I think I shocked just about everyone for my next trip up home. This was a special trip because it was Courtney’s Thanksgiving. I didn’t even have to wear revealing clothes to show how skinny I had become because it showed everywhere, from my face to my bony hands and my bony feet. The day of the Thanksgiving I wore a long skirt which was a size 8. That was even too big for me and fell off my hips so I had to pin it up. The challenge that day was the party afterwards and dealing with the food. Mim knew how bad I was by now so didn’t force me to eat anything but requested that I at least eat something so people won’t say things and also because it’s Courtney’s day. I’m actually not really sure how I handled the situation but it must not have been too traumatic.
I visited Deanne quite a few times during my stay. She was sadly terrified at how I had become but never told me this. Mim told me later that Deanne referred to me as one of her worst patients she had ever seen and I shouldn’t be walking around at all. Mim and Deanne had discussed the ramification of my health situation and it scared Mim. Deanne said that my heart could have given in at any time now because of the stress I was putting on it, and I was doing serious damage to all my other organs. I weighed 38kgs at the time. Deanne told me that I was actually close to recovery around the time before mum died, I weighed in then at 50kgs. I never remembered weighing so much and I’m sure if I did I would have done something about it. But now I was far from healthy, I was ill both in body and in mind. The whole thing had consumed me. Deanne told Mim that I was so far gone now that it would take a miracle and big steps for me to come out of it and there was nothing really anyone could do now except be there with me. Mim kept asking what can she do for me to want to put on weight but I could never answer her. I could only ever tell her that I was alright and I didn’t need help because I didn’t understand that I was so close to death.
Obviously I did come through that period and I sometimes wonder how I did. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like for Mim to watch her own sister do this to herself and not be able to stop me. I didn’t want to be stopped because “I was fine.” the struggle did get worse though before it got better. Once hearing that I had achieved “anorexia” it was my objective to go even further. A few more kilo’s off wouldn’t hurt. I was eating bare minimum as it was so it’s not like it was going to make any difference.
I was at a point where I was absolutely obsessed with food and weight and was terrified to eat any other food than that which I prepared myself. Once upon a time it was my afternoon treat to stop at the newsagents on my way home and buy a milko and a freddo. But one day it dawned on me how much actual fat was in these and I just couldn’t bear to swallow anymore. From that day on I forbid myself from having this treat. My diet was pathetic and tasteless, consisting of tea, tea and tea, water icy poles, and bottles of fanta. My tea had to have skim milk in it otherwise I couldn’t drink it. I was in a small church bible study group which met at someone’s house once a week until the end of the year. After study we’d have a chat and tea and coffee. The only way I could have a cup of tea was if I made it myself and put my skim milk in it which I brought along in a small drink bottle. One afternoon I went to make a cup of tea for myself at home and to my horror there was Farmer’s Best milk in the fridge instead of my Shape skim milk. I tried reasoning with myself but after reading the nutritional value on the front and discovering it had slightly more fat and kilojoules in it then skim I stopped myself having the tea. I couldn’t believe Lana would buy Farmer’s Best when I specifically told her to buy skim. Lana apologised but I still was not happy. I imagined and became paranoid that they were trying to fatten me up and deceive me buy buying food and drinks with higher fat contents thinking that I wouldn’t notice. After that episode I became extremely suspicious of Charles and Lana worrying that they were tipping the contents of the skim milk carton down the sink and replacing it with full fat milk. When I went to people’s houses I brought along my only little drink bottle of skim milk.
In the hotter months toward the end of the year I developed an addiction to water icy poles and also fanta soft drinks. A great thing I found to have was the callipo ice things in a cup. I walked for 50 minutes to get one then eat it as I walked home, knowing the effect it had on my bowels. Sometimes I was so scared I wouldn’t make it home in time but thankfully never had to cross that hurdle.
In the mornings I walked to Hazelbrook train station which took about 40 minutes, stop off to buy an icy pole to fill me up for my train trip to Penrith. From Penrith I walked to Tafe in Kingswood, taking about 50 minutes. On the way I stopped at McDonald’s to buy a large fanta to keep me going for the rest of my journey. I look back now with only regret unfortunately thinking I could have lost even more weight by avoiding those drinks, because they are only packed with sugar. Then at tech I ate nil and virtually drank nil. A few teacher’s became rather concerned about my weight loss and were now hounding Hanna to find out if I was alright and she told them I would be okay and that I was receiving help for it. The truth was though that I wasn’t okay and I wasn’t receiving any helpful help.
I had deceived myself into thinking I was fat though and that I just could not eat. To even eat a no fat rice cracker was a definite no no. I was so tempted because I knew they were nice, but the moment I considered the effect it would have on me I passed the offer up and was quietly relieved. I was now weighing myself constantly too. It had to be at the right time every morning, after brushing my teeth to get rid of any hiding kilojoules, and after shaving my legs to take away the excess weight of the hair on my legs. The bathroom scales used to be out in the open on the bathroom floor, but as I started to lose weight they disappeared. I became frantic about its whereabouts then looked in the cupboard in the bathroom and found them.
One night Lana pulled me up as I was walking back to my room. she said she wanted to discuss my eating and how it’s affecting the family. I just nodded, half the time wanting to laugh. I was a bitch and I just didn’t realise she cared. Lana said that she noticed I was losing weight and not eating and she did not know how much longer she could take responsibility for this. I could not see her point. It was my life and if I
wanted it to be this way it would. But if I wanted it to be that way Lana basically said I had to move out. Lana was so concerned about my well being and understandably she didn’t want to be answerable to Mim if I had died. Death was the last thing on my mind. I was indestructible and I just thought Lana was trying to threaten me into eating. I told Lana I would make more of an effort but we both knew without saying that I really wasn’t going to try any harder than before. I went to make my (probably) 10th cup of tea and went back into my room.
My room was my dwelling place. I had my bed in there, my desk, my phone, and my television. I was like just a ghost living there. I went past the kitchen every now and then to get to the bathroom. Late at nights I snuck in the kitchen to have a spoonful of honey because I found it had a diuretic effect on me the next day.
I rarely sat down with the family to have chats. That was the anorexia getting me caught up in my own little world pushing away those who really cared. I used to enjoy sitting watching television with Charles and Lana, having a laugh and a chat. but eventually I separated myself from them and became a loner in house full with people. My paranoia got the better of me and told me they didn’t want me there any more and that I was a pain and just something to laugh about because I felt so incompetent about everything I did.
Time to go back home for the good old Christmas holidays. I knew I was skinnier than before, my clothes told me. I didn’t think I was overly skinny though, I felt normal. Part of me hoped though that someone might comment on some weight loss otherwise it feels like I have achieved nothing.
The first comment I got was from Jane from the Youth Orchestra. I went to the practice for the Christmas carols that year. She looked me up and down and asked if I was well. Of course I was, I was on top of the world. I was just blind to the fact that bones were protruding from my chest, elbows, feet and hands. My collarbones were so hollow that they probably could hold one litre of milk. My nose and my neck seemed so much longer because my face had actually shrunk so much. And my spine could be counted even through my clothes. Yep, I was really well.
Spending time with old friends this holiday was difficult because I was worried I wasn’t skinny enough, or that they may have become skinnier. I always was so anxious even to the point of tears about this. I no longer felt connected with any of the girls except for Pamela. It didn’t bother me that much because I had new friends anyway.
My friend Donna was actually coming up just after Christmas. That was heaps exciting because I could show off the place I grew up in, and it was a great opportunity for Mim to meet my best friend. however the first day there was already an embarrassment. Writing about it seems funny but I know what context it happened in so it wasn’t as funny. Donna and I were sitting on the lounge and James was telling her about the cherry tomatoes he grew, then next thing he had squished them all on my head. I certainly didn’t think it was funny and Donna was just horrified.
The next day proved to be better. I took Donna to my church up there. We ended up having lunch at joe’s and Lee’s (the minister and his wife), then we all went for a swim. It was one of those days when you wish that everything could always be as fun as that time. It was a time I wasn’t so focused on food. I was just having fun.
A few days after that I made an impulsive decision to cut all my hair off. It felt so good to be different, and it suited me so much. Donna left on the last day of the year. It was sad to see her off because it was supportive having her with me during that time just to have chats with.