To read this blog in order start at July right at the top of the blog archive and progress down in order. This is an account of my battle with anorexia and bulimia

Wednesday 3 August 2011

when food and weight become power and hate

It’s not only hate or power over food, but also hating others, hating yourself, and hating all that is around you
I did end up changing my dress sense in the summer, but mainly because I knew I had lost weight and I wanted to show it off. I got into wearing the rather short wrap around skirts with a tiny, sometimes even midriff singlet tops. I was out to impress and show off my achievement of weight loss. I think I was at about 42kgs now.
I now wanted to disassociate myself from the family situation and not eating meals with them was one way of doing this. I started out firstly avoiding meal times with them always arriving home late and making up excuses to not eat. Lana usually saved a plate of dinner for me in the fridge, and offered it to me. I refused every time and eventually she stopped saving me food. One night she came into my room and blurted out her anger with me. She said I needed to make more of an effort to eat and she is sick of the games I am playing. To be honest, I wasn’t really playing games, I just didn’t want them to be in control of my life especially when I was an adult. I didn’t want to eat the same food as them or eat at the same time as them. I don’t think it
was the family that was my problem though, it was the disease it self. I didn’t know that at the time though. By saying I didn’t want to be part of the family routine and eat meals with them when they did was a clear indication already of my eating disorder returning. It was my way of getting out of eating. I was getting sucked in deeper to the disease now though. My diet consisted of coffee and toast with jam for breakfast, then cup after cup of coffee to fill me up until the end of the day. If I was feeling brave I had another piece of toast. When the days became hotter I replaced the coffee with lemonade or red icy poles. I walked excessively too, even if it meant getting up before the sun came up, or walking in extreme heat in the middle of the day.
Going up home for the holidays was another contribution to my weight loss. I panicked at least one week before each trip hoping I hadn’t gained any weight since the last time I had been there. I needed to prove something to the people up there and weight loss was something visual that people would comment on. Each trip up I came back skinnier and skinnier, therefore putting pressure on myself to keep it up. But when I was up there I usually found myself eating, and eating stuff I wouldn’t normally have like McDonald’s. Lunches and dinners were also ways of catching up with people, so a few times I did that too. It didn’t bother me too much though because I always knew in the back of my mind it was only temporary and as soon as I get back to Lawson I could lose it all again. At this time catching the bus was my transport to and from home. It was common for Lana to save me dinner for the night I got back from my trips and usually I ate them without thinking. But gradually I thought that if I were to lose weight when I get back to Lawson I’d have to start straight away and refuse what Lana gives me. The first few times Lana wasn’t used to me saying no and tried her best to convince me to at least have a little bit. To make my own plan not look too obvious I did have some to eat but usually only the vegetable because at least they had no fat or too many kilojoules in them. Then eventually she gave up even saving me any food.
* * * *
I had now developed closer friendships with some people in the church. Donna and I spent heaps of time together either at her house or at mine. She knew about the eating problem but thought, as I also thought when I told her about it that I was getting over it. She hadn’t really noticed my weight loss until one day when she was watching me doing something and she could see the hollowness in my wrists and the bones on my hands sticking out. She commented on this, and all I could do was feel so utterly pleased with myself that finally someone noticed. The other family I was really good friends with were the Brown’s. They were Sophie and Andrew and their children Joseph, Shaylee, Anna, Tilly, and Jonny. Sophie and I were pretty close and related really well. They also knew about the teating disorder, which was good, because I never had to justify or make up excuses to not eat. Sometimes I ate with them because I felt comfortable around them, but most times I didn’t. I didn’t want to be hypocritical and say I had a few problems with not wanting to eat and then go ahead and eat something. Some days I was so hungry I could have eaten everything the whole family was eating, but obviously I didn’t do that. I think I actually spent more time at their house than I did at Charles and Lana’s towards the end of the year. For two reasons mainly. One, because I loved the family and we had heaps of fun together. Two, because I couldn’t handle the pressure from Charles and Lana about not eating. I spent less and less time with them as a family. Some days I felt like just a person floating around the house. I barely watched tv with them, usually watching it in my own room, never ate with them and was barely home.
* * * *
The first semester at Tafe had finished. I surprised myself by doing really well in this semester. But admittedly I studied a lot. It kept my focus off food and gave me good reasons to avoid going out too often when I knew I’d get stuck in a situation where I
would have to eat. It was my usual routine to come home and sit at my desk straight away to work on assignments or study for an exam. The first big assignment we had involved doing an interview with a couple who were raised in the 1920’s to find out how life differs from then to now. Most of the class had their grandparents around but I had no idea who I was going to ask. One night there was a dinner on at the church hall, which I went along to. It just so happened that sitting at my table were an older couple Albert and Ellie. I started chatting to them and mentioned my assignment. They were both more than willing to help me out. They invited me over for dinner for the next week so I could ask them the questions then. We formed a special bond from then on and they became like the grandparent I didn’t have. I loved going to their place for meals, even during my worse times because I loved Aileen’s cooking and also because they made me feel special. They were so interested in what I was doing and in my life and things that were happening in it.
Another assignment we had to do was to write like a mini biography on ourselves and how we have developed up until this time. I was so envious when class members all said they would talk to their parents and get all the information out from them. I wondered how I would be able to get information on my earlier years without having to go to Heaven or where ever mum is to talk to her. The teachers suggested grandparent, or aunts and uncles, but that was useless. It dawned on me that my Godmother knew me since I was born so hopefully she’d know a bit. I stayed with her over a weekend to ask a few questions and she ended up questioning me on my eating habits and how long I have had the disorder for. I assumed Mim had told her, so I was quite open and honest with it all thinking she knew most of the history. As it turned out Mim hadn’t told her a thing. She had come to the conclusion herself that I had a problem based on my loss of weight and I guess my overall attitude to food.
There was still about two weeks until Christmas after tech had finished, so I spent that time in Lawson. I could have gone up to Tamworth but I had other commitments such as playing in the combined churches Christmas carols. The thought of the first Christmas without mum never really dawned on me until one Sunday in church when they started singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The most unobvious thing I could do was go quickly into the toilets and block my ears for about five minutes while I waited for the song to be over. I wondered why on earth I said I would play for the carols concert when I couldn’t even listen to a song. I decided to play anyway because I knew I’d have to face it sooner or later.
I got through the first few songs during the rehearsal alright, trying to play the carols without really thinking they were carols. Well, It didn’t work!! Tears started welling up in my eyes until the point where my music got blurry. Sophie noticed something was wrong with me and asked if I was okay. Had she not have asked me that I may have gotten over it. But as soon as she asked I just bawled my eyes out. I hated the fact that since mum’s death I couldn’t help myself with crying. One thing I have never liked, or have felt very self conscious about is people seeing me cry, and here I was doing it whenever I thought of mum. Sophie was great though and let me cry and talk for as long as I needed. I couldn’t even explain why I was so upset though. It was mainly because singing and playing the song Silent Night reminded me so much of mum because it was her favourite song. I have to admit that after talking to Sophie I felt much better.

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