“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