"I am unhappy here", she whispers, gazing out into the gardens. The glistening dew on the grass makes the view all the more desirable, but something isn't right. The other patients are enjoying the sharp breeze of the English morning, admiring the bird song and the colours dancing on the lake.
6:30AM, June 14 2012. Greenfield house, Mildenhall, UK. Emma sits on the window sill of a twin bedroom, with nothing in it but two beds and two sets of draws. The plain clinical mint paint contrasts with the yellow stained tiles, the whole room has become one blur of pastel shades and disinfectant. Her roommate, Lauren, is outside. She is stood underneath a looming oak tree dressed in winter boots, wooly black knee-high socks and a tight fitted sweater. Although it still looks 2 sizes too big.
When Emma first arrived at Greenfield's she was 87 pounds, with a BMI of 11.6. She was the one to beat, she was the smallest of the girls; yet she was the youngest. At age 7 Emma's mother, a middle class brunette slender bombshell, first told her she was 'too big' and compared her to other girls in her year group. At age 9 Emma embarked herself in her first ever self controlled restriction; which lead to her first hospitalisation at age 10. Now, at age 16, Emma is a diagnosed anorexic psychotic depressant with no GCSE's and nothing to show for her short life.
A nurse knocks on the door,
"You know you'll come in anyway, even if I say no" Emma mumbled.
The door opened and Nurse Jenkins stood before her holding a clip board and some letters.
"You have some post, would you like me to read it to you?"
"If you have to"
The nurse softly slid open the envelope which was only held shut with a loose paper clip - obviously hand delivered.
How are you my darling? I hope they're treating you well. I have some excellent news, your brother has been accepted into New York University, isn't that wonderful? We are all so proud of him, maybe one day you could join him, once you are back in education? No time like the present. I'm hoping this news will inspire you to come back to the real world, Emma. The world hasn't stopped turning since you left - went away.
Call if you need.
"Is that all it says?"
"Yes, why? What were you expecting?"
"Oh nothing, just something a little more..."
"Maybe next time sweetie. In the mean time though, get dressed and functioning, yes?"
The nurse left Emma to begin getting dressed; although she knew that the process of starting the day began 3 hours earlier. Emma was wide awake, and planning outfits for the week ahead which would completely change 5 minutes before leaving the room. It seems Emma spends most of her days locked in her room, trying on the same outfits that never look quite right. Weigh in's begin at 5:00AM, the rest of the patients make their way down to the nurses station wrapped up in blankets and dressing gowns; whilst Emma dances softly in her older brother's oversized cardigans and thin black leggings. It was only when she wore leggings that the other patients really noticed how small Emma was. He thighs were smaller than her knee joint, making her legs look out of proportion and bambi-like.
5:05AM 17 June 2012
"Good morning Emma, how are we feeling today?"
"Okay good, right then Emma. We're going to try something a bit different today. Please could you step onto to scales backwards and do not look at the result"
"Why the sudden change?"
"Oh don't worry sweetheart, it's just a new technique"
The soft spoken Nurse Gaile was one of the few nurses that Emma would talk to, she didn't trust the others. Nurse Gaile was an older woman, with greyed hair, who called all of the girls pet names like 'sweetheart' and 'hunny'. She was like a loveable auntie to the group and she cared more than most.
Emma stepped down from the scales and sat in the chair closest to the window, awaiting the standardised formality questions that all of the patients are asked on a daily basis.
"The scales, my dear, have revealed quit a shocking result"
"How do you mean? I've been eating"
"That may be, sweetheart. But the scales don't lie, and it seems to be that you have lost 5 pounds in 3 days."
Emma cut in, she knew what was going to happen now. She wasn't prepared.
"I'm so sorry sweetie. Your weight is now severely low and we no longer have the appropriate resources to take care of you and ensure your safety. Your parents will be informed shortly and you will be transferred to an intensive care unit that specialises in eating disorders - they will take care of you and make you better okay?"
Nurse Gaile hugs Emma softly as she cries into her shoulder. Emma knows the statistics of survival for long term patients that are then transferred to ICU, and they aren't good. Even if Emma does survive now, this disorder will affect her for the rest of her life.
"What time will I be leaving?"
"The ward will call as soon as they have a bed for you, which should be within the hour. Pack your things, and say your goodbyes. Good luck sweetheart."