Today I’m sharing with you, the final of three posts transcribing a letter which I wrote aged 16, 28 years ago. I’m publishing the letters as part of Teen Week 2012, the theme of which is ‘words that heal’. If you haven’t read them, I’ve published the first two posts over the last couple of days (here and here).
I lived through this, so I remember the events in detail and (frighteningly) I can still relate to some of what I wrote. But… I’ve realised I’ve distanced myself from the ‘me’ that I was then. I’ve received some tweets ‘thanking’ me for sharing something so personal. I say, ‘You’re welcome,’ but it’s made me wonder if this has been really mine to share.
Nevertheless, I cry for the 16 year old me who wrote the letter. I cry for her family and friends who tried to help her but couldn’t. And I cry for the 44 year old me, who’s continued to grapple with eating issues for the majority of her life. (Again, I’ve left it unedited!)
Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of dieting again – and I was good until last night & I decided it would be alright if I made chocolate slice (which I love!) & it was alright, until I’d eaten a few pieces and then I felt so bad! I retreated to my room for a good cry etc. I was so angry I’d been good all day – ‘Why the hell was I so stupid & weak & why the hell did I make it?’ – I didn’t know, I couldn’t remember what the other part of me had thought at the time.
After a couple of hours and a talk with my mum I decided it was alright & I’d start my diet tomorrow! Tomorrow came and I was good until lunch, but the chocolate slice was still there & I ate it all – I kept happily eating away until I finished & then by god I felt bad. I went into my room and exercised & then off to tennis for a hit against the wall (rebound board) – nothing would go right – I don’t think I’ve ever been as depressed, cried or swore as much! I felt (for the first time seriously) like walking in front of a semi-trailer!
Now it’s later – it’s easter tomorrow I had my eggs last week because I’m in a Model of the Year this Friday. And now I’m sitting here thinking I could have some eggs tomorrow or even some food now, but then there’s a voice saying that if I do I’ll be so angry later & I know I will, but I usually give in, in these moments of weakness – I don’t know what to do, so I’m just sitting here crying quietly to myself. I seem to cry a lot lately.
When I successfully diet for a day (which I hope to tomorrow & the next & the next etc…) I feel so happy & proud etc & then I’m not depressed.
I’m not very self-confident, in case you hadn’t guessed, that’s supposed to be a trait of sufferers – but dieting is something I was good at – one of the only things I could do that others couldn’t.
I want to lose more weight, but this part of me (perhaps the real me) wonders why! How do I get better – will it just happen – will it ever happen? I’ve been to doctors here and a visiting psychiatrist, all to no avail. I wonder will I just change overnight, will I forever be losing & gaining weight? How do I get help?
My mother thinks I have to go to Brisbane (the closest capital city, to get help) & quit school – but I want to keep going as I want to go to University next year. I wonder will I just put on the weight too quickly, or will I just keep putting it on forever until I’m massive! So many questions and no one to answer them – I wish I could send this to someone who could help, but I can’t get all of my feelings onto paper – I can’t remember them, I can’t explain them, there’s so much guilt & hate inside my head it wants to blow up & I’ve got nowhere else for it to go. I always wish whenever I get the chance that someone could tell or promise me I’d just get to 9 stone (57kg) & stay there for ever & ever (unless I have a baby & then I’d like to get back to 9 stone after I’d had it) – my mum is worried I won’t get to have any because I haven’t had a period since November, but I think it won’t happen to me.
My mum always tells me how much happier I was before I started dieting, but I’m not sure what is better, being fat & happy (while I wasn’t always because I was always depressed about being fat), or being thinner and worrying about food – but at least feeling more confident or looking better (or looking thinner than others).
I remember whenever I used to dream I always used to dream about the future & in every dream I had always lost weight. I just wish someone could help me so I wouldn’t want to eat all of the time, or if I did that I wouldn’t feel so damned guilty about it. I wish someone could promise me I won’t keep putting on weight, which I would the way I eat.
And that’s it. The end. I have no idea what happened to the letter after I wrote it. My mother doesn’t remember it, so perhaps I tucked it away in a book which resurfaced over 25 years later.
Thanks for joining me in revisiting my teenage years – although this visit wasn’t actually much fun! It’s frightening how much of my current behaviour I see here – although at the other extreme in some ways.
Years and years later I used to say to people the thing I regretted most was ever starting that bloody diet in the first place as I really didn’t have much of a weight problem BEFORE this all started. I liked food, but wasn’t food-obsessed. Until later. I don’t know when it all began unravelling… but it led me down a path I’d much preferred I’d never travelled.