I was discharged from ICU a few days later which was also the same day the doctor diagnosed me with Anorexia Nervosa and depression. I was no longer myself, but instead labelled a ‘depressed anorexic’. I wasn’t told the reasons for his diagnosis, but I knew that something was wrong with me. I weighed 65.2kg at the beginning of 1998 when my obsessive behaviour started, and on the day of my discharge I weighed 57kg. Within four months I lost 8.2kg, controlled what I ate and how much I ate and started to have an unnatural relationship with food. Surely this isn’t normal?
The April school holiday was well into its first week, and with two more weeks left before school starts there was no rush for me to get back on my feet. Once I was home my mom told me that one of my friends called while I was in hospital as she was concerned that I didn’t attend our last day of term. To be honest I can’t remember what my mom told her happened, but the realization that she or anyone else at my school might hear of my suicide attempt left me with a sense of embarrassment and fear. At the time I didn’t know that this realization became a pinnacle moment, as that was when anorexia’s voice resurfaced and a decision was made that this will be kept a secret. She will be kept a secret.
Most of my friends went away on holiday so the first few days was lonely. I was in bed most of the time as I felt weak and had several dizzy spells throughout the day, and had difficulty eating. My dad decided to send my mom and I away for a long weekend so that I could get out and that we can ‘bond’, because apparently that’s what I needed.
We booked into a resort in the Free State called Thaba Nchu Sun. It is very warm there and being inland the surrounding area is flat with not much greenery. There is plenty of wildlife and often the local monkeys and ducks will help themselves to our food.
I found this to be a very awkward time between my mum and I. I didn’t know what to talk about, and was not interested in answering her many questions about the incident. As much as I didn’t want to be alone, I didn’t want to be there with her. Meal times were the worse. I ate what I found to be manageable, but that usually started arguments between us as we both had our own opinions of what is a suitable portion of food. I believe this is when she consulted my dad and the idea of a dietician and a visit to a phycologist is needed. I didn’t have any say in this, and was not too thrilled with the thought that I have to talk to a stranger about my secret, about anorexia. Was I really that sick that I needed help? Surely I can do this on my own.
To be continued