An extract from a developing novel I began at university (2017 / 2018).

This may be triggering for some people. If you have suffered from EDs, please read with caution or not at all. If you feel you need help – please consult the pros x

Chapter 8

I open a cubicle door, struggling to get in because of the size of my backpack. I sling it into the corner and turn to face the bowl. I tie my hair back with the bands I keep permanently around my wrist and pull up my sleeves a little.

I lean myself over.

Staring at the murky, stained porcelain, I am revolted by my face’s proximity to it, yet again. But, the rolls of fat I feel pushing on each other whilst I am curled over overshadow that. I run my hand across them reluctantly, noticing each individual bulge and how they press heavily on the larger bulges imprisoned beneath.

Disgust overwhelms me. How do I even look in the mirror each morning? The one thing I have ultimate control over- my body- is a revolting mess.

I thrust my fingers down the back of my throat. It’s warm and moist and I instinctively gag. It feels awful, unbelievably awful. I retch, but only a tear escapes from the corner of my eye. It traces a path down my face, splashes onto the toilet seat and I stare at it through blurry eyes, fixated.

I can’t even make myself sick.

Anger pushes my fingers back into my throat and further down. Instantly, bile forces its way up and my head lurches forward, angling towards the toilet. Most makes its way into the bowl, but a few rogue bits hit the toilet seat, and even my sleeve. I must be crying more heavily because there are little puddles forming on the seat, but I stay bent over, just letting them cascade into the toilet and mix with the sick.

The smell is overwhelming. My stomach is hollow, my throat raw and I have a vile taste lining the backs of my teeth. After a moment, I wipe the seat and my sleeve with some tissue, flush the toilet and lean against the door pulling what’s left of myself together.

I walk to the sink and wash my hands. Repeatedly. Four, five, six times, washing away the shame. I scrub my sleeve too, but I can still smell the sick that’s permeated my clothes. I clean my hands one more time.

The bell rings and I quickly pick up my bag and head to afternoon registration.

I sense my face flush as I walk through the door. It seems like everyone’s eyes are on me, like everyone knows exactly what I’ve done. It’s like this every day now. My jaw is throbbing incessantly, I try to unclench it and curve the corners of my mouth but they’re paralysed.

Anxiously, I take my seat next to Lilly, conscious of the beads of sweat gathering under my arms. My shirt is sitting uncomfortably against my body and it’s making me feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic.