The first doctor I saw was some man called a psychiatrist. He did absolutely nothing for me, but on the other hand I wasn’t exactly being co-operative. I was angrier at the fact that I had been discovered and wasn’t given my own chance to tell them about it. I guess I probably would not have told them, because I was always waiting to lose that extra bit of weight before telling anyone. So, because of that, I wasn’t wholehearted about getting help. My goal was still to lose a few more kilos.
The sessions to the dietician and counsellor soon followed. My first appointment with a dietician was in April, one month before my birthday. I didn’t know what to think, how to act or anything. That day was pretty traumatic actually because just before my appointment Jody rang to tell there was a dog attack at their place. Harley had been injured and two died. I was rather stressed about that so I wasn’t really worried about the dietician. Her name was Deanne, and she was such a caring person. The main goal she had for me was to get me eating regular meals, and to keep dinner down. Although I didn’t like the fact about seeing people for this problem I felt better in the knowledge I could talk about it. That was the only comfort. I trusted Deanne and felt I could tell her anything. She took an interest in my life and of what was happening in it. Our appointments went from monthly to weekly as she could see no vast improvements in me. She then suggests I see a counsellor who deals with these issues. The counsellor’s name was Jenny. Yet another sweet and caring person who I felt able to trust. However I was still ashamed of my problem and I only ever told her as much as I wanted to. I never really totally told her any of my deepest emotions or about what was going on at home in regards to mum’ s alcohol. But I did talk about surface emotions. Visits to see her were also once a week. Jenny’s goal was to think of ways for me to keep busy because that was half my problem.
This year I wasn’t doing much and hadn’t yet found a job. This led to me feeling fatter and lazier. One comment I’d written in a diary was “I just feel lazy and fat when I’m at home, even if I practice my violin, or sew, or clean the cupboard, I just hate being stuck inside.” to be honest I just hated being at home. I was restless and bored, but didn’t know what I wanted out of life. I hated eating and hated even more the fact I had to eat. I filled out forms each day to record what I had eaten, where I was, and how I felt afterwards. On these sheets I put a little “v” next to the foods I threw up, and sometimes it would end up being the whole days worth of food. That meant anything up to 8 times. It was often easier not to eat just so I wouldn’t have to throw up. The emotional column of these sheets never gave any particular indication of when my eating patterns were worse or better. Basically my goal had not been reached, I didn’t like who I was, therefore I was not happy with eating.
One thing I was happy with was our quartet. I enjoyed spending time with all of them because I felt appreciated, and never judged. In actual fact they admired what I did for them by way of writing music out. They actually made me feel special, and for once I didn’t feel inferior. Jess and I had developed a closer friendship as well. On my birthday they all planned to have a little celebration for me. Jess baked a cake, and Vicki and Fiona set up decorations for a mini party. It was unreal. Only a few days after this our quartet was to perform at a wedding. It was our first paid job and naturally we were extremely nervous. Jess at this stage was nine months pregnant. That morning her and I were walking around town and she stated how she felt different. We both tried to laugh it off. We got to the church where we all set up ready to play. Everything went very smoothly and we played beautifully. Then halfway through the wedding Jess’s waters broke. She made it through the rest of the wedding then her husband rushed her to hospital. Jess had a little girl named Kate. So gladly the wedding and the birth were successful and beautiful.
I was still involved in the Youth Orchestra, and had since joined two other music groups. One was Salon Orchestra (lead by Mrs Robertson), and the other was a string group called Sinfonia. Salon orchestra was for adults and I quite enjoyed this group because I felt I wasn’t watched out for to be picked on. Sinfonia was fantastic. It was a dream of mine to be involved in a string ensemble such as this. I was even given the opportunity to play first violins. This thrilled me to bits because I was never given this opportunity in youth orchestra. I wasn’t thrilled about remaining in Youth Orchestra because that’s exactly who it was for…youth. But somehow I felt obliged. I remained in second violins and was actually demoted to the back row because I was no longer a school student. I think they tried their hardest to make people like me feel less important. It didn’t bother too much though because I had reached a stage where I knew I didn’t like the orchestra so there was no importance as to where I sat. Eventually I stopped going to rehearsal for youth orchestra and only made an appearance when they needed me. I stopped caring about what they thought of me and how I played the violin. The thing was, I knew I could play well enough, but never had the chance to let this show. So I let them believe I was never good enough and eventually believed it myself. I lost confidence in orchestra and allowed myself to be sucked in by their negative comments. I was glad to have left orchestra and discover the abilities I had. I will never be a great violinist, but too be a good violinist and enjoy what I do is more important.
I had recently become a part member of the Musical Society orchestra to play in Oliver. Initially I was to play 1st violins, which thrilled me to bits. Then one day Kim informed me they would prefer to have more experienced players in 1st violins. I was totally deflated. I went home and told mum and Mim who were both very sympathetic and understanding. Mum suggested I quit the orchestra if it’s going to make me feel useless like this. I considered this option but realised by doing this I wouldn’t really get anywhere. Although sometimes I wondered if Val even wanted me in the orchestra. I thought maybe she was plotting these things against me so I would quit. I wasn’t going to let her get the better of me anyway and really wanted to prove myself as a capable violinist. One night I was able to do this too. The girl who was meant to do the solos lost confidence and couldn’t do it. Without thinking I played this part. I played it confidently and played it well. Kim was impressed too. I was then able to continue playing firsts, which meant a lot to me. It just annoyed me how people like her got to me. They made themselves look good and in the process put other people down not considering their feelings. The thing was that this other girl had professional violin lessons down in Sydney and her whole family was musical so it was assumed that she was perfect. I on the other hand had lessons here and there, had a non-musical family, and I wasn’t well known. It made me feel like I wasn’t important enough and wasn’t going to get anywhere in life. Being unemployed didn’t help matters at all.
I was once in earshot of a person talking about unemployed people. She stated her opinion of unemployed people being lazy and bludging off other people. This offended me very seriously but I just did not have the confidence to speak up for myself. Ironically I was worried about hurting her feelings. Not all unemployed are the same. I
admit it is hard to find the motivation to look for work especially when there is nothing in the kind of work you are looking for. What I wanted the most was a job or a course to get me out of the house so I would be less focussed on food.
The unemployment situation was getting no better. I was getting easily frustrated with myself and feeling useless. The fact that I had no set goals didn’t help much. All my school friends were at university planning out their next few years of life. Me, I stayed at home doing nothing achieving nothing and not knowing what I wanted to do. I had thoughts of either working at a zoo, or in hospitality. The zoo idea was appealing because I had a real love for animals. What I thought would be great was to get involved in a captive-breeding program for the koala population. I knew that would never happen because realistically I was no good at sciences or biology. I think I more pursued the notion of looking after the koalas or other wildlife animals, not in particularly breeding them. If I had my way then I would have taken in any orphaned animal from WIRES and fostered them all. However mum would have had different thoughts and considering it was her house I had to respect that.
My next hopeful plan was to work in hospitality. I really liked the idea of working on some resort or travelling around. It was mainly an escape thing in some ways. At first the thought of being a cook was appealing. I imagined creating all these fancy meals and not having to eat any of it. I had a strange fascination with food still, until my problem was discovered. From then on, working with food seemed very undesirable. I now had to eat food at set times and I hated it. So, I definitely disliked the thought of working with food. Being a waitress seemed too boring. I wanted a career, not just a job. I wanted to feel worthwhile in what I was doing.