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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17. Rayne

It was two months after my admission into the hospital eating disorder unit and everything had been going well. Or as well as it possibly could.

 Every Saturday I saw Mum and two or three of my friends. They had all visited twice each. On Sundays I would sit in the common room all day. Elise, Uriah and I always played tri-ominoes for an hour before joining Becca, Amy and Rayne on the Wii which some past inpatients parents had provided as a gift for their work in caring for their child.  That was always hilarious especially as both Becca and I were hopeless having never used a Wii until coming to the unit. In the afternoons Margaux and Charlie would join us to watch a film. We took it in turns to choose films as we all had slightly different tastes. When any new patients were admitted we let them choose the film for the Sunday evening.

 While I was there two new patients were admitted. Joey was a little fourteen year old boy who had pica, a disorder where you eat objects or chew them rather than food. He left quite soon after arrival to go to another hospital though. The other patient admitted, Daniella, stayed with us for a month. She had compulsive binge- purge nervosa. I never understood what that actually was and I'm not sure that was its real name. But Daniella settled in as part of our group and we all had good times together. She knew how to make us laugh and lighten the atmosphere.

 Becca and I sometimes got Trixie to take us out shopping or to a bookshop because we loved books and reading. We were self-confessed bibliophiles. Rayne came with us occasionally but she mainly hung out with Amy and Daniella. They liked reading magazines and discussing gossip.

***

I had just fallen asleep and was dreaming of going shopping with Libby, Victoria and Zoe. We were about to order ice cream sundaes in a small cosy cafe when my fitful dream was shattered by a shrill wailing scream that went on and on and on. I leapt out of bed and out of my personal area. Becca and Margaux were also out of bed to investigate the commotion. Just then Trixie came hurrying towards us.

 "Girls, go back to bed and try to sleep. If you can't then keep yourselves occupied. We don't want anyone out tonight. Okay?" Trixie smiled but it looked strained. She ran off quickly to the staff store cupboard and disappeared.

 "What's this all about?" Margaux wondered.

 "No idea. Who sleeps down there?" I asked, trying to work out who could be having problems.

 "I think that Daniella was down there and possibly Rayne. I hope they're alright." Becca said.

 Trixie scurried past us again.

 "Becca! Bryony! Margaux! Go to bed now!"

 The anger in her voice and the scared look in her eyes forced us to part and spend the night alone despite our curiosity and fear.

 The next morning we learnt that it was Rayne who had caused the trouble but as to why, we were still oblivious. After we'd eaten Doctor Wakes entered the room with Camilla and Benjamin.

 "We want to speak individually to all of you about a matter regarding Rayne Williams. Please go to your rooms and we will call you when ready. Today's normal planned routine had been cancelled." Doctor Wakes said.

 "We'll speak with two at a time. One with me and Benjamin and the other with Doctor Wakes." Camilla informed us.

 "Will everyone go to their room except Becca and Bryony. Bryony you'll Bryony coming with me, Becca you go with Camilla and Benjamin."

 I followed doctor Wakes down the corridor and into his office.

 "Bryony," he began, "What did you hear last night?"

 "I woke up to the sound of a high pitched scream, if that's what you mean."

 'Right. That was Jade, the nurse who works with Trixie. She was going to put some clean clothes in Rayne's room but when she went in all Jade saw was an arm lying on top of the white sheet covered in deep red blood. The shock..."

 Doctor Wakes continued, seemingly not having noticed my sudden dash to the sink where I threw up.

 "We got the emergency team up as soon as possible but it may have been too late. She's down on another ward at the moment hooked up to a ventilator and having blood circulated. Bryony, I understand that this is a sensitive topic for you but do you know of any reason for Rayne wanting to commit suicide? Or where she may have found the scissors?"

 "I don't know. Rayne seemed to be recovering well. I hadn't noticed anything strange or abnormal. She came to the bookshop today with me, Becca and Trixie but that’s quite normal. I bet Amy or Daniella would have more of an idea."

 I wanted to give help but I didn't have any information. Doctor Wakes dismissed me and I went to the common room where Becca had just arrived.

 'Can you believe it? Rayne attempted suicide! I do hope she's safe. “Becca came over and hugged me tightly.

 "I bet Amy or Daniella can help. I hope so anyway." I mused, picking up a copy of 'The Book Thief' and beginning to read. I curled up on the sofa and read until Amy entered the room. Her face was as white as a ghosts. Her eyes were red, she'd obviously been crying.

 "Amy, what is it? Come here." Becca walked over to Amy and hugged her tightly. "It's alright. At least Rayne was found and is still alive."

 "But why? Why did Rayne do it? She was doing well and I know she hoped to be out next month. Why try to commit suicide?" Amy burst into fresh tears, her voice heavy and choked.

 We sat in silence, all consumed within our own thoughts. When Daniella came in Amy leapt up and ran to hug her.

 "Do you know...?" Amy hesitated but Daniella had already begun to answer.

 "No, not really. The only thing I could think of was that her Mum didn't come on Saturday because she had a date with a new boyfriend. Rayne's best friend came instead and told her."

 "Oh!" Amy gasped. "That's awful. But is it so awful for Rayne to ... you know?"

 "I don't know." Daniella told her.

 

For the rest of the day we wandered round listlessly. No one wanted to do anything and any conversation would lead to Rayne or her problem eventually even if only indirectly.

 At four o clock that afternoon we were allowed to go in pairs to visit Rayne. Amy went first with Daniella, then Charlie and Uriah before Elise, Becca and I went.

 Seeing Rayne was definitely a shock. She was pale, unnaturally pale, with a bandage around each wrist and a plaster on her throat.

 "Hi!" she smiled weakly at us, "I've had enough of you here today asking questions. I'm okay now. I don't want to talk about it."

 "We'll come back tomorrow if that's better. We don't mind." Elise said.

 "Please. If you really don't mind." Rayne shut her eyes and rolled over. In the way out I thought I heard her mutter 'And now Mum will come. It's inevitable. I wish I could run away. I wish Jade hadn't come in.'

 But when I turned back she was breathing steadily and the nurse said she had fallen asleep.

 

***

The next day, Wednesday, was when I had been scheduled a review session with Doctor Wakes. Doctor Chapman was also going to be present. I wasn't looking forward to it since at my previous session they had pointed out all the areas in which I was still struggling and the fact that my weight had barely increased. The few positives they gave were not encouraging, there was no point bothering with them really.  Now I knew there was less hope of encouragement this time too. Rayne's attempted suicide had made the situation sticky for everyone in the unit. I had to be supervised nearly all the time because I had once attempted suicide and self-harmed. I was a risk according to Camilla, though her opinion counted for nothing to me.

 Still, maybe if I was progressing there was hope I could get out and escape soon.

 I knocked on the office door.

 "Come in." called Doctor Wakes.

 I entered and sat on the seat designated for patients.

 "Bryony, let's get straight to the point. You were deeply shaken by the attempted suicide of Rayne weren't you?"

 "Yes." I stammered uncertainly. "But I thought it had affected everyone dramatically."

 "Yes, it has but Doctor Chapman raised it to my attention that since you've had a similar experience it may trigger feelings from that time. We want to keep you here for at least another month. Then we will review your progress and mental state again and hopefully our decision will have changed."

 I gazed at both of them, shock at their sudden verdict and hatred that they had the power to do this to me coursed through my veins. It was so unfair. I'd been doing okay. Rayne's actions had not been a threat to my mental stability, at least not yet. Just because I had a history, the history of an anorexic, cutter and perfectionist, it didn't mean they could do this to me. Knowing I couldn't say any of this to their faces I got up and calmly walked out of the room before breaking into a run down the corridor and out of the unit to the park opposite the hospital.

 I raced past tulips and primroses, past the children’s play area and into a woody area with lots of tall oaks. I began climbing one and half way up I stopped and nestled into the trunk, leaving one arm tightly round a nearby branch. I needed to think. I needed to be alone to calm down and figure out what was going on.

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