I am now living with a great family. I tread carefully though because I never want to intrude. I am living with Crystal’s family, actually in her room because she has moved out. The funny thing about living here is that Crystal also suffered an eating disorder. I can’t run away and hide here, because Jane (her mum), knows it all. I am feeling like the child again, who needs to be accepted and loved, who needs to be acknowledged, and all these things I am getting. When I was so sick and couldn’t leave my own bed, Jane was there looking after me, giving me juice and just checking how I was. I remember mum always doing that. After she died I so craved to be looked after like that. Mum used to have us lay out on the lounge if we were sick, and look after us there. It’s funny how even at 26 years old I want to be looked after when I am sick.
They are what I call a normal family though. Each person is an individual, yet they are aware of the others in the house. They go out, on their own and as a family. I feel too lucky to be here in some ways. Jane is a great support for me with the eating. I think because she knows exactly what’s going gone, and how tormenting it is, she can understand it a little better than most. She actually helped me stop taking laxatives, which is the biggest relief. I gave the whole box to her, and feel too guilty to buy another box. Occasionally I raid my room in a desperate search of them, but never find any. I have even started eating dinner regularly. Some days I absolutely hate it. When dinner is served all want to do is hurl it across the kitchen and say “stuff your bloody dinner.”. I know Jan wouldn’t put up with that for starters, and she would talk me through it, being totally aware that it is just the eating disorder talking. And me being how I am I just o along with whatever pleases everyone else. I feel privileged I have spoken to Mim recently about some of what Liz and I talk about. I never knew if she still wanted to know about the eating side of things so I usually avoided it. One day I told her something brief about it, and she sounded positively interested, and questioned why I never talk about it with her. The only reason I could come up with was that I thought she would be absolutely sick of hearing about it now. We started talking about Mum and her struggles, and I am starting to understand that Mim and I view things very differently. I never thought it was fair that we were both raised by the same parent, yet have developed so differently. Mim is a great person and the best sister anyone could ask for. She has a very strong personality, is independent, fairly secure, and always sees a positive side of things. I am pretty much the opposite. I crave security, am dependent on others to some extent, and I don’t always see the positive side of things. I have developed an unhealthy anger towards Mum for our childhood, because I feel we missed out on something. Mim on the other hand understands with maturity the struggles Mum went through, and just dealt with things differently. I guess that’s where different personality’s also fits in. Everyone is born with different temperaments and different personality’s, and therefore will seek different needs in their life. My need was to be recognised and nurtured by someone. The one way I could achieve this was through my weight.
I wanted to be cared for, yet also be my own person. I often day dreamed on our back step about all the things I could do if I was by myself. Mum always cared for and loved us and I will never ever doubt that, but there was something missing or something not right in the family picture. My counsellor gave me a wonderful illustration on how I felt. She drew a few individual circles surrounded then by one large circle, which was to represent a family - many individual’s in one family. She then drew three interlocking circles in the form of a triangle (each circle had the other two joined into it). That was our family. All of us were individual’s, but also joined together, therefore not having total individuality. Liz suggested that I didn’t know my own personality,
and decided to create my own, which ended up to be the eating disorder
enough to live here, and never want to ruin it by seeming ungrateful like that.
This year I started seeing a new counsellor too. There was one session when I was talking about work, and how I just felt so on the outer. That whole week I felt out of place and so uncared for at work. Then the more I thought about it the more upset I became about it. Liz (counsellor) acknowledged that I am searching for a person to care for me and to nurture me. As soon as she said that I just cried and cried. I hate crying in front of people but it just wouldn’t stop. For so long I felt that, that need to be nurtured. She pointed out that that could be part of the problem - this is my way of getting cared for. For her to say that meant so much, because it meant that what I was feeling was okay, and it wasn’t just me being silly. She described that I probably felt all abandoned again, and that the only way I could grab the attention of the others was to lose weight. She was spot on. It suddenly felt safe to have the thoughts and feelings I had. It was like a big release actually.