Three Friends, Three Triggers

I have three best friends- L, H and M. I’m going to call them Linnie, Harriet and Margie, because those names are close to theirs, and I hate referring to people as letters.

Like me, my best friends all have eating issues.

Linnie and I are the only ones who have been officially diagnosed with an eating disorder. Linnie has been suffering from eating problems since she was eleven- she’s now fourteen. Her aunts in Sri-Lanka call her tubby and pinch her arms and now she’s obsessed with pinching her skin to see how ‘fat’ she is. Linnie had to spend the last month of the school year in hospital and at home because she was too sick to come in- her weight had dropped dangerously low. Right now she is trying to recover and is following a re-feeding diet where she is fed 3500 calories a day, in order to boost her weight.

Harriet is a long distance runner and has been since she was eight. She has a coach and runs five to ten kilometers every day. She’s tiny and skinny, and terrified of gaining weight- mostly because she’s worried weight gain will affect her running. She carefully monitors the calories, carbohydrates and fat content in everything she eats and calculates how much of it she will burn off. She has expressed to me several times that she also feels that she might be developing an eating disorder. She’s fifteen years old, has never gotten her period, has no breasts and no hips. She’s like a stick.

Margie and I have known each other since before prep- that’s over eleven years, people! Margie is really, really tall- she’s 179cm from head to floor. She worries a lot about how she is judged next to Linnie, Harriet and I although we tell her she’s beautiful. Because she is. But she’s determined to burn off some kilos, and keeps setting new and lower weight goals. She has okay willpower and an abnormal love of vegetables which has really helped her along. If she eats something, she has to know how many calories it has and she plans her calories of the day out- meals, snacks, and even free choice calories. She often cooks the dinner at her house because her mum works three jobs to keep her in a private school and her dad’s a lazy asshole. She likes cooking, though, because she can make healthy meals. Margie’s younger sister Vivian (age 13) has body image issues and eating issues and Margie is forever trying to get at least some food inside her. Margie’s period has recently stopped, a sign that she is beginning to lose too much weight.

Being around so many people with food issues doesn’t exactly help my disorder. I can’t help judging myself against them and their beautiful bodies. Eating in front of them is horrible because I feel like a pig whenever I see Margie and her celery sticks, Linnie with her barely nibbled on sandwich and Harriet talking about running, and calories and burning off the food.

Below is me (left) and Margie.

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Harriet is the runner on the left. She is 15 years old in this photo.

Hhh

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And last but not least, Linnie! She’s on the left and Margie’s on the right.

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