Orthorexia: How She Changed My Life

I'm Xanthe Freed and I'm another teenager with a secret. Mine is bigger than most. It's not relevant to boys, it's not relevant to bitches. I'm just a girl with a problem- and that problem is Orthorexia Nervosa.
I'm Xanthe Freed and this is my story.

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4. Avery

I've been thinking- dangerous, I know- but I feel as if there has been so much speculation about my Orthorexia, but no one from school, other than Deryn, has really bothered to talk to me about it. Juicy gossip is all they see me as. Some girls look at me as if they want to say something, but then get frightened and turn away. I wish they would just ask so that they would know what really happened and how to get help if they every cross paths with an eating disorder.

Gretchen and I were watching TV earlier, and she asked me about Orthorexia. Of course she knows about it, but she never went to appointments with me, and never asked questions. She was just there in the background, trying to keep from getting under our parents' feet.

"Xan?" she said, turning to me.

"Mmm?" I replied, glancing at her.

"How did you know that you had Orthorexia?" I blinked at her. It was the first time she'd ever asked anything as personal as that.

"Well, Gretch, to be completely honest, I didn't. I convinced myself that I was fine. I didn't see what was wrong with what I was doing. It wasn't until Deryn found out that I realised what I was doing to myself... Why do you ask?"

"I think that someone I know has an eating disorder," she admitted, fiddling with the sleeve of her jumper. 

"Do I know them?" Gretchen looked at me with sad eyes, but nodded. 

"Y'know Avery?"

"You mean Joel's little sister?" my sister nodded.

"I think that she has something. I'm not sure what, but I'm sure she has it."

I sat quietly for a while, mulling over the situation. I did know Avery. She'd been friends with Gretchen for several years, and was round the house often enough. She didn't strike me as the type of girl who would contract an eating disorder, but then again, I wasn't either at the time. Surely she knew what she was doing to herself after everything that I'd gone through? And surely Joel had preached it back to his family how awful things had been for me?

Joel and I are friends. We have been since before Orthorexia changed my life. We weren't best buds, but we enjoy each other's company. But most importantly, Joel stayed by my side through all of this, which has brought us closer together lately. He's my lab partner in all our sciences and we take a few other subjects together, but we don't go out of our way to see each other.

We sat in silence a moment longer, then I came to a decision.

"Do you want me to talk to her?" I asked. Gretchen stared at me, not sure if I was joking or being serious.

"Would you do that for me?"

"Of course, Gretchen. You're my sister. If you're worried about Avery then I will talk to her. I'm friends with Joel anyway, so I could talk to her when I go over to his house or something."

"Really? Oh thanks, Xan. You're the best sister ever!" she cried, hugging me tightly. I hugged her back. Outbursts like these are a rare thing for my sister, so I take them all in my stride.

I just have to talk to Joel now. I'm worried that this conversation may be slightly awkward...

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