You’ve gotta want the help to believe the helpI came to a half conclusion that holidays and counsellors contributed to my going off track. Not that I am blaming any one thing though because an eating disorder is a conglomeration of things. Within a few weeks of starting Tafe I had my first appointment with the eating disorder psychologist down in Sydney. To begin with I felt out of place going there because I didn’t feel skinny enough or in a bad or serious way. The counsellor weighed and measured me. I was 44kgs and 157cm tall. So yes, I was underweight but not too bad. From the moment I saw her I didn’t like her. She was a frail looking older women who appeared so disinterested in what I was saying. Often I caught hers eyes half closing and it was an immediate cue for me just to finish the sentence I was on.
I also had to visit the dietician there, who was nicer than the counsellor. My visits to her didn’t last long though because I never followed through with anything she said. In one day she expected me to eat so much. Well, it appeared a lot. If I had eaten what she wrote on my diet plan I would basically be eating all day long. So, instead I created myself more of a problem by not eating. One day when I went to see her she said I was wasting both hers and my time because it is obvious that I am not following through with anything. I knew she was right and agreed with her. The only reason I really was going was to please Charles and Lana. I had no real desire to get better at this stage. I still continued seeing the counsellor though in the hope that maybe she could actually do something for me and I may in the end want to get better. But, the visits just became more and more pathetic. She tried blaming mum’s alcohol and her death for a lot of things. I agree that it contributed to the situation but only a part of it, not to the point where I had so much built up anger inside of me and needed to let it out. She tried making me do what she called the “empty chair technique”. I was to close my eyes and stand over this empty chair and pretend mum was sitting in it. Then I was meant to let out all my feelings about how it was living with her and how her death affected me and whatever else. I took one look at the chair and only imagined how ridiculous I would look yelling at an empty chair. So, I refused to cooperate. What I was in agreement to do was write a letter to mum to say what I felt. This seemed like a good idea because I knew I communicated better through writing, not speaking.
To write this letter was one of the hardest tasks though. I never really knew, or wanted to know how I felt. I got through writing one paragraph and burst into tears, I missed mum so much. I missed being able to hug her or touch her. I missed ringing her up and telling her something. I came to the understanding that I was angry with her though for leaving me. I figured had she not have died we wouldn’t be having the arguments about the house, or other things. I felt as though she had abandoned me actually and I resented her for that.
Although having felt abandoned I also strangely felt free. I was angrier at the fact that she left me on my own when Mim had someone to lean on. I knew I was on my own though and I had to make it. I was in a different place, creating a new life for myself without any boundaries or limits mum would have put on me. This is the way in which I felt free. I was on my own gaining independence, and living a life of my own without mum trying to be a part of everything. It was scary thinking that I had this freedom and I felt guilty for even thinking it. It was as though I was starting a whole new world and learning all over again. I was hesitant to go and explore for fear of failure and fear of what other’s thought of me.
I welcomed this freedom but believed it was too early for me to have to be without a mother. I yearned for a mother and to just have a normal family. It was only Mim and I now, as all our other relatives were in Germany, and we barely knew any of them.
I looked up to anyone as a mother figure, and often found myself talking with one of the teacher’s at tech, Carol. She had a motherly personality and appeared to care and take an interest in my life. Going over to Hanna’s place was heaps of fun too because her mum was very motherly and I felt really welcome there.
Family life at Charles and Lana’s wasn’t so hunky-dory. As much as I loved Charles and Lana and living with them, I started to find it harder to cope living there. The reason I found it hard was because I had such a strong drive to get skinny, to get “anorexic”. they had other plans. Here were a caring nurturing family right under my nose, desiring me to be healthy and happy. Because our plans clashed and were so different, it became hard. I was feeling anger towards them because my “anorexic mind” told me that they were trying to make me fat, and that it was more important for me to be skinny. Eating meals was one thing I really started to dodge especially after starting to see the counsellor in Sydney. It was good when tech finished late because I said I had something to eat. They knew I was lying though I think, it was evident in my weight loss.
The thing that got to me the most was the way in which they tried to change who I was as a person and I found it so hurtful. The first negative comment Charles made was about my teeth, and how come I have never considered getting braces. It was his mission to get me to a dentist to get braces to straighten my teeth. I objected to this questioning why he would want someone like me who has low enough self-esteem as it is, to get braces and have even lower self esteem. I appreciated the fact that he was concerned, but didn’t see the need for him to be rudely upfront about it. The next thing they tried to change was my dress sense. To them wearing jeans, jumpers and shoes wasn’t lady like enough. I needed to present myself as more of a lady by wearing skirts, stockings and high heels. I wasn’t going to put up with this comment and I took myself by surprise when I actually answered back. I was comfortable in the clothes I wore and they were also practical for the type of career I was entering. I told him that if he didn’t like what I wore then he didn’t have to look at me. The issue ended up being resolved very positively