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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18. Reaching the 'Ultimate Goal'

"Bryony are you there?" I recognised the voice as belonging to Trixie.

"Please come down Bryony. Everyone's really worried about you. Doctor Wakes said he feared you may be lost to us but I don't believe him." Becca was there too then. That was definitely her voice.

I lent down and peered at the ground, trying to see exactly who had joined the search mission to find me.

"Bryony? Come on. I don't want to lose you as well as Rayne." Daniella called out.

She began to say something else but I didn't hear. Daniella's comment about Rayne startled me to react. I wasn't going to be like Rayne. I was stronger than that. Wasn't that the reason I had run here in the first place, to prove that I was not like Rayne?

I clambered out of the comfortable spot I had made in between a cluster of branches and the tree trunk. After sliding down the trunk and grazing my wrist slightly I found Becca, Daniella and Trixie waiting for me. Becca hugged me and Daniella began crying before coming over to hug me too.

"Are you alright Bryony? Why did you take off like that? You've been gone all afternoon." Daniella asked.

"I'm fine now. I just needed some space to think and get away from everyone. It was beginning to get a bit too much for me." I replied.

"But Bryony," Trixie cut in, "You should know Jade or I would take you out if you asked. With permission and supervision a walk outside the hospital is fine but your sudden departure worried us all. Doctor Wakes wanted to contact the police."

I slouched along beside them. I still wanted to be alone but I knew there were more questions to come and they probably all wanted to get back in time for dinner in half an hour. It didn't matter that our unit suffered from disordered eating habits, dinner was still regular and we all had to attend. Though if I played my cards correctly I could possibly get out of it today.

Unfortunately for me, that wasn't possible. As soon as Trixie had persuaded me to enter Dr. Wakes office I was under strict surveillance. Jade, who was still in shock from her discovery of Rayne attempting suicide, had been posted in a side room and given the task of being Dr. Wakes' secretary. For the following night she was to supervise me. I was to sleep in a side room to prevent me causing any more disturbance from my apparent harassment.

After being told all this Jade came in and almost paraded me to the side room which was to be our temporary living space. In my hope to miss dinner I had begun to think my punishment for running away was to be left without food. That would be heaven. I needed time to contemplate, to think about Rayne, my feedback session and how I was really feeling. Food was an unnecessary distraction. I didn't need it, whatever all the health professionals seemed to think.

However, when Trixie came in with my night clothes and toiletries she was also carrying a plate of tomato and carrot penne pasta with bread.

"Hey Bryony!" Trixie said cheerfully. "I've got everything you'll need tonight and Dr. Wakes instructed that you eat this."

Trixie placed the food on the desk in front of me. I stared at the pasta and bread. My brain automatically began calculating calories. Bread and pasta! So much starch!

"But Trixie! There's so much starch and fat!" I burst out, unable to restrain my actual feelings and thoughts any longer. "Do you expect me to eat rubbish like that? We had pasta yesterday. Can't I have some vegetable curry as a stew and a piece of fruit? You all just want to make me fat. It's not about getting better, getting healthy, is it? Maybe that's why Rayne tried to dissipate her life."

"Bryony," Trixie had come to kneel next to my chair and she looked frightened by my sudden outburst. I easy too to be honest. "Bryony, none of that is true. We can discuss all of this in the morning in your next review session. Now you need food and rest to sustain you and help you think clearly. Maybe it wasn’t such a brilliant idea to let you and the others go to see Rayne the other day. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Your review session is at nine thirty tomorrow morning. I will be there to comment on finding you and most of the staff along with Dr. Wakes and Dr. Chapman will be present. You're actions today were quite wild and everyone had some part to play. This could decide part of your future. Bryony, please be tolerant and calm tomorrow, for your sanity and the hope of getting away from this unit soon."

Trixie got up and left me to consider and ponder on her words. She sat on the sofa next to Jade's bed and began flicking through a magazine.

"You can go Trixie. If you want to." I said, not wanting to cause problems and wanting to be alone to get rid of the pasta.

"No. Sorry Bryony. I have to stay till you've eaten to report back to Dr. Wakes that all is well and you are still eating. Please eat and then we'll all be in someone's good books and you won't be in as serious a situation as you're pushing yourself into." Trixie returned to her magazine.

I debated the advantages of giving in to please Trixie and keep everyone happy, leading them to believe I was improving. I counteracted each one with a disadvantage. When I decided I should just eat it to escape the disheartened, hopeless building the pasta was almost cold. Trixie had gone and Jade had appeared. It was disgusting and I had to fight the urge to throw up.

"Well done. I'll return your plate." Jade said, smiling at me as I sank onto an armchair and picked up my copy of Divergent. I considered getting up to throw my dinner up but the effort it took and the speed at which Jade made the journey meant it was an impossible endeavor.

I went to bed early, dreading what the next day would bring.

***

 Nine thirty-one. Everyone but me was seated for the review session of my progress and minor supposed relapse. I knew I should go in and allow the meeting to start formally but I clung to my last thread of hope in being able to escape. If I didn't enter then maybe all would change. I hoped so. A moment or so later Camilla and Benjamin came out in search of me and I was found lurking in the corridor, outside Dr. Wakes office.

"Come in Bryony. We've been waiting for you for five minutes now." Camilla barked this at me, almost turning it into an order. Benjamin clearly felt this too as he came over and whispered in my ear:

"We haven't been waiting all that long. Don't fret about it Bryony. I know Dr. Wakes said we should let you do things at your own pace but Camilla doesn't seem to understand. I see you don't get on brilliantly."

I giggled, despite myself. "That's a slight understatement."

 Benjamin opened the office door for me to go in. I sat in a chair in the semi-circle next to Benjamin. He made me feel safe and I believed he understood better than most of the others present.

"Bryony, thank you for honouring us with your presence." Camilla said, though to me it seemed as if she were spitting out poisoned words.

"Camilla, please." Dr. Chapman gave her a withering look before turning to me. "How are you today, Bryony?"

"I'm alright. Thank you for asking." I replied awkwardly, fiddling with my thumb to distract myself.

"Why did you leave our consultation so suddenly yesterday? You gave us a real fright." Dr. Wakes inquired.

"I, umm, I wanted to be alone in a private place where I wouldn't be disturbed. You're, umm, the comment of me being set back by the trauma with Rayne angered me. I wanted to prove you wrong but I also wanted to escape to clear my head. I feel so enclosed and barred in this hospital." I stumbled through my explanation, hoping no one present would spot any flaws in my reasoning.

"But Bryony, if you talked to us and confided in any one here then we could prevent you feeling this way. I know you have built a strong relationship with Trixie. She would, I am sure, have been willing to help you." Dr. Wakes glanced at Trixie as he spoke and she inclined her head in agreement.

The consultation went on for well over an hour. Many nurses and members of staff had to leave to attend to their duties but still we continued.

Eventually it was decided that I would be given a week to prove my sanity and improvement. After this time another consultation would be held and my future decided.

I passed the week following the plan of every other week I had spent in the unit. I did chores in the morning and attended counselling sessions. In the afternoons I read or played cards with Becca. Sometimes Trixie agreed to take us shopping or let us go to the cinema. Becca didn't ask what had happened the previous few days and neither did Daniella. They were both supportive to me over the next few days and they helped me progress and not relapse which would have been easy considering my current mental and physical vulnerability. I knew all the nurses for the unit and both my assigned doctors were constantly watching and monitoring my every move or action. I remembered Cara and Elise both mentioning similar treatment before they were granted a permit to be an outpatient. I prayed I was to be allowed out soon.

The week sped by, as all good times often do, and the day of the consultation was upon us. This time I wasn't given the opportunity of being present so I don't know what was passed. I had a separate meeting with Dr. Wakes afterwards. He informed me of the best possible news I had ever hoped to hear come from his lips.

"Bryony," he began, "After monitoring your progress we have reached the conclusion that you are ready to leave the unit and only return twice a week as an outpatient. What do you think?"

I grinned at him and expressed my thanks for what he had done. Tears streamed down my cheeks despite my happiness. I was to leave Trixie who I had seen as an older sister figure and all mu new friends such as Uriah, Daniella and Becca especially.

"Bryony, last week’s discussion was not our only influence for this decision. You have made rapid progress with your weight gain and we now feel you are in control again instead of the anorexia. You gained ------ kg which is marvellous. Congratulations!" Dr. Wakes was pleased and he had already rung my mum to come and fetch me the next day.

That evening we had a special meal and then all my friends, basically every inpatient, gave me hugs a card and a gift. I promised that I would always treasure the gifts and that I would visit them all regularly. I would have to visit whenever I had a session anyway, I understood the value of having many strong friendships and wanted to keep building on that.  Friendship was the truly stable element of my life and I didn't want that crumbling.

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