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.


15. Settling In

My parents and Gretchen left shortly after I was shown to my room so that I could settle in in my own time. My room was a decent size with two 3/4 beds with white sheets and walls that were painted ivory. There was a wardrobe and two chests of drawers, all made from light coloured wood. The bedside tables were made of the same wood, and the lamps were white, like the rest of the room. The carpet was a light cream and the curtains matched the bed sheets. Yes, it was slightly clinical, but the bedsteads wasn't made of metal, so there wasn't a solid hospital feel.

There was an en suite off of my room too, but I couldn't lock the door. There was an alarm switch by the mirror, but no signs of cameras or anything else to keep an eye on me. My guess was that roommates were supposed to stop each other from making themselves throw up. I just hoped that my roommate was going to be nice. If not, I hoped they would be discharged very soon.

I started to unpack my bag, putting my clothes in the empty chest of drawers and hanging up some of the pieces of clothing that crease easily in my half of the wardrobe. I put some of my art things in the bottom of my chest of drawers, with the rest staying in my suitcase. I put my toiletries in the bathroom, by the mirror, alongside my roommate's soap bag.

Half an hour later, I left my room and went exploring before lunch at one. There were groups of girls sat around talking about the thigh gap, and a group of lads were playing football outside on the grass. Some of the older patients were working, obviously trying to keep up with university and college work.

Joan was in the reception room closest to my room, talking to one of the older girls, who was sat with a book in her lap. She was pretty, with long auburn hair that hung in waves to her shoulders. She was like everyone else, wearing casual clothes, but she was irritated by Joan's company. I hovered outside of the reception room, not wanting to disturb their conversation.

"Rowan, I think it's time that you start thinking about giving up on finishing university this year. You are working late into the night and not eating. There is no way you are going to improve by the time you're due to graduate," Joan said, standing with her hands on her hips.

"Oh my God, Joan! Will you give it a rest? I've spoken to Dr Ballentine and she is happy for me to sit my final exams and then go to graduation in June. Then I will set myself some proper targets for my weight gain," Rowan snapped, closing her book.

"I will be having words with Dr Ballentine! You shouldn't be putting yourself under this kind of pressure when you should be concentrating on recovering!"

I made my entrance then, wanting to get Joan away from Rowan before something really bad happened. They both looked up as I entered the room.

"Sorry, I'm not interrupting, am I?" I lied.

"No, no. Come in, Xanthe," Joan replied, giving me a sickly sweet smile. I smiled back. "It's good that you're both here, actually. Xanthe, this is Rowan. Rowan, this is Xanthe, your new roommate."

"Hi," I squeaked. I was not expecting to have such an incredibly pretty, incredibly feisty roommate.

"Hey," Rowan said. 

"Right, Xanthe, you are booked in to see Dr Yates after lunch. Now, I must dash, I need to find Dr Ballentine." 

Joan ran off after a lady in a pencil skirt and white blouse, leaving me alone with Rowan. I stared at her and she stared at me. Rowan looked away first.

"That woman is a fucking bitch," she spat.

"I heard..."

"I thought you did. You're alright for now. She's always nice to newbies for the first few weeks. Then she just becomes an irritating cow, thinking she knows better than the doctors."

"Thanks for the heads up."

"Don't worry about it. But if I were you, I'd make my recovery and I'd make it quick, otherwise, you'll end up like me. I've been here for almost a year, and I've made next to no progress."

"I'm sorry."

"It's my own fault. I'm so determined to finish uni."

I looked at her for a while. Then the signal for lunch went, and she left with the rest of the patients that were nearby.



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