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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16. Visitors

As the week progressed I attended all the scheduled counselling sessions. My favourite parts of the day were talking to the other girls or chatting with Trixie.  I had developed a really good relationship with Becca, she had even told me that I was one of the best friends she had ever had. That made me feel special.

 I still hated the personal counselling sessions with Camilla. They didn't seem to help me, after each one I felt worse. I wanted to scream or punch something or go to the gym for an excessive workout. Becca said she hated Camilla too and, according to her, Rayne had swapped to have sessions with Ben because Camilla irritated her so much. Margaux whispered to me afterwards that Rayne had punched Camilla in the chest and then the nose on their first meeting. Rayne had to be dragged off Camilla and taken to a solitary room to calm down and cool off some of her anger. I resolved I would ask Doctor Wakes if I could swap when I had my next review session.

 

On Saturday all patients were allowed visitors. Trixie gave me a list on Saturday morning noting all the people who had tried to come since I was admitted on Tuesday evening. I had to choose who to see as I was limited in how many visitors I had. The hospital were very strict about who they let in and when. Everyone had to be checked for sharp materials in case one of the patients tried to steal it to self-harm or commit suicide. They were advised not to discuss any trigger related topics and to refrain from asking to visit more often. Amy and Uriah both said they had tried to arrange more visit periods but the hospital were adamant that this was the best way for our recovery.

 My list was very long considering I hadn't been at Brookside that long and I wasn't one of the popular girls. There was:

 Mum

 Zoe

 Mollie

 Azrah

 Hayley

 Victoria

 Meera

 Jasmine

 Ryan

 Liam

 Lucas

 Apeksha

 Libby

 Sasha

 

I was touched by the amount of people who cared and wanted to visit. I wanted to contact all of them but my phone had been returned to Mum as soon as Doctor Wakes noticed I had it on me. I definitely wanted to see Mum even if she would just cry. I would ask her to tell my friends a message from me and to describe the visiting to them. Maybe then they would be able to organise a few of them to visit each week. I thought that that might be something I would enjoy.

 As soon as Mum walked into the unit’s common room she noticed me sitting with Becca and Rayne.  A tear rolled down her cheek and she rushed forwards to hug me. I smiled at Becca and Rayne who were still waiting for their visitors as I left to go and show Mum my area.

 "Bryony, darling, you look so skeletal and drawn. Are you sure you're getting better?"

 "Mum, didn't one of the doctors ring you and tell you the diagnosis? I'm ill that's why I look like this.  I don't really want to talk about it though. You probably don't either. But I do love it here. I've made friends with all the girls and two boys."

 "Oh?!" Mum looked shocked. I lacked confidence and people skills so I understood her response to my having made friends already.

 "Well, Trixie, she's one of the nurses, introduced me to Cara and Elise who I played a game with. I met the others, Amy, Rayne, Becca, Margaux, Uriah and Charlie at lunch. Becca has become my sort of best friend. She's awesome."

 "It does sound as if you're happy, Bryony, and that's all that matters really. All your friends miss you, you know. I think there is a lot more to you and your personality than you ever gave it credit for. Bryony, you're clearly a very special person and everyone wants you to recover as quickly as possible." Mum stopped, clearly searching for the right words. "I heard that Victoria and Libby were coming to visit today just after me. They wanted to make sure that I would come first. We arranged to meet in the common room for this unit. Do you want to go and chat with them? I need to have a talk to your, umm, to Doctor Wakes." Mum seemed uncomfortable and I knew she hadn't been overly keen on visiting me. Mum still felt awkward around me. At least she knew Victoria and Libby were coming. That would be amazing.

 I gave Mum a smile.

 "You go. It's fine. I'd love to go and see Victoria and Libby. I've missed them so much."

 Mum and I left the room together and then went opposite ways. I almost ran to meet my friends in the common room.

 "Victoria! Libby!" I cried when I saw them sitting on the sofas in the corner of the room. "You've come!"

 They both ran over to me and we hugged.

 "We've missed you Bryony. There is so much to tell you and show you. I bet you've got some things to tell us too?" Victoria asked me.

 "Let's sit down in my area. I'm sure Trixie will bring some drinks for you. It'll be more private there too. Come on!"

 I led the way to where I had been sat with Mum a few minutes ago. Then I hurried off to find Trixie and ask her if she would be kind enough to make two hot chocolates for my friends.

 When I got back Victoria and Libby had laid out cards and gifts on the bed. There looked to be loads.

 "Who are they for?" I asked stupidly.

 "You!" Libby exclaimed. “Everyone wanted to come and visit you but the hospital rules did not allow it. So this is what we've managed to get together. Victoria also designed a rotation as to who would visit each week. Then it'll be fair and we all get to show we care."

 I sat on the chair next to my bed and began to open the cards. All of them contained 'get well' messages or 'thinking of you' phrases. I felt overawed at the kindness of everyone, I made Victoria and Libby to promise to thank everyone for me.

 The presents were wonderful too despite Trixie coming in when I was opening a nail varnish kit which included a nail file. She said it had to be confiscated for safety reasons.

 It was all too soon when visiting time was over. Libby and Victoria left and Mum came out of Doctor Wakes office. She came straight to me and we carefully hugged before she departed. I returned to the common room feeling depleted and on a low. I stared at the rotation Victoria had prepared. Next week Mollie, Apeksha and Liam were going to come. That would be exciting. I wasn’t as close to Zoe and Mollie as I had once been but I still longed to see them as well as my newer, closer friends.

 In the meantime I had to get through the whole of the next week. And I had to survive another few months before I had a chance of escaping the prison that I saw the ward as.

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