Why can't I be perfect?

I have issues. I have lots of them. How will I survive?
This is the story of Bryony James. A 16 year old girl who is struggling with anorexia and depression.
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1. PART 1: A New Beginning

I was so glad to be going to a school where no one knew me or what I had been through. That suited me perfectly; I wanted a new start, to change my life around. Brookhill seemed as though it was going to be just that place, so much better than Grassington.

‘Bryony, are you alright?’ Mum asked.

She had been watching me carefully over our breakfast of bran flakes. She must have noticed the anxiety written over my face, the fear in my eyes as I thought of the day I had ahead of me; a new school with new people and a new me.

‘Yeah, I’m good thanks.’ I replied, putting on a positive smile.

As I made my way through the front gates of my new school I took a deep breath, wondering whether the people I had met at the induction before the summer would still want to be my friends. They had seemed so nice and friendly, I needed people like them in my life.  I wasn’t convinced that they’d want my friendship, but I never was convinced about anything so….

***

After the first few days, I began to feel more confident about what was happening at school and knew that I could cope and my life would change. I was going to all my lessons, making friends and I fitted in, everything seemed to be perfect. It was all so much better than my years at Grassington already.

My family didn’t know much about what had gone on last year, the troubles I had had in Grassington, so they were oblivious to how I was feeling inside now, the relief I felt of the past being securely in the past. The worry, paranoia, depression and stress of the last year had nearly disappeared; though a trace lingered at the back of my mind, constantly niggling me but overall I felt calm and relaxed; I was going to be fine. I didn’t need to worry about my GCSE’s too much, I was bright to start with, and I would be able to make a whole new set of friends. This year was going to be the best yet.

***

‘Victoria, can I come go with you and Hayley please?’ I asked in English, waiting to be rebuffed.

‘Yeah, sure you can. I’d love to have you in our group.’ Victoria replied.

 One of my first friendships had just been formed. I felt lucky to have such a kind and considerate friend like Victoria was; it was a long time since I’d had someone like that. Actually, it was the first time I’d had a friend like her. I decided that making friends was going to be easier than I had first anticipated. Why had I been so afraid for so long?

After making a large friendship group, which included those who are now closest to me like Mollie, Zoe and Victoria, I began to feel properly settled in. I enjoyed the strange sense of being free and having hardly anything to worry about. It was great, but I was unnerved. Things were going too well and this made me suspicious.

***

It had been a few months before and I was still attending Grassington, when things had begun to go downhill since the beginning of the previous year and my fear of the past returning began to seem sensible. It was then that some of my friends persuaded me to see a counsellor. They didn’t want to see me upset or mentally suffering.

 I didn’t want to go, I was very reluctant but I agreed to give it a go. It would shut them up anyway. The first visit just made me feel angrier; why did she want to know about general information related to me, I had a problem and I wanted it to be sorted out, so why wasn’t she doing that? All of my issues persisted and I never went to see the counsellor again. It’s probably down to my lack of commitment to seeing counsellors that everything spiralled downwards and I didn’t recover miraculously like I believed at the beginning of my time at this new school.

My friends stopped persuading me and I felt like they had given up on me. I didn’t get along particularly well with people there. I was the geek, the nerd who had no life. Except I did.

***

As time went by I lost weight, became very reserved, depressed and really paranoid. I always thought that people were talking about me, discussing me or watching me. It scared me. I couldn’t walk home without looking behind me every five minutes or be comfortable in a room where there were lots of different conversations going on at once.

When Lucy, one of my best friends from church before she went away with her parents, returned from Hong Kong. I felt different, I couldn’t confide what I’d felt or what I’d been through. It seemed shameful to even think about it. I felt like she wouldn’t understand whatever I told her, she was too naïve and innocent to know what I was feeling.

After that I began to improve again. It was the summer and I wanted to enjoy it. Beaches, ice cream and sunshine. I couldn’t miss all that down to a mental illness I didn’t even have, could I? I felt as though I had a better mind set; I was going to leave all my problems behind me, start a new life as it were.

That is what Brookhill provided for me and I loved it.

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