It is my birthday. I want to cry the minute I wake up. Mum is going to take me to Warburton but I can’t get moving. All I want to do is sleep through this day. I sit in the car with her and snap at her for making conversation with me and telling me twice that I should move my bag from my feet as I have no room. I don’t think I can last an hour stuck in a car with another person. I tell her I’d rather go somewhere closer. We drive to Olinda and wander round the shops. It is a sunny day yet a big black suffocating cloud follows me everywhere. The joyful Christmas songs playing in the shops make me want to puke. I pray that the shop keepers don’t talk to me and ask me how I am.

It is late afternoon and we’re trying to decide what to do next. I am beyond making decisions. Mum gets frustrated by my indecision. It is my breaking point. I decide I just want to go home and knock myself unconscious with drugs. She drives me home. She then says she has some presents for me. I can’t take this, I have nothing left in me. Thankfully there are only two. She then says she wants to sort out where to hang the swinging seat she bought me. I do my best to contain my emotions which are breaking like water over a dam wall. I tell her I’m keen for a nap. I feel like such an awful person. She is only trying to make me happy.

Gasping for solitude, I finally retreat to my dark, quiet room. I take some painkillers and sleeping pills and crawl into bed.

I see Mum again later that evening once I am feeling a bit better. She’s going to bake me a cake in a couple of days. She asks me what kind of cake I want. I then return home and go to bed again fully clothed and without brushing my teeth.

Cake. I am taken back to high school, the all girls school I spent years 7, 8, and half of year 9 at. In home room we would always have cake whenever it was someone’s birthday. It was always the same mud cake bought from Woolies, sometimes chocolate and sometimes vanilla. I was half my age, and I still feel 15, not 30.

I am fed cake. I am fed stories about myself: that I am a wicked child. I am fed words: that no one likes me, that I am a pig, a rabbit. I am fed material later to be regurgitated on exam papers. I am fed rules for how girls should present their bodies. I am fed traits about myself, that I am rude for walking out of a friend’s party. Later, I am fed more words: that I am sick. That I am “Borderline”. That I am mad. I am fed pills, and I am fed CBT, positive thoughts to replace the negative ones in my head.

I create a better life in my head, a life where I go to school with my mental health worker and we date. A life where I have friends. A life where my parents love each other. A life where I am not hated. A life where I go to the one high school and the one primary school, rather than seven. A life where I am a normal teenager, not a freak. And a life where I am fed cake, and only cake.