sunday I was studying before heading up to my music teacher‘s house. Mim entered my room with a sandwich and said I had to eat it before leaving otherwise I couldn’t go. It was a tomato sandwich, and all I wanted to do with it was throw it right at her face. I said I would eat it. She stood watching me waiting for me to eat this sandwich. I put it to her that I may not eat it, and then she stood in my doorway so I couldn’t get out. That gave me even more determination not to eat it for the simple fact that she could not rule my life like that. I told her she could shove her stupid sandwich because I wasn’t going to eat it. I then pushed past her to leave my room. Mim made some comment about how I couldn’t possibly think I was able to leave the house if I didn’t eat the sandwich. I told her to get lost in not such nice words. She then walked away. I got my things ready so I could leave and just wait outside. Mim had another thought in mind though. She grabbed my arm and told me I couldn’t go anywhere. I tried shaking her off but it was impossible. I managed t get free for a split second and bolted for the door. Unfortunately she beat me to it, slammed it shut then stood in front of it. I somehow pushed her aside and attempted opening the door but she pulled my hand back and stopped me. She held onto me saying I could only leave if I ate something. Eventually she realised I was not going to eat anything and let go of me. I ran outside and sat waiting for Pete. It was a relief to see him arrive. He was aware that something was wrong because I couldn’t stop crying. There was no way in the world I could tell him though, so we just drove in silence.
I continued to concentrate on my music and studies despite the tension at home as a result of me not eating. I built up a lot of confidence with my violin playing. Every second day or so I was rehearsing all of my HSC performance pieces to other grades in the school. I skipped a lot of classes doing this but it was heaps of fun. I developed the ability to play these pieces without the music which many thought was quite impressive. I was really enjoying playing for others and jumped at any opportunity to do this. My music class decided we should have a night to perform to anyone who wants to come. The thought of this made me unexpectedly anxious, yet I liked the idea. I was even able to play my new violin I had purchased only a few weeks before. I
had been saving for many months for nothing in particular. Mum suggested I buy a violin with it. She contributed an amount to help me out which I was grateful for. It was exciting to have my very own violin after so many years of borrowing one, so naturally I couldn’t wait to show it off. Mim and her friend Steve came to watch. I admit that it was one of my best performances ever. Even the teachers were amazed at how I had performed that night. I got such a buzz out of it and was on a high for the rest of the night. After the concert there was a little get together at Pete’s house. Everyone who was anyone was invited. Mim and Steve came along but wanted to have an early night. This I did not want because I was having too much fun, so I told them to leave without me. Mim wasn’t too impressed, but I wanted my own life and was sick of having it run by others. Mum went off her nut when she found out I stayed back at the party.
Just after the actual practical exam for music the class and the music teachers went out for a celebratory dinner. After dinner we went to one of the local pubs because Paul (one of the music teachers) was playing in his band that night. I ventured out a bit that night with having a bit to drink. Pete bought me drink after drink and I accepted. It wasn’t that I got drunk or anything, but I did get “happy”. The fact is that we had a lot of fun that night because a big stress was lifted off us. I arrived home to find mum still awake waiting up for me. I compose myself as best I could and greeted mum with a smile. She noticed I was a little glassy eyed, and showed her dissatisfaction by telling me I was drunk and to get to bed. There was nothing she could do about it anyway, and her comment didn’t phase me. It was actually refreshing not to feel obliged to study.


The arguments with mum were becoming more frequent at this stage. It was hard to tell what mood she would be in from one moment to the next. She had these strange moods which we could only refer to as her “weird mood”. Mim and I spent many a night in our rooms talking, and eating dry mini wheats. I liked to think of them as safe, but my mind got the better of me, and no sooner were they down the toilet. One night Mim taught me how to play the guitar. After that she couldn’t get me off the guitar for the rest of the night. When we were a few years younger we spent hours playing music and singing. Mim played the guitar and I played the keyboard and we sang in harmony with each other. Sometimes mum sat and listened to us for ages and requested songs such as “The Lonely Goatherd” from the Sound Of Music, or “The Rose”. That was a beautiful song, and I admit in vain that we sounded beautiful. One of my favourite songs was “Mister Sandman”. I had my own style of singing this with a very unique voice and manner of which I played. It was a song I could only sing to people who knew the humorous side of me. Others wouldn’t understand or even suspect that I had it in me. At Christmas times in previous years Mim and I used to give little concerts for mum, where we dressed up as little green elves. We often dreamed about being a famous duo, knowing in reality we would never get there. But, there was no harm in pretending. Music has always been an interest of mine however. Once in a while when I was younger I tried writing music. I was uneducated at that stage in my life (10 - 11yrs old) on exact notation, rhythm and how to form bars in writing music. I give myself ten points for trying. What I did was listen to a song, for example, the theme music for the show “Punky Brewster”. I then went to my keyboard with the melody fresh in my mind, then play it out as I thought it sounded. I had no idea of the length of notes, so I just scribbled dots onto manuscript that I had ruled up myself. I wrote the words at the end of the music. I was quite proud of myself thinking I was some amazing musician. As I entered high school I was taught how to write music properly. It was even more enjoyable to play then because I knew what I was doing. In year 11 I applied for a bursary at the Regional Conservatorium of Music to learn violin there. Surprisingly I got it. This meant I could have lessons there from a proper violin teacher at a cheaper rate. It also involved completing a grade in musicianship. This happened on Monday nights, so I tried my best to avoid eating much dinner before hand telling mum I didn’t have much time.
The vocal group at school was progressing to a great degree. I usually sang the harmony line in vocal group, just like I did with Mim. There were many nights where we would have to perform at some function somewhere. We performed at primary school choral concerts, or at opening events, and eisteddfods. The most devastating time was when the vocal group was going to Narrabri for an eisteddfod. I became extremely sick almost losing my voice, therefore being unable to go along. The thing I was annoyed at the most was missing out on the fun that everyone else would be having. I actually felt I belonged in this group and wasn’t just an alto voice who stood up the back. I resented mum for not allowing me to go. Even if I wasn’t able to sing I still desired to go just to be with the group. Another time I missed out on was for a concert called “Artsmix”. The weekend before it was the orchestra tour to Coffs Harbour. I was watching more of what I ate at this stage, or should I say didn’t eat. I know Mrs Robertson was keeping a close eye on me (and I later found out that mum had discussed my weight with her and requested her to watch me closely), so I had bits to eat here and there when she was looking. On the bus trip home I experienced
the most agonising pain in my stomach imaginable. It was that bad it was making my hair stand on end and giving me tingles. It came on and off for the rest of the night until we arrived home. I went straight to bed when I got to my house hoping I would feel better the next day. Unfortunately I didn’t, and I was sick for at least three days. The doctor had to come out to see me because there was no possible way I could move anywhere. He was concerned I may have had appendicitis, but was unsure. Instead he gave me a needle to take away the nauseous feeling, which ended up making me worse. As a result of being this sick, I couldn’t go anywhere, hence the reason for missing out on “Artsmix”.
My 17th birthday this year was fantastic. Mum and Mim held a surprise party for me. Most of the girls from my group came along, and we had heaps of fun. It’s the fact of not knowing about these things and then being so surprised that makes them so special. Mim had even baked a cake for me in the shape of a violin, and took a lot of care to ice it for me. My three closer friends at the time had all pitched in to buy me the BonJovi music video. I cherished this video and the thought that they put so much thought into it. I liked to think I really did mean something to them.
Towards the end of the year I was beginning to feel more distant from my group. I was in fact distancing myself from them. I guess I was withdrawing into myself in some ways. I was afraid of people disliking me, so instead I moved away from them and stopped including myself. I considered my self a burden on the group, and just wanted to whither away at times so they wouldn’t have to worry about including me in anything. There were just a few I would talk to but it was only ever superficial talk, nothing of great importance. I often preferred spending my time in the music room writing music, or simply studying. I was relieved when the school year was over and I didn’t have to face them for the next few weeks.
The school holidays were relatively quiet on the social side of things. I still did a fair amount of cooking. Mum and I sometimes cooked together which I really valued. We didn’t spend time together like this very often so it was very special .it was kind of weird because sometimes I didn’t know what we should talk about. But at least we had fun.
During the holidays Mim got a job at the local video store. It was only down the road from us. Julie worked there too at times, so she helped Mim get the job. Mum was happy about this because it meant Mim would be getting out more. Mim enjoyed the job, so that was good. I often went down to visit her after school was over. That was a bad move because I ended up eating the different flavoured ice creams that were there. As soon as I arrived home those ice creams were out of me. Mum didn’t suspect a thing because she didn’t even know I was eating them. I felt like such a pig.
I wasn’t looking forward to going back to school this year. I didn’t see my friends much during the school holidays. We had one social get together for a friend who was leaving town. There was food at this party and I used all my will power not to touch it. I didn’t care if I was the only one not eating. I just knew that as soon as I tasted anything I would have wanted more. It was a relief when the party was over.

year 11 - 1993

February, and finally school had started back. Being seniors now, we had new school uniforms. I loved mine because it was too big for me making me look even smaller. It was a great start to the year because I was still comfortable with a nice group of friends. I felt a lot more confident and enthusiastic than last year. We had claimed our spot on the year 11 plateau and we occupied that area until the end of year 11. I was also pleased with the subjects I had chosen, including the compulsory maths and english, science for life, music (related), modern history, and society an culture. I was also doing a joint schools TAFE subject Animal Attending. A friend from my group, Alison, also was doing this course. That was pretty exciting because we went down to tech together every Thursday during sports to do the course. We had heaps of fun and developed a good friendship over the year. It was fantastic to have a friend who shared similar interests as it allowed more of the person I was to come out a bit. Our swimming carnival was only a couple of weeks into the school term so Alison and I decided to make a statement. We wore these brightly coloured wide brimmed hats that were matching. We even had our photo taken for the school magazine.
Alison and I both joined the Vocal Group at school. A new music teacher started at school and formed the vocal group. There were only a few of us in it, but the sound we produced was incredible. This took up two of our lunch times a week, which did not bother me at all. I really enjoyed singing in this group. It was something I could do and enjoyed doing. It was a small group of people with whom I didn’t feel intimidated by. In fact, music was one of my favourite subjects. Towards the end of February our music class went on an excursion to Armidale for the weekend. This was an excursion to join with other music students over the state to learn more about what is expected of us for the HSC next year. I didn’t know the others from my class very well, and ended up branching off to meet other people. As we had to arrange our own accommodation, I organised to stay with Lyn at her aunt’s place. When dinnertime came I used the superb excuse of feeling travel sick all day therefore I wasn’t able to eat much. Her aunt and uncle were picking on my size telling me I needed to eat more. I told them I was okay, and not to worry.
The following day was a whole day of the music course. It was great fun. We did dancing, singing, writing music, playing music, and also played games. Being the shy person I was, I was hesitant when join in all these games and dancing, being overly self-conscious. I was glad I attended the weekend though because it gave me more of a chance to know the members of my music class. I knew they still perceived me as the quiet little good girl who did nothing wrong. I so wanted to open up and talk and just be natural. It was too hard though, because I felt they already made up their mind about me. I did come out of my shell a little bit though.
I arrived home from the weekend to one of mum’s “fabulous” moods. She informed me that I was to see a doctor the next day about my weight and to tell him I was anorexic. Yeah right. She was wishful thinking. There was absolutely nothing he could prove. I went along anyway just so I could prove her wrong. He asked all about my weight, telling me all the side effects of anorexia. He noticed I was getting thicker hair on my arms, but I told him it was nothing. I somehow convinced him nothing was wrong. He had his doubts, especially after weighing me and it was at about 45kgs. He mentioned that that was low for my age. I told him I did eat and so not to worry.
It was around this time when Mim got her L’s for driving. This was a terrible time of lost self-control on the food side of things. It’s actually shameful to write about, so I won’t write too much. As a result of Mim acquiring her L’s, mum taught her how to drive. This meant a couple of afternoons per week of mum and Mim leaving me in the house alone. I was so hungry when coming home from school that I ate absolutely anything I could think of. It usually consisted of a chocolate bar mum had bought for us each, and probably cheese toast. The chocolate was something mum bought for us every afternoon, to compensate for her purchase of alcohol. Even though what I ate was nothing much, I felt disgusted and ashamed with myself for having allowed that food in me when I shouldn’t have had anything. I then made myself up a chocolate milk drink because I knew that this would help me bring up my food. I absolutely hated to drink milk but I also hated having that food in me and did anything to get rid of it. I then quickly cleaned the toilet, always nervous about them coming home and finding out what I had done. Occasionally I accompanied them on their drives because I knew what was to happen of I stayed home. It was a complete lack of control, yet in way it was also freedom. I mean freedom to eat. I was so hungry, yet so habitual in my eating habits. Time alone meant time to eat because this way no one saw me, so no one knew that I actually ate these foods. I hated what I was doing. It made me feel dreadful in the stomach, and I would end up with constant stomach cramps and wind pain. It’s not like I was even eating much at the time, it was only because it was out of the ordinary to eat that food. I really liked the taste of it but feared how much weight I would put on because of it, therefore brought it all back up again. The chocolates became a weakness in me. I expected one every afternoon from then on. When it wasn’t there I saw red. I’m not sure if it was because I knew mum had bought alcohol and didn’t but us anything, or if it was because I wanted it. Either way I was angry about it.
Dinnertime was still the same where I would run into the bathroom for my shower as
soon as I had finished my meal. I figured out if I drank more fizzy drinks it was easier to bring up the food, even if it wasn’t straight after I had eaten. So, in order for no one to become suspicious of me always running to the bathroom after a meal, I waited for a while and allowed Mim to have her shower first. Meanwhile I would do the washing up, standing in agony with a bloated belly from eating and drinking. Sometimes it felt like I may explode. The only comfort I had was knowing that it would all be gone soon.
It was getting a bit harder at school to conceal not eating. To be truthful I was actually sick of the questions about not eating. One day for some reason I did eat. A few of us went to the canteen to buy something. I was really hungry therefore decided to be brave and eat something little. We came back up to the plateau to eat. The whole duration of eating was becoming horrendous. I imagined all eyes gawking at me eating something. I visualised the food entering my body and sitting in there, clasping onto the insides of my body. I dwelled on this for what seemed an eternity. I panicked and became anxious about this food. I suddenly felt trapped into a routine of eating. I couldn’t eat everyday, I wasn’t even meant to eat this day. I weighed up the consequences of what I just done, and realised I had to get rid of this food and never do this again. I was humiliated at the fact that I had permitted myself to eat and let go of my rigidity in front of everyone else. I made up an excuse that I had to quickly see a teacher. Others offered to accompany me, but there was no way I could allow them, because I wasn’t telling the truth anyway. I bolted off to the toilet and got rid of what I had just eaten. It was such a relief to know the food was no longer there. I returned to the plateau worried that someone may have known what I did, but thankfully it appeared that that wasn’t the case. But I was determined then never to let that happen again.
Academically, school was going reasonably well, but should have gone better. I had the potential to do extremely well, but at the time I only did what I felt like doing. I did concentrate on my studies and did achieve good marks if I concentrated hard. Anything below 80% was not viewed as good enough for me. A few times I topped the History class with almost 100%, and I also did well in maths. Year 11 was harder as there were more assessments to do than there were exams. For Society and Culture the major thing we had to do was our Personal Interest Project (PIP). I was keen to do my PIP on anorexia. My goal was to find out how it occurs, why it occurs, what are the side effects. I even would have liked to visit a hospital and speak to people who were suffering with it. My teacher advised me against this because it was such a broad topic to study. The reasons she gave seemed rational so I decided against it, although it was disappointing.
If only there were a checklist for anorexics then
at least we would know if we were doing it right
In the back of my mind I was thinking I could get tips from them about being skinny. The factor with people with anorexia is that we all have different ways of doing things. One may eat honey because it actually effects her bowels, the other may eat a slice of bread because it fills her up. The mistake people make is that they assume anorexics eat nil. That may be the case for some, but not for all. It’s like not all alcoholics get drunk on the same wine. Anorexia is about a fear of food and a fear of weight gain. It is also a fear of how others perceive us, especially when eating. We think it must be repulsive for a person to watch us eat because they are thinking the whole time about how we are becoming fatter. We select “safe foods”. It may be that we eat toast all day, or only eat lettuce. If we see a skinnier person it feels important to know of her diet plan. I didn’t have “safe foods” as such while I lived at home. It wasn’t until much later that I developed fanatical and irrational food fads. It was too hard at home because mum and Mim were so domineering. The only thing I could do was work out how not to eat often and then how to get rid of the amounts I had eaten. Despite what has happened, I dwell on the reality that I am a pathetic and failed
anorexic. I gave in to mum and Mim too easily being frightened of saying no to meals. I often reflect on how I should have been more determined, and even be more determined now. How does one believe someone who declares they have an eating disorder when they eat and are not thin? Throughout school I never believed I was “anorexic” because I have never had the mind of a total anorexic. But then I ask myself what is a true anorexic? The only aspect I have really failed in is that I never made it into a hospital bed to be dripped up to be fed. There were times I wanted so much to be there because it was becoming so much harder to avoid food. I was fed up with fighting against food. I was fed up with failing.

trying to fit in

Does anyone ever really fit in at high school? We try so hard to be in a group, but really we are still discovering ourselves. As people in high school we are only living up to other’s standards so that we may be accepted.
Aside from my eating problem, school still proved to be a problem. I was now drifting from one group to another trying to find a place to belong. I was continuously on the outer, a step behind the rest of the group as I had joined the group that moment too late. Along came my favourite friend “non-existent”. I swear I wasn’t meant to have been born sometimes. I felt as though I was invisible, literally having to push my way into a circle to be spoken to or noticed. Admittedly I wasn’t very talkative then. I never knew what to talk about, so found it easier to just listen. But, still I desired to belong in a group and feel secure.
One afternoon in a history class some girls from another group came to talk to me. I hadn’t had much to do with these girls at all because they were pretty much a quieter group. I found this very inviting and sensed that they were nice and genuine people. They asked me about what school I came from, and a bit about myself. They said that if ever I felt like it I could join them to sit with. On assembly mornings we had the choice to sit where we liked. Obviously I sat with whatever group I was in at the time. However, after talking to these girls that day, they saw me sitting with this group then invited me to sit with them. It felt unusual at first because I was actually being invited to sit with them. But at the same time I was delighted. They were a genuine and lovely bunch of girls. The classes we shared we sat together in. at lunchtime they told me where their claimed spot is and I joined them from then on. I did feel secure with this group, as they were similar to me in that they believed in having fun for having fun’s sake. Not to go and get drunk and make an idiot of yourself. We shared lots of laughs at lunch times. I was happy for a change because I could be myself as much as I let me be, except for eating. I had to think up excuses for not eating, as they were wondering why they never saw me eat. My excuses ranged from not being
hungry, forgetting lunch, or eating during class. I hated lying to them but I just couldn’t eat now. I was almost tempted so many times because I felt so comfortable in this group. I knew they wouldn’t judge me either way. We sometimes had social get togethers, which did make me anxious, as I had to work out ways to avoid the food. No one really noticed that I stayed away from the food so I wasn’t particularly worried. I was just safe in knowing I finally found a nice group of friends. Mum was happy for me to. She was a bit worried a first when I started going out more with these girls, fearing they were like the others. But soon enough she worked out they were far from that.
At the end of year 10 was our year 10 formal. Our school decided to have finger food in the canteen, which all parents are invited to, then have a disco including the rest of the school. Mum was adamant on not attending. This really hurt me as it was just one of the many things she never attended of mine. Her excuses were that she had seen Mim go through it all and couldn’t be bothered to go again because it was all so boring. Even when orchestra played mum tried not to be there. I once bought her ticket to go to a concert, and for the rest of the night she complained that it was boring and she would never go again. So when she said she wouldn’t come to my year 10 formal I was rather upset. In the end I arranged a lift for her from one of the girl’s (Pam) parents. She went along unwillingly, and left early. I tried not to let this bother me, as some people were in a worse situation. But, it did make me sad because all of my friend’s parents made a willing effort to see their children graduate from year 10. The rest of the night I made sure I had fun. After the disco, our group went to Pam’s house for a sleep over. This was a heap of fun. We had a real girlie night chatting and laughing. We looked through the school magazine picking out guys we thought were cute or not, or discussing people from our year that we just did not like. The next morning we went swimming in Pam’s pool. I was paranoid at getting in the pool because it meant putting on my swimmers. They were pretty pathetic swimmers, and did my body no justice. My thighs looked like tree trunks. I quickly ran into the pool so no one had to view this. I was so ashamed.
The school holidays then commenced. I was rather restless this holiday, and apparently moody too. Mum came into my room one day absolutely fed up with me and threatened to send me up to Queensland to stay with friends. I didn’t care. I figured if she did that at least I wouldn’t have to eat. Nothing came of that though so I’m not really sure if she really ever meant it. It was a nice school holiday because I had all different friends to do things with.
I had also developed an unusual fascination of food. I had a thing about looking through cookbooks and imaging cooking everything. I did a fair bit of cooking over the holidays, but felt horribly fat after anything I had cooked. It felt as though I had eaten the whole lot of food I cooked, even though I had only tasted little bits of it. I couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over so I could get back to school and back into the routine of not eating lunch.


“a condition of self-imposed starvation found most often among adolescent females.”
(Kaplan, 1991)
Sooner or later the group started labelling me as “anorexic”. They said I had to be one because I never ate. Well, after saying that I just couldn’t eat. It would be more for them to notice me eat now than not to eat. Nevertheless I tried to deny what they assumed. Brodie used to tell me she was getting really worried because I never ate and she didn’t want me to get sick. She tried encouraging me to eat little bits, but the more people do that the harder you try not to eat. The concern shown by them is great, but the moment a morsel of food passes those lips they are satisfied and are no longer worried that you may whither away. That’s why recovering is so hard. I had to stand my ground and eat nothing at all during school. This was becoming more noticeable. A lot of the group I hung around was in my music class. My violin teacher,Martin was our music teacher. My friends started to tell him about how I never ate. Soon it became the discussion of the day. There’s a difference between concern and annoying, and this was annoying. It even got to the point where they wanted me to prove them I was taking lunch. I couldn’t really do that though because I wasn’t. Oops, failed on that one. Martin was now becoming a bit suspicious on my eating habits. One day he appeared for my violin lesson with a newspaper article on anorexia. I think it may have been about some girl who died from it. He pointed his finger at it telling me that it was what I had. I laughed him off, telling him I wasn’t even skinny. I still was only determined to believe that an anorexic is someone who totally starves them selves, and was extremely skinny. I didn’t fit either category, although I was starving. I suffered terrible hunger pains, but fought them because there was no way I could eat. My body, I thought, was accustomed to not eating, so to eat again at lunch times would put it out of whack and make me put on weight. I could not give in, it meant failure. I never took money to school because the temptation to buy something from the canteen was too great. I watched my friends eat their lunch and yearned for the food they had. I yearned for the hole in my stomach to be filled. I was now starting to disassociate my self from food and from the group. The concept of lunch seemed strange, almost like letting my hair down too much and blending in with the group, when I seriously knew I didn’t fit in. then I didn’t want to be noticed for eating either. The hunger pains felt good because I knew I was getting where I wanted.
Thursday nights were challenging as I had to go basically 12 hours straight without food. I always had a ride home with the pianist, Jane Robertson. She was such a lovely lady and we talked heaps. One day she had to stop over at the shops to buy a few things. I waited in the car whilst she shopped. She came back handing me a mars bar, and I questioned her on this. She said I deserved it, and I need to put on weight. I hesitated before eating it, because I didn’t want her to judge me on eating it. Then I ate it very slowly, regretting every part of it. It wasn’t part of my normal day then to eat a chocolate so I felt very guilty. Every other Thursday I was satisfied with myself for having the strength to make it through the day. I would go to orchestra totally ravenous but trying to ignore it. When I arrived home, dinner would be waiting for me, all I had to do was heat it up. Because I was so hungry I gobbled it down as fast as
I could. I am surprised I even tasted it before swallowing. I even fit dessert in claiming I didn’t want to eat too late (as normal time for dinner was usually two hours before the time I ate on a Thursday night). All this time I knew I was headed straight for the bathroom anyway. Some nights I arrived home and my dinner wasn’t ready. Mum said it would take about half hour, so I should go and have my shower first. I immediately went into panic mode. I couldn’t have dinner after my shower, I just couldn’t. That would mean keeping dinner in me. That was not possible. I couldn’t even pretend I was sick therefore not eat dinner because mum wouldn’t believe it. And, to be honest I wanted to eat dinner because I loved the taste of mum’s meals. I tried to delay time by talking about my day, and then suddenly time went by so quickly there was no time for a shower. Other days I became dreadfully annoyed that my dinner wasn’t ready on time and had an outburst of anger. I then proceeded to make toast for myself because I wasn’t bothered to wait for dinner. I hated the fact that my routine was disturbed. It would totally stuff me up.
There was this girl in orchestra who was rather skinny. I am not sure if she was one of the lucky naturally skinny one or not, but I sure did envy her. I liked to comment on how skinny she was so I could get a reaction. It was the game of one of us saying how skinny one is, then the other saying, “no, you are skinnier”. We compared weight then. To my amazement I was a few kilograms lighter. I found this hard to believe as I really didn’t think I looked half as skinny as her. I told her she just must have heavier bones. From then I constantly compared myself to other girls. I constantly felt like a great big heifer when standing beside other girls who were, or seemed, smaller than me. I can’t say I ever viewed myself as fat, but I certainly never would call myself skinny. People told me I was skinny, but I thought they only said this because I didn’t eat. I guess I will never know. The big problem with people controlling an eating disorder (or should I say an eating disorder controlling them) is that we can never really see what we really look like. Our sense of size is totally distorted. Even now I am unable to discern what is and is not normal. I can look back on photos and still say I was far from skinny. This is why it is hard to admit we have a problem

year 10 -1992

I started my new school skinny and consequently had to remain that way. People made comments on my skinniness, asking if I ate, or was I sick. They said I better be careful or I may turn anorexic. Well, the thing is, the moment you start dieting, losing weight, and become very self conscious of your body I think it gives fair reason to say one is anorexic. That’s where the biggest trap arises. An anorexic does not think they are anorexic because they simply believe they are not skinny enough. I wasn’t anorexic, of course not. I wasn’t skinny at all. And I did eat. I always ate breakfast, which consisted of a toast with jam. I had to eat dinner, but had alternate plans with what to do with the food afterwards. I always made an excuse to have a shower after dinner, claiming that it helped me feel less full. They believed it so I wasn’t really worried. What they didn’t know was that it made me less full because I wasn’t really absorbing all the food. I was terrified of someone hearing me or walking in on me. I was aware that my actions were wrong, but unaware of how they were affecting me physically. I became very defensive when having a shower ensuring that no one was to walk in on me. They must have thought this was peculiar yet never questioned it. I felt as guilty and ashamed as anything but now it was becoming too frightening to not do otherwise. To mum and Mim I was having suitable meals through out the day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. In spite of this, my weight loss was becoming apparent. No one understood how I could lose weight yet still be eating. What they didn’t understand or know was that my intake of food was actually rather insufficient and not nutritional. Yes, I had toast for breakfast, and I did pack my lunch for school, and I did appear to eat dinner. But, the dog actually had my lunch. Before school in the mornings I fed my sandwich (which I had prepared the previous night in view of mum and Mim) to Lady. Every one was still asleep so they were oblivious to the fact of Lady was being fed my lunch. Poor Lady was probably gaining all the weight I was meant to have gained.
By this stage mum was becoming a bit concerned. She started asking around if I was eating or not. She even rang the school’s girl counsellor. She approached me one day saying she really would like to talk to me. I complied to this because once again I was doting on all this attention. I went up to the office with her and listened as she told me of mum’s concern for me. She then told me that I was looking thin and asked if there were any problems. As if I would tell her, I didn’t even really know her. And at this stage it still wasn’t such a big problem. It was, at the time, only a goal to lose weight, not totally a fear of food. I let her know that everything was fine and there was absolutely no problem. She questioned my weight loss and I just told her I must have just been growing up. She let me off the hook because there wasn’t really much she could do about it anyway. Soon after seeing her the overall school counsellor asked to see me for the same reason. I was becoming annoyed because I was tired of mum prying into my life and assuming things were wrong and that I had problem. However, I almost trusted her because she was such a lovely person. I gloated to my group that I was made to see these counsellors because my mum thinks there is something wrong with me. I was keen to see their reaction. I knew I was losing weight, but needed people to tell me I was skinny, ironically I refused to believe them, comparing myself to other skinny girls. I needed them to always acknowledge I was skinny and to notice I didn’t eat because I felt it was the only way to get noticed by them. To be honest, I seriously wasn’t happy in this group of girls. They were the “in” crowd and I so was not. I was extremely shy, barely saying a word to anyone for fear they may laugh at what I was saying. They were rich, affording new clothes, shoes, and whatever else. At home we coped with what money there was but couldn’t necessarily afford added luxuries. They spent weekends at party’s drinking smoking and getting with guys. I was far from doing that, it wasn’t even in my personality. I was aware that I was excluded from many things, but pretended I didn’t care. I was safe knowing I did have other friends out of school with whom I did have fun with. One friend was Lyn. I actually met her through my group of friends at Katoomba High. She used to go there but moved up to our home area a few months before I went to Katoomba. She actually became part of the family in some ways. Mum seemed more of a mother to her than her own mother. Lyn spent many weekends with us, and we had a lot of fun. She brought out a side in me that many people didn’t see. I felt confident and accepted by her, therefore was able to open up to her. We did quite bizarre things together. Sometimes she walked up to someone in the street and looked him or her straight in the eye and just laughed. Or we would stop dead in the middle of the street, look up above us pointing and making comments. Passers by stopped to look up as well, and sometimes we had a group of people around us.
Unfortunately Lyn experienced her own problems at home. Her father was rather aggressive and abusive. One night we received a phone call from Lyn’s aunt to inform us Lyn attempted suicide. This broke my heart. Thankfully she was caught in time and taken to hospital. We went to visit her a few times while she was in hospital, asking her about the issue and what made her do it. Sadly it was the influence of her father who told her to “go and kill herself”. It makes one realise that despite how happy and confident someone appears on the outside, they may feel all ripped up on the inside, causing consequences such as these. Lyn’s suicide attempt was a cry out for help to get out of the situation she was living in. Her aunt and my mum discussed alternative living arrangements for Lyn. One arrangement was for her to live with us and come to my school. I was really excited about this because her and I were like best friends. I thought having her at my school would solve all my problems. She moved in with her aunt in the end. I often went to visit her during school holidays. One holiday when I was there, her aunt and uncle took us to a dance night. It was really for older people but we had fun anyway waltzing the night away. There were sandwiches and other foods there, which we ate. We joked about trying most of the foods on the table then actually did this. An overwhelming indignity came over me. I couldn’t believe what I did. What a pig! As soon as we got back to her house I pretended I was feeling sick. I made a quick dash to the bathroom and got rid of everything I had eaten. After doing this I had to go on pretending I was still feeling a bit sick so I went straight to bed. The next day was good because I had the excuse of feeling sick from the night before so I didn’t have to eat much. I looked forward to holidays because it meant having fun with Lyn and not being depressed about my friends at school.
Despite my unhappiness at my new school I didn’t regret leaving my previous High. The new high school enabled me to concentrate more on music. It did also have a nicer atmosphere. Mum disagreed on this fact however. Because of the location of the school, in North(richer side of town), mum associated it with snobs. Suddenly I became the “little bitchy Snob”. It really saddened me that she saw me as this, but I was far from telling her I was unhappy there. She would have delighted in that fact, knowing she was right and I was wrong. Admittedly I did change, but so would anyone who changes schools. Mum often asked “What’s happened to the little girl who used to laugh and sing and play her keyboard?” I tried to convince her that I was the same person, although I knew I wasn’t. Instead I became defensive and said I was no longer a little girl, and I have more things to do now. Mum claimed I was becoming rather moody and grumpy, but didn’t relate it to weight loss. Neither did I actually.
By now, others were noticing my weight loss. If it wasn’t weight loss they noticed it was how skinny I was. One lady at a bus stop remarked that I was a skinny little girl, saying I looked like I needed a good feed. I said that it wasn’t true and that I could be skinnier. With that she gave me a strange look and said if I were any skinnier I would whither away. I gloated with what this lady said. A complete stranger noticing I was skinny. The catch with this I find though is the sudden desire to become skinnier.
It’s like living up to an expectation. Okay, someone has noticed you are skinny, now the goal is to become even skinnier. Weight loss in itself is an achievement. Anyone can score high in a maths exam and achieve an award for it, yet the only way people know is if they are actually told about it. Anyone can achieve high grades in music, but people need to be told about it. Then the problem with telling people about these achievements is that it looks like one is bragging about them selves and sooner or later they become the “squares” who people stay away from. Weight loss isn’t like that. It’s a slow achievement which doesn’t have to be told about. It is something people notice and comment on. Not something they resent you for, but rather something they are concerned about. It’s that little bit of attention that one desires. It is a visible need for attention, and this was one way of gaining people’s attention. I think though it may have become my topic of conversation around many people and may explain why I wasn’t talked to very much. The thing is that I wanted to fit in that group because they were so popular. I don’t know how getting skinny could have contributed to that. Looking back on photos I can see that I wasn’t happy in that group, and they didn’t really care about me either. It’s unfortunate that as we grow
up we don’t see how school has such a big impact on individuals. There is the urgent need to fit in and be accepted socially. The “popular” group places so much emphasis on being perfect, having money, and having boyfriends. If you don’t go out to party and drink and smoke that means you are nothing to them. They cast you out as though you are not good enough. Even living on the other side of town seemed unusual to them. I was rarely invited to events with them, and now I think it was probably for the better because how much would I have enjoyed it. Hardly! I managed to form a close friendship with a girl in this group, Brodie. She admitted to me that I was different from the other girls in that my mind and conversations weren’t always on the same things as the other girls. “Interesting” was how she considered me, and the others were boring. She wasn’t happy in that group either, but she remained in it.

linking on with FYBF at with some grace,  flash blog friday at twinkle in the eye, PYHO with things i can't say,

food not glorious food

Food, NOT Glorious Food

I was now discovering new ways to consume less, and to lose weight. It was supposed to only last for a short time. It’s not exactly a sane person’s idea of a diet
From then on dinner seemed easier to deal with because I naively thought that everything I consumed was disappearing. I didn’t really know there was an actual name for this disease (bulimia) and that it can become a serious disease. I thought it was something I could do for the time being and just stop. Now ten years later I am still ill with it. I have since found out that it doesn’t really get rid of the nutritional content of food, it just ruins your bowels and throat and intestines and digestive system. If I knew that then I would’ve been straight to starvation, not that that is any better for you.
We stayed with Charles and Lana for another two or so months, while mum recovered in rehabilitation. She was progressing remarkably well so the doctors decided she could leave early. Mum and I went back home while Mim remained for a couple of more weeks to finish a course she was doing.
I started back at the same high school, and immediately decided to cut back on my food intake. It was a gradual cut back, therefore not too noticeable. By the end of the day however I was so hungry so would end up going home and having something to eat. It usually turned out to be 1 or two slices of cinnamon and sugar toasts. These didn’t phase me too much at the time because I never really “kept” them in my stomach. At this stage the vomiting had no real effect on me so I figured it wasn’t too bad a thing I was doing. The only real thing I could link to it was the time I passed out at sport. We were playing netball for school sports, then all of a sudden my head felt dreadfully odd. Everything was spinning, then things in front of me went all fuzzy and black. Next I knew I was on the ground. No one associated it with my eating because no one knew. I was even unaware at the time, so I didn’t really care.
The year continued on like this. I started drifting further away from my friends and became quite lonely. I felt everyone was always talking about me, or laughing about me. I just didn’t belong. One of my old friends told me I had changed, and it wasn’t for the better.
When returning home I thought it would be nice to take up violin lessons again. I had previously learnt the violin from age 8-12. Mum sought out a teacher for me so that I could learn. He was a school music teacher at another High School. I travelled up there once a week by school bus for my lessons. The more often I went there the more I desired to go to the school. It was a school established to cater for performing arts. From then I made my decision to finish my schooling at this school. I had my last two days of year nine at this school, so this way I would have a vague idea of the school, and form a few basic friendships.
It was towards the end of the year that I had joined the Regional Youth Orchestra. My position was as second violin. We had an annual tour to the coast in November, and that was quite scary. I didn’t really know anyone, and was rather shy. I thought this would also be a great opportunity not to eat much, so I didn’t. on the way home it took its toll. We had a stop in a little town to but lunch. I refused to eat anything, drawing in all the attention I could. “Why aren’t you eating?” “I think you should eat something.” On and on they went. Then it happened again, all the things in the room were spinning around. It actually felt as though my head was disassociating itself from my body. I tried telling someone I felt funny, but I don’t think I quite said the whole sentence before I fell on to the hard floor. I could hear voices around me but it was as though they were from another realm. I wanted to say I was okay, but I could not even get those words out. Finally I came to, and was made to have a drink. I refused to eat and said it would just make me feel sick. Naturally I had to tell mum about it so I just told her it was from the heat. She had no reason to think otherwise.
The Christmas holidays arrived and I believe this was another turning point for me. I was anxious about starting a new school the next year and wanted to fit in and be accepted. I had to look perfect. I couldn’t start a new school looking fat. I reduced my food intake, and increased my exercise. To do both of this at my house inconspicuously proved to be difficult, as my family liked to know everything that was going on. If I was to go in my room, I was questioned if something was wrong. Sometimes I was ashamed to go in my room because I was sick of the questions. Most of my exercise was done while mum was asleep, and while Mim was at work. The thing with exercise though is that once you start the more compelled you feel to do more. I was becoming quite proud of myself as the weight loss became evident. Mum was becoming frustrated with me though as it was at this time that my moods appeared erratic and unpredictable. I was no longer the sweet little girl whom everyone enjoyed talking to.
linking with things i can't say  for pour your heart out, with some grace for FYBF, twinkle in the eye for flash blog friday, you know it happens at your house too for TGIF  and learning to play and playing to learn for flash back friday

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

food, glorious food

I still wonder today if people can really consume so much food in a day

Lana made sure she packed my lunch every day. Now I’m not exactly sure if she was packing lunch just for me or if it was for my friends too. I had a smorgasbord of food every day including a sandwich, sweet biscuits, packet of jelly lollies, muesli bar, and a piece of fruit. I was never used to taking this much lunch too school, and wondered how on earth I could ever fit it all in. so, I didn’t. I shared the lollies and biscuits, gave away or threw out the muesli bar, ate the sandwich, and took home the fruit. Lana assumed I was eating everything everyday, not even noticing that each day would appear one extra piece of fruit in the bowl. Until one day when a disaster happened on the school bus home. The place where I kept my fruit was the side pocket of my school bag, I thought it was safe there, but it wasn’t. Someone walked along and accidentally stepped on it. I was horrified, how could I ever explain the squashed piece of fruit that made a mess of my school bag. Lana was quite disappointed in me when she found out I had been taking my fruit home and not eating it. It then clicked with her why I was so ravenous when I arrived home. Not much of it was discussed after this, but I knew she wasn’t impressed.
Dinner was a double smorgasbord with a plate loaded with food. We had sit down meals every night at the kitchen table. That was something different in itself for Mim and I as at home we sat in the lounge room and ate casually. They then tried a reward/punishment system. We eat dinner we get dessert, no dinner no dessert. Well the second of two things took both our fancy so we usually left some of our dinner on our plate, knowing we would not get dessert. However, they soon caught on and one night they tried to make us eat dessert even though we didn’t eat all our dinner. We bolted for our bedroom and sat in front of the door so no one could get in.
I guess having us stay with them they felt they were responsible for us in many ways, but Mim and I wanted also to do things our own way. We never wished to ask for money from them therefore seeking out other means in which to acquire those things we wanted. Quite often we spent weekends going shopping at the plaza, coming home with may things, yet none of it we had bought with any money. We stole every little thing we could think of. I sometimes wonder if Charles and Lana ever wondered how we were able to buy so many things. Thankfully our morals took over later on, and our conscience and we did break the habit.
As for food though, a game turns into a habit, which then became an addiction. Over the weeks I felt myself ballooning. I used to write to my friends back at home saying that they would not recognise me as I have gained a lot of weight. I was worried of how they would view me coming back as a bigger person, so decided I needed to do something about it. I was too embarrassed going back to Tamworth looking as I did. Sadly only now can I see that I wasn’t even near fat, but it was only because I was eating more that I felt this way. I regret every moment regarding food from then on.
It was one night after dinner when I decided that I couldn’t keep this food in my stomach. I thought if I had my shower after dinner the sound of the running water would disguise the sound of vomiting. I was so scared, scared someone would find me and scared the pipes would block up. I wasn’t afraid of actually doing it though because I had done it before, and the only thing in my mind was that I was getting rid of food.

linking with things i can't say for pour your heart out
                      twinkle in the eye for flash blog friday
                       with some grace for flog ya blog friday
                      learning to play and playing to learn flash back friday

year 9 -1991

Year 9, 1991
The Manifestation

It eagerly crept into my body, but it is not so eager to leave
This was more of a significant year for me than any other at the moment. In a way it’s when the eating disorder really began to rear its ugly head. I believe that it is always there but is obscure. It manifests it self in small ways at first making it less obvious that a bigger problem is yet to take over. Then sooner or later it emerges completely and that’s when it becomes the trap. Anorexia is not a disease I have, but a disease that has me. I feel I am encased by it, frightened to step out, fearful of what will happen with out it. At the moment I am at a stage where I have opened the cage and I have gone wandering to find out what will happen. The door is still open for me to come back, and occasionally I step in for a quick look. I want to be able to lock that door behind me and never return. I am afraid, yet sometimes curious, that if I step back in it may be for good and I will never have the opportunity to come out again.
I began year nine this year. It seemed like any normal year to me. This was the year we were able to select our own subjects, and I must admit that I was rather content with the subjects I had chosen. It was a bit disappointing that I wasn’t able to do German, but instead I did sculpture. School aside, all other things were going well, until one Sunday when Mim, John (a friend) and I decided to go on a picnic. We had this picnic planned for only a couple of days, but were really looking forwards to it. Mum agreed to let us go, yet sometimes with her it’s hard to tell because she may say one thing then go back on it and use it to make us feel guilty. She sometimes used loneliness as an excuse. I can understand how she wanted to be involved in her daughter’s lives, as she was lonely, and she was afraid of losing her only family. Sometimes it got to the point though that enough was enough. We are individuals who had a life of our own. I did feel sorry for her, but I also felt claustrophobic from her. Our friends all thought she was great (and I don’t deny that she was). Not every parent tries to be involved in their children’s lives and have fun. When mum was in one of her ‘I feel like being cheeky” moods we had a riot. She rang up the local pizza stores and asked for a pizza to be delivered to her, but gave the address of the family in our road. We would then all sit and watch as this pizza got delivered to this family. It was rather funny considering it was a 50 year old woman’s idea. Mum often allowed Mim, a friend and I to go for walks at night providing we didn’t go too far or get up to too much mischief. Sometimes we removed For Sale signs from one house to another, or we took bins from the kerb and left them on someone’s front door with a note saying “I loved you so much I followed you home”. Mum was cool with this because she knew about it, and we weren’t harming others or ourselves. So, basically I guess she was like any other parent, but sometimes was more involved than should’ve been. If she was having an off or lonely day, we knew about it in the sense of having a guilt trip played on us. Back to the morning of the picnic day, Sunday. Mum awoke extremely early claiming she felt very peculiar. She said that one side of her felt all stiff and she couldn’t move it. We were unable to discern whether it was the truth or not because we had had a fight the night before about going on the picnic and how we would be leaving her alone yet again. We told her she should ring an ambulance if the pain was that severe because there wasn’t anything we could do. She retaliated with saying that we didn’t care if she was dying, and we were selfish, an ambulance couldn’t do anything for her because she refused to go to hospital. A minute or so later the pain miraculously disappeared, she went back to bed, and remained there even when we left for our picnic. This gave Mim and I good reason to believe she was giving us the usual guilt trip trying to stop us going. We drove out to a creek for the picnic and also had a swim in the river. It was a glorious day, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Sadly our day took a turn for the worse when we arrived home in the afternoon to find mum unconscious on her bed. Naturally we all went into panic mode, not thinking straight about what we should do. Instead we stood there wondering how long she had been like this for. Eventually we rang an ambulance, which took her up to the Base Hospital. We all went up shortly after. Mum had been placed in the Intensive Care Unit, and would soon be flown to Royal Newcastle Hospital. A blood clot had formed in mum’s brain as a result of a fall on Friday night, thus causing something similar to a stroke. Her head needed to be operated on urgently to remove the clot. It was distressing to see mum hooked up to the machines. She did not recognise us, and was mumbling something in German. Both Mim and I were scared for her life.
The next day at school I barely told a soul what had happened. I didn’t know how to tell them because I didn’t know how I should conduct myself. The only person I told
was my year adviser, and that was only after Mim and I discussed what we should do and where we should go. Our options included staying at home and every second day Mim’s Godparents would drive us to see mum, or having regular payments sent to us by Charles and Lana. Lastly, pack our bags and stay with Charles and Lana, (who had moved to Katoomba), until mum recovered. We chose the latter on the grounds that we were unsure how long recovery would take. So we packed our stuff and waited for Charles and Lana to come to us to take us back to Katoomba. We were to stay with them and their young sons indefinitely.
During our drive to Katoomba, Charles commented that we both looked slim, Mim especially. He said we were both malnourished, possibly anorexic. There, that word again. Anorexic. He said it meant a person is too skinny but thinks they are fat. Well that didn’t fit our description at the time, because both of us were happy with our body shape. We got into a further discussion about it and I believed at the time that it was just a label for skinny people who needed fattening up. I think it was their goal then on to keep us from anorexia.
We stopped at the hospital mum was at, to see how she was. It was a few days after her surgery so she was still pretty weary. Mum recognised Charles, Lana, and the boys, but didn’t know Mim or me. We both quietly found this hard to cope with, but neither of us spoke up. The whole situation was traumatic enough, especially seeing mum in the state she was with drips hanging everywhere, and staples in her head from where it was cut open. It was a result of this situation that mum's problem with alcohol became apparent. Charles approached Mim and I one day to let us know of the alcohol level the doctors drained from Mum, and that she still had a high level of alcohol in her blood. Naturally we found this hard to believe so denied every word he said. Who wants to believe their mother is an alcoholic. Maybe sometimes she drank too much, but surely that doesn’t class her as alcoholic. It must be a ploy for us to turn against mum, or he’s just exaggerating the truth. Nope, it’s all true. It explained her strange moods, one minute happy and normal, the next cranky and weird. It also explained the strange glare she sometimes had in her eyes. At times mum sat on her chair and looked at you but really she was looking no where. Her mind was consumed by alcohol. I often wondered why mum couldn’t walk a straight line down the hallway, or why she had to keep her hands on the wall to remain steady as she walked. I believed her numerous excuses of tripping over her slippers or the rug then landing on the floor. Sometimes late at night when Mim and I were in bed we would hear a thud then a cry for help. We ran out to see mum in a heap on the floor, claiming she slipped. Well, now we discovered the truth, and it wasn’t going to get any better. The nights of her falls became frequent and infuriating. Some nights neither of us got up to assist mum to her feet. Other nights we ended up in fights about her alcohol. We told her it was the drink doing this to her, and she mumbled something that didn’t make any sense. She went to bed angry and awoke late the next day not remembering a thing about the night before. This was more frustrating than anything.
Alcohol was clearly something mum tried to hide from us over the years, but sadly we found out the wrong way when she ended up in hospital. As mum was recovering in hospital, Charles and Lana thought it would be in my best interest to be sent to school. This really worried me as I had never changed schools before. But it was done, I was soon enrolled at Katoomba High School. Surprisingly I really liked it there and had no trouble fitting in and making friends.

linking with things i can't say for pour your heart out
                  twinkle in the eye for flash blog friday
                 with some grace for flog ya blog friday
                you know it happens at your house too for TGIF
                 learning to play and playing to learn for flash back friday blog share
                diary of a SAHM