She's my baby sister, it's supposed to be in my nature to want to protect her, and so why was I so angry when I found out what was wrong with her? We've never been close, she knows how to wind me up, and I can't help but rise to her teasing, so we argue, and that hasn't changed. Sometimes I wonder why I haven't been more patient with her through this, I know how hard it is for her, and that it's not her fault, but I suppose part of me still doesn't understand how anyone could do that to themself. My sister was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of eleven, I'm not going to lie and say that we were shocked, we knew what was going on, but we had all been pretending that it was ok when she stormed out of the kitchen screaming that she hated us, and that she wasn't going to eat it. But the diagnosis cast into a harsh light how little we actually know about this disease - that's what it is, it's a disease, it got inside her head, and it took away her ability to think rationally, to see what she is doing to herself. But unless it is in your head that is all I think you can understand, and it is something you have to tell yourself every time she tells you that you are disgusting, every time she makes your mum cry, every time tells your dad that he's not trying to help her, and to fuck off.
Food has never been an easy thing with my family, meal times were fraught with danger even before the anorexia. There was my dad, with his fixation with manners, my mum, who believed that being thin would make us happier, myself, firmly believing that if I was just a bit thinner I would be happy, but lacking the self-control to enact that change, sister number one, incredibly fussy with her food, stick thin, ate macaroni cheese by the bucket load, sister number two, vegetarian - "I don't like killing", with a distaste for vegetables, and sister number three, the baby of the bunch, soon to be anorexic. Before you think it, I swear my family is not dysfunctional!
Looking back I can see that I didn't take the anorexia well, before the diagnosis I could kid myself that she just wanted the attention, and that it was something she would grow out of, after I had no justifiable reason to believe that, but I think part of me still believed it. As summer went on my sisters and I grew bitter of the attention that the youngest received, we knew she was sick, but she was all our parents thought about, and I suppose we felt neglected. Not that we deserved to, objectively it is always the case that our parents went through phases of worrying about each of us, and it just so happened that this was a bigger worry to them - their daughter was in danger, how could they not focus on her? But that green monster would come out, and we would all get jealous of the attention. Being the oldest, and able to drive I was able to deal with it all in a different way to my sisters, I started spending less and less time at home, I suppose it was more a coping mechanism than a way of actually dealing with it. I spent more time with my friends, and with my boyfriend, and I was able to confide in them about what was going on at home, and they would feel sympathy for me. Does it make me a bad person that I enjoyed their sympathy?
Six months later my sister is slowly doing better, her weight is no longer dangerous, but there is still a really long way to go to fix what is going on with her head. Fix her, there I go again, she's not broken, she's sick, it's not her, she doesn't feel a thrill when she's hungry, and she doesn't enjoy refusing her body food, but I think the illness does.