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Shrink: a Journey through Anorexia

Shrink: a Journey through Anorexia

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Shrink: a Journey through Anorexia

1.5/5 (2 valutazioni)
203 pagine
2 ore
Jan 5, 2013


Starting Year 11 is bad enough, what with all the exams and end of year party. But Eloise has to deal with the now. The appointment.

Sixteen year old Eloise Meehan, who has an eating disorder, begins a journey through therapy in an attempt to come to terms with the unspoken family secrets. But as relationships are built, and subsequently broken, it seems as if there are more questions asked than issues resolved. Will Eloise find the support she crucially needs? And will looking closer to home help her to face her shocking past?

Jan 5, 2013

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Shrink - Heather Morrall

Also by Heather Morrall

The Echo Glass


Heather Morrall

Rubery Press

First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Rubery Press

2013 Smashwords Edition

ISBN 978-0-9554252-3-3

Copyright © Heather Morrall 2010

The right of Heather Morrall to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition imposed on the subsequent purchaser.


I would like to thank the following:

My mum and my sister, Alex, for their continued support.

My friends and writing critics, James Barnett, Abigail Chaffey, Ellis Delmonte, Elaine Cloutman-Green, Jeff Phelps and Gina Standring for always being willing and ready to offer advice and suggestions.

I would also like to thank Carolyn for partially inspiring this story.

Chapter One

The bus rumbles to its stop and I jump off. I guess it could look like enthusiasm to passers-by. It most definitely isn’t.

I look down. See how fat you are! I say to myself. I know, I know. It’s like a weird internal conversation. I don’t know if other people have conversations with themselves the way I do. Sometimes I even talk to myself in the mirror. I shake my head thinking I really must be crazy.

I stand on the pavement and hear the bus rolling away. That was my only hope of escape. I have no choice but to walk forward looking obese for my appointment at the eating disorder unit.

I wasn’t always this fat and it was at a thinner moment, about nine months ago, that Dr Paige referred me here. Big mistake.

I tried to forget about the referral, believing they would never get round to seeing me anyway. I mean, seriously, me have an eating disorder? I’ve never been thin enough.

It’ll be some months before I hear back from them, Dr Paige had said. They’ll send you an appointment for an assessment first.

OK, I said.

So while you wait try to eat more. We can’t let your weight get any lower.

It all seemed so simple. I didn’t mean to take her advice quite so literally but somehow I got introduced to frozen Mars Bars and so gained quite a bit of weight. Fortunately I have managed to retain all original teeth.

But ever since the letter arrived confirming my appointment to see the consultant, I have felt a constant tingling in my stomach. Frozen Mars Bars are totally out.

I’ve been Mars Bar free for twenty-eight days now. And, of course, still counting.


Year 11. Lessons have an air of seriousness that they didn’t used to have. All a reminder that the end is near and our lives will change forever.

This morning had seemed like any other morning. Stacie and I were walking along the corridor together when we heard, Eloise, Stacie! I’ve been looking all over for you.

I turned around and saw Barbie running up to us. She was smiling and running fast so that we could all walk together.

Hey, I said. We were just a bit delayed in our last lesson.

Yeah, Stacie said. She rolled her eyes. Trying to work out where to go with my History essay. Her strawberry blonde hair, with weird purple highlights at the front, rippled around her shoulders.

Forget about lessons, Barbie said. We need to talk about our end of year party. I am so freaking out over what to wear. I know it’s miles away but it’ll creep up on us if we’re not careful.

Wow you are planning ahead, I said with admiration. We may be in Year 11 now, but it’s still only the autumn term.

You can never start too far in advance, Barbie said with a serious edge to her voice.

She sounds like she’s talking about her wedding, I said to Stacie jokingly. Got your dress yet?

We smiled at Barbie and I said, Be honest. Your Mum’s been trying to plan your wedding, hasn’t she? Has she been drawing up the guest lists? I laughed but couldn’t help continuing, The real issue here is… who are you going to marry?

Shut it, you, she said nudging my side. We’re talking parties not weddings! But while we are on the subject of men… hmm, hmmm ... get that Gavin to look over at me. He’s a real looker. She licked her lips as she said it as if thinking of eating something delicious.

Oh no, no, Stacie said, her forehead crinkling, I want him. You can’t have him!

I started to slowly walk on in an attempt to get them to follow, To be honest, and I really do hate to say it, but neither of you have got Gavin. Sixth formers are totally not interested in Year 11 girls.

There was a sudden silence and a melancholy in the air. Perhaps I went too far. Perhaps I should have carried on joking with them. Sometimes it’s difficult to know the right things to say.

So you coming to the canteen with us, El? Stacie said.

They stopped walking and looked at me. They ask me this every lunch time. It gets tiring having to answer the same question.

I never eat in front of anyone. It would be like allowing people to view your biggest failing. I can imagine the whispering now, "El’s eating... all that ... no wonder she’s so fat." The shame itself would kill me. I shook my head.

Why? they both said together as if they didn’t know.

Well, duh, I’m on a diet. I touched the stomach that seemed to proudly hang over my waistband. I knew it was big but somehow it looks as if it might have grown over the morning. Mortified by the pregnant look, I tried to take the focus away by pointing to my double chin instead (it could easily be triple by now).

Oh don’t be stupid. We love you the way you are! We don’t want to lose you down a drain, you know, Stacie said.


The wind blows abruptly against me. Arm over stomach. Let no one see it. And off I go, walking steadily towards the hospital.

The receptionist ignores me to begin with. After placing the receiver on the phone she turns to me, How can I help? she says roughly without lifting her eyes to look at me.

I have an appointment at two o’clock with Dr Alley.

She says nothing as she looks down a list, her pen moving over each name. Maybe I’m not on the list at all. Eloise Meehan?

I nod.

Take a seat, she says pointing towards the large room full of chairs, full of people.

This is the waiting room for General Psychiatry. I sit on the only empty chair. People everywhere, all looking into their laps pretending not to notice anyone else. I glance surreptitiously around and notice we are all secretly peeking at each other – guessing everyone’s problem, wondering why we are here.

He’s running late. I look at the window beside me. The rain dribbles down the glass, the drops joining and forming patterns like little rivers. And then they all give in to gravity and speedily fall to the floor.

Waiting always fills my mind with a blankness. Blankness allows all the things I don’t want to think about to come flooding in. I think of Dad this morning…


He lies lifeless in bed like he always does.

Are you staying there? I ask.

Might do. Not that it’s any of your business.

You have to get up. You can’t stay there all day, every day. I can see the shape of his round, podgy body below the quilt, his head half-hidden from the world.

I do not lie here every day. That’s just what you choose to see, he says.

So what about work? They won’t keep your place forever. And you’re not on full pay while you’re off sick…

We have money, he says hurriedly.

Oh, purlease. Stop deluding yourself. You’ll have to go back to work sooner or later. I’ll make you breakfast but I’m not bringing it up to you. I know I’m harsh. I don’t mean to be but frustration runs through the whole of my body and forces me to say everything angrily.

You really shouldn’t talk to me like this, Eloise.

I know he’s right but I can’t help myself. Perhaps he’ll see me making his breakfast as a gesture of an apology, of the fact that I care – though obviously I’d never actually tell him that. Most of all I’m hoping breakfast will give him a reason to get up – even if it is just to go downstairs to sit at the kitchen table to eat it.

So you’ll be out of the house by ten thirty, if not before. I catch my breath as I hear the harshness in my voice. I don’t even believe he will leave the house.

I don’t do things that my daughter orders, he says glaring at me from the bed …


I sigh quietly to myself. It’s the responsibility I feel I have for him. It didn’t used to be like that and I wish things hadn’t changed.

I watch more rain drops patter against the window. I wonder if he’s up yet or whether he even knows it’s raining.

Eloise Meehan? punctures my thoughts. A man has said my name and is standing in the middle of the room looking around.

I stand up and feel my head spinning. I’m going. I’m gonna go, I think to myself. Going floor-wards. Wouldn’t look too great to collapse here. I stand for a minute feeling dazed. Get a grip, girl.

Through here, the man says.

He looks odd. He’s a tall, large man and I feel slightly thinner in comparison. A lively clump of red hair sticks up on top like a candle flame gently to-ing and fro-ing. Almost as if it’s waving at me. The rest of his head is balding.

I’ve heard that psychiatrists are mad. I suddenly remember that there were rumours about a girl when we were in Year 7: Emily’s been to see a shrink! I smile as I remember the gasps of horror. We all laughed hysterically at the thought of Emily lying on a couch. And now here I am, away from the whispered rumours, which are bound to begin soon, and in the reality of a psychiatrist’s office.

I don’t remember who told me shrinks were mad but if they’re all like this man then I think it must be true. I have this annoying sensation to laugh every time I look at him.

I sit in a chair by the side of his desk – there is no couch in this room.

When I’m unfamiliar with people my words disappear and my brain stops functioning. I feel the anxiety leaping out of my stomach and flowing through my veins at the prospect of having to speak to this man.

Well, Eloise, he says studying the letter in my file. You’re sixteen and in Year 11?

I nod.

Do you like school?

Is he trying to be friendly? Trying to distract me from the fact that this is a medical review of my sanity?

I shrug. I don’t know.


I need to weigh you, he says. I knew the preliminary was just a diversion from the ultimate nightmare.

He’s still looking at the letter from Dr Paige. He doesn’t seem to want to look at me.

I shake my head, hoping he will miraculously see this even though he’s not looking.

Hmm? he says, suddenly looking up.

No, I whisper.

Weight. Nope. I won’t let him do that.

You can see I’m not in danger, I say, my whisper becoming a little more substantial. I’m trying to speak up. Use a strong voice to show he can’t shake me from my decision.

If you won’t let me weigh you I’ll definitely need to take your blood.

Blood. Nope. I won’t let him poke holes in my arm. I’d like them intact, thank-you-very-much.

I know I’m fine, I say.

This time he’s not letting it go so easily. Sometimes we don’t know what’s going on inside us and taking blood can pick up problems early.

I’m fine. I don’t need my blood taken. I feel myself becoming unsure and I begin to waver in his words. Don’t co-operate. But on the other hand, You might lose weight with less blood in you.

Blood. Nope. And that’s final.

He looks at me intently. In this unit we can show you the way but we can’t do it for you. I hear a slight edge of impatience to his words.


He sits looking at me and so after a while I say, Oh.

When did your eating difficulties begin?

I think back, trying to look into the blackness and blankness of my mind. All words and information seem to have vanished. A while, I say, trying to be helpful but knowing it’s probably too vague. Quite a long time, I add. Years, I say finally.

What do you eat? What’s a typical day?

My head begins to spin. Anything. It’s the calories that matter because it’s about calories in versus calories out. I certainly don’t only eat a few lettuce leaves a week. But then, he can probably tell that just by looking at me. Um, I say eventually, This and that.

So it’s too difficult to tell me?

I nod.

And just going back to your weight for a moment, thinking about it over, say, the past month, can you draw a graph in the air to illustrate whether your weight has gone up or down, or both, or if it’s been stable.

The question takes me by surprise. Perhaps I can do that. I lift my hand to the air and think hard about my weight. With my finger I draw a line that goes up and down though not too much in either direction.

He seems to realise he can’t get more out of me. So if I put you on the waiting list for a therapist you’d come to the appointments and talk about your eating difficulties?

Uh huh.

Well, I’ll do that and in the meantime I’ll be writing to your GP to let her know what’s happening and to confirm that you have anorexia nervosa. Make an appointment for three months time.

I nod. Well, who’d have thought there was such

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    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    this book had no ending or conclusion and the experience of therapy was unrealistic

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