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Book Excerpt: Three Chapters from Finding Sarah by Joanne Jowell

Finding SarahRead three chapters from Joanne Jowell‘s new book, Finding Sarah, the true story of a young woman’s battle with bulimia, anorexia and mental illness:

Bulimia is a busy, busy, mad, loud chaos. The kitchen became a ridiculous mess; I’d walk around in a trance, stuffing my face with food, eating, eating, eating … just as long as I didn’t stop eating. I just had to have things immediately, can’t wait for something so I’m constantly eating. While the toast is going, I’m eating something else, the cheese. And then while that’s happening I’ll have to eat something else. At the end of it, there’s just everything all over the kitchen – knives on the floor, butter on the walls, sauces dripping and pans with fried stuff on them. A total mess. Afterwards, I’d look around, almost as if I’d just walked into the room for the first time, and be completely astounded at what lay there. Bags, tins, packets, jars, half-opened, contents spilling out. In the moment, it feels like everything’s an urgent matter, it has to be done right now – a crazy deadline to get that toast buttered and eaten while I’m cooking peas, because sitting here and watching food cook, not eating, means that something’s digesting. And that I can’t think about. So I just keep eating and keep eating and eating and keep eating – and then stop. Throw up. There’s no rest in between at all. You can’t rest. You must have it all now! That’s why braais and long Sunday lunches and drawn-out dinners were a big problem for me, because they were all slow. I could eat so much food within half an hour, it was ridiculous. And dangerous. Within a short space of time, I could consume about four days’ worth of food before throwing up, like 10 000 calories, which is a lot, hey?

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