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Roslyn appreciated the humour and honesty. It was nice to hear that he wasn’t taking things too seriously but at the same time he was still trying to help her because he was giving her some advice that she actually needed. She knew that eventually she would have to find something that she could tell herself to talk herself down because Damien couldn’t be there for her all the time. [b “Right...breathing...”] It hadn’t really dawned on her until then that she had spent a lot of time with Michael holding her breath out of fear. At first she closed her eyes and breathed through the fear, counting down until he left her alone and then eventually she just started to hold her breath until it was over. That was especially the case when it came to his forceful nature in bed. Eye eyes shut shut right, breathing held back until he was done and then she cried herself to sleep.
Roslyn finished the food on her plate and was quite satisfied that she had managed to get through her first meal without feeling like she needed to go and purge straight away. Normally she would already be leaving the table to shove her fingers down her throat but she felt no urge at all. Perhaps that was because she had managed to go a week without having someone tell her that she was ugly or that she was overweight or that she was worthless. It was amazing how much of a difference that absence seemed to make.
Her eyes flickered towards Damien catching sight of his bare skin only momentarily before she forced herself to look away, quite embarrassed that she had even looked in the first place. Even though it was an accident that sort of behaviour would have got her a black eye if Michael had been here. She shook her head and took a deep breath and then looked back to Damien, this time focusing on his face. [b “You don’t have to do that. I’m going to get showered up and get some rest. It’s been a long day.”] She wondered then, if Damien would also have to hang around the bathroom and time her when she was showering too. [b “Unless of course you are under instruction to chaperone me there too?”]
Right. The purging was her issue and not eating as Damien watched Roslyn casually and easily eat the food on her plate. He cocked his head to the side then, her expressing how she felt about her job assignment. She didn’t want to fail, didn’t want to take one look at the porcelain bowl that had control over her. She thought what she was don’t would improve her when all it did was destroy a pretty and healthy girl. Wasn’t her fault though, most woman didn’t just start out as victims easy to target – unless they were past victims. However men like Michael has a sixth [I sense]. It wasn’t hard to find the perfect girl to break and sometimes some broke easier than others. It depended on the hunt and prey but most of the time, they got what they wanted as predators. From that point on it wasn’t hard. You say a real nice things and then do something bad. To make up for it they just give you a kiss or flowers – putting a band-aid on a violet wound that would eventually become infected. By the looks of Roslyn, she had gotten out just in time.
“Look I’ve done toilet duty before and trust me after you put in all that work to clean, you’re going to hate the person who bothers to come in there and upchuck yogurt and a bagel.” Damien snorted some, trying to make light of the situation in a sense. He leaned forward then, his hands interlaced as a fist under his chin. “Look Roslyn just like in yoga it’s all about breathing. Try not to stress yourself or work too hard. When you get an urge, step out and breathe. Everyone will understand. You should try to find your mantra - a lot of people have it. It’s something you say over and over when you feel like you’re going to relapse. Helps me at least. “ Damien has finished his food then, drowning the rest of the milk before washing his face. He sighed out, stuffed as he leaned back to stretch, revealing just a hint of navel and the v shape of his lower half. “I’ll walk you to your section,” he said with a small smile. There it was again. What was it about her that made him want to be nice despite his normally grumpy attitude? Maybe it was those eyes – so lost. He’d seen that look before and identified with her.
Between Justin and Damien, Roslyn had a really good chance of recovery and regaining some self-control and remanence of the person that she used to be. Although a part of her also wanted to become a new person, someone who was stronger than the person she used to be so she would never fall into the trap that Michael had set for her again. The very fact that she wanted to get better would be more than enough motivation to make sure that she stuck to her meal plan. She also didn’t want to let Justin or Damien down which in her mind was equally as important as making sure that she didn’t let herself down. They were both investing a lot of time in her and she didn’t want to be the cause of any disappointment. Although part of her did wonder if that personality trait was a shadow of what Michael had done to her.
After a minute or two she was no longer focusing on the food on her plate and she was just eating it casually without a second thought. Actually eating the food was never the problem with Roslyn, it was more her actions that followed eating the meal that she would need to talk herself out of. For now she was distracted with the thoughts of the session tomorrow, wondering what she would write. She figured that the best thing for her to do would be to write something that she wanted to get rid of and literally cast the negativity away when she sent it away. The one thing she wanted to get rid of more than anything was the terror and fear that she felt but it would take more than words on a piece of paper for that to fade. It would take for Michael to go to prison for what he done to her and her child for her to feel safe again.
Another thing that Roslyn had to work on was exercise. While her body was quite weak anyway, she had become quite addicted to exercise too and she needed to make sure that she didn’t overdo it but also maintain a healthy lifestyle. [b “Yoga sounds good.”] Yoga seemed like the happy balance between keeping her mind and body healthy and also not over doing it with exercise. Roslyn was used to running for hours on end on a treadmill until she was literally ready to pass out. While she hadn’t seen the gym here she knew that there was one and she figured that she would have to warn Damien at some point that it was also part of her personality trait to become slightly obsessive when it came to working out and that he would perhaps need to talk her down from that at some point.
[b “He has me working in the ladies bathrooms, morning and night...”] She waited a moment, knowing that Damien was smart enough to figure out why that made her feel anxious. [b “I understand why he has assigned that to me. I just don’t want to let him down and it makes me nervous to know that I could so easily fail just because I have to face it head on.”]
He thought about her comment earlier, glad to hear that her session went well, and that made Damien feel comfortable with the idea of this whole counting calories and making sure she wasn’t purging. Roslyn of course seemed like the type of woman who didn’t want to stir any trouble though. Probably from years of manipulation, eventually she would regain that confidence that she had lost to the point she would have her backbone again. He knew that Roslyn was not a lost cause. Of course it had taken her time to get here and Damien was sure that something way dramatic had to happen to her to make her decide to come here. Everyone had a breaking point. For Damien it was the overdose and escaping prison time. He gave up drugs for his brother and for his mother too. He didn’t want to end up dead.
“Yeah Justin is a very good guy,” he commented. It was the truth. There was no one who Justin couldn’t get through to. The man was exceptionally good at his job.
Damien had followed Roslyn to their table from lunch, clearly a routine would work best when it came to helping the girl get better. Eventually she would build her own routine and for the most part, Damien wouldn’t have to watch over [I everything] that the woman did when it came to being at the rehab.
He handed her plate and utensils, taking a sip of the milk before starting into his food. He moaned a bit, enamored by the taste. It used to be a time when Damien would waste away from the drugs, not in the mood to eat and now it was all he thought about. Luckily born with a fast metabolism and the male was big on working out now. If you looked at his mugshot and a picture from now he would look like a whole new person.
“It’s just like a little outside time, fresh air and working out – they have yoga too which is really helpful. Tomorrow is Kite Day though. Every Kite day you write something on a piece of paper. A wish, a dream – something that made you sad or mad or even happy. Then you let it float away, supposed to be like a good way to release any thoughts you may have.” He was stuffing his face, trying not to eye her plate too much. “What’s the assignment?” he asked her. He couldn’t imagine anything that would give her that much anxiety.
Of course Roslyn was feeling a bit fragile after her conversation with Justin, but she was here out of her own choice and it was the first positive conversation she had had in a long time. Not positive because of the content of the conversation, but positive because she knew that things will get better from here on out. There would be no resisting from her if she could help it. The only thing she did worry about was trying not to purge herself of food after she ate. It had become habit and routine for her and it will be something that she would find difficult to break, but she would break it that much she was confident about. She supposed it was just like an addiction, something that one was used to doing. All she needed to do now was cut it out completely and she had to remember that she was not alone in this and that she had people around her to help. As long as she spoke to someone when she felt like doing it, she was sure that she will be able to avoid it.
Roslyn thanked Justin before following Damien to the cafeteria. She could tell that he was unsure about whether to ask her about her session but he did anyway. It didn’t even make her feel uncomfortable, in fact it showed her that he was serious about helping her and being her mentor regardless of the fact that he had seemed a little bit unsure of it to start with.
[b “It was a good talk. I mean, good in that I got a lot out and I feel like he understands me...you know?”] As they entered the cafeteria Roslyn started to feel a little bit nervous. She reached for her own tray only to realise that Damien already had two plates on his and was clearly taking his role quite serious by choosing her food for her to make sure that the portion size match what her meal plan said.
She remained quiet as they worked their way around the food, opting not to go for desert but mostly because she never really enjoyed sweet things anyway. She poured herself some water and follow Damien to the table that they had spent lunch. It was nice to sit somewhere familia as it gave her some sense of routine which is something that she needed. Hopefully she would be able to maintain this feeling.
[b “What’s the outdoors session tomorrow?”] She asked as she took her fork and started to kick at her food. At least it tasted good, which was a positive start. [b “I feel like I should tell you what job Justin assigned me to as well. I’m feeling really anxious about it.”]
Damien gave her a small smile, definitely out of his character which he realized as the stoic expression soon return. He nodded.
“Alright you guys at well, I’ll see you tomorrow for the outside session.” Damien motioned for Roslyn to follow him, walking by her side, a bit taller so his movements were a bit quick, which he had to slow down to make sure to keep pace with the woman. Sometimes it wasn’t the best to ask someone how their session went especially right after a session as they could sometimes still be in a fragile state. Damien just wanted to kind of evaluate the situation, not sure if she was in the mood to talk or if she wanted to just keep to herself.
“Good talk?” He asked her in a low voice, briefly looking at the woman before turning a corner. He had to remember that Roslyn had not been here and tried to recall that so as not to get her confused or lost. The facility was big, but once you were there long enough, it was easy to remember where everything was. Damien had led them back to the same cafeteria they had bn in earlier for lunch – well his lunch as Roslyn had opted out of eating.
The food court was more buffet style and self serve, though there were people who were in charge of prepping the food in the mornings for breakfast, another for lunch, and following for dinner. Damien was responsible for morning prep. The breakfast choice for the night was pretty light and there was not much to choose from – especially with how strict Roslyn’s meal was to be: chicken, rice, and vegetables. He felt weird having to look over someone and make sure they eat, watch their every move to report.
Damien had grabbed a tray for him and for Roslyn, as well as two plates. He was more concerned she would fall over, not sure just how well she could carry the tray. Damien began down the line, “Uh okay, so – this looks like a good piece of chicken,” he said before clearing his throat, placing the food on her plate before him the same, if not a larger portion. He finished with the rest of the sides then.
Making sure to grab dessert, his favorite – strawberry jello. Many people hated it, Damien had ben in and out of hospitals so many times that he had become obsessed with it. It was a perfect balance of sweet and citrus with a splash of lemon on top. He grabbed a cup and filled it with milk – the only choices being milk, juice, or water. Fortunately their table hadn’t been snatched just yet. [I Their table]. He raised his brow at himself thinking abut why he had considered it theirs.
For the first time in years Roslyn felt like she might actually be free one day. While she was no longer in the grip of Michael, until she had faced her eating disorder and returned to full health and until the legal case was over she would not [i feel] free. One of her biggest fears was that Michael would somehow walk away from the court completely free. That was something she could not control and if Michael didn’t go to prison for what he did, she wasn’t sure that she would feel safe, not even here in this facility. Although, part of the reason why she admitted herself here was because there was constant surveillance and it would be very difficult for Michael to get close to her to hurt her. Roslyn had made it clear to Justin that she didn’t want to accept any visitors during her time here, mostly because she was scared that he would try to see her and talk her into dropping the case against him. He had been very good at excusing his behaviour in the past and she wasn’t sure that she was strong enough to look passed if he tried.
However, losing the baby seems to be the last straw with her. It made her realise that it wasn’t just her that he was hurting and that she deserved more than this. That was her motivation and getting better, although she wasn’t sure how she would be able to survive outside of this facility after she had regained her health and confidence. She wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to trust a man enough to ever have a loving relationship and she hated that Michael had taken that away from her.
It wasn’t long before Damien turned up at the office and she looked towards him. She wasn’t ashamed of the fact that she had clearly shown evidence of her tears upon her face. It was all part of the process and she needed to accept that she would look vulnerable on many occasions here and she would not be judged for that. She nodded towards Damien, a little nervous about the prospect of following a meal plan and eating in front of someone, knowing that they were watching her every move.
[b “I’m all set.”]
Justin smiled then, glad to see that the woman wasn’t resisting. He knew a lot of women who were like Roslyn and as long as you tried your hardest, there was hope. The only thing was trying, believing in yourself and of course staying away from your abuser. Some women struggled with that – they would still answer the phone or even go see them even if they had a restraining order. Sometimes those were the women that ended up in the morgue.
The best thing was that there was a legal issue going on between eh two, as Michael had attacked Roslyn with a knife and had been responsible for the death of their unborn child. He knew Roslyn must’ve been devastated by the memory, probably something that haunted her dreams. That would be one of the hardest things to get through.
He had faith in Roslyn though and he had faith in Damien. He wouldn’t let Roslyn fail and if he knew anything more about Damien from their counselling sessions, Damien did harbor some guilt about his mother. That being why he was so callous about Roslyn and the perfect match. He would push Roslyn pass her limit.
Damien full of his lunch had taken a nap then, falling asleep with much ease. When he awoke, he started to work on a new art piece. It was therapeutic for him and something Justin had insisted he keep up with, promising that he was very talented. An orderly had come to his room, knocking on the door that was already open before stepping in.
“Doctor Morris wants to see you in his office.” Damien nodded then, closing his sketchbook and putting on his shoes before heading out of the room. Most of the attire the patients wore depended on their level. Most of the newcomers wore basic uniforms with a red patch for the pocket to indicate their level. As you moved, your clothing was still limited but a bit more casual wear: a plain white shirt, dark pants unless you preferred khaki. Everyone however had the same pairs of shoes – a pair of sandals for the common showers and slip on shoes.
He casually walked down the hall until he reached Justin’s office, knocking before entering.
“Why don’t you guys head to dinner, service should be started soon. I want you to become familiar with Roslyn’s meal plan.” Damien recalled the conversation he had with him a bit earlier regarding helping someone with an eating disorder – he didn’t know that basic conversation would lead to him being a mentor for one.
“All set?” He asked Roslyn, noticing the red eyes and figured she must’ve had a good session with Justin.
Roslyn knew that she was in a safe place and that it was okay for her to cry here. It helped her get some of her emotions out and after being told she wasn’t allowed to cry and show her emotions for so long, even being given the freedom to do so here was offering her a sense of control over herself which she hadn’t felt in a long time.
It seemed that their session was coming to an end then and Roslyn tried to focus on ending her tears, knowing that she couldn’t sit and cry until it was time for her to go to bed. At least she didn’t have to talk about the baby yet. She would certainly need more than a few hours if she was going to have to work through that, hell she would need all day. She wiped at her eyes and tried to refocus her attention on Justin who was telling her what her job would be and she almost froze when he announced that she would be working in the bathroom. That was the worst place for her to be but she figured he had a reason for it. Justin has clearly wanted her to face her problems head on and rest her strength. Her job might have seemed small to an outsider but for her, this would be the hardest job she would ever have to face.
Roslyn glances over the meal plan but didn’t voice any opinions on it. While her eating disorder had started because Michael kept making comments in her weight, it became more about control since that was the only thing she had been able to control herself. Knowing that someone else would now control her meals and monitor what she ate would be difficult but she had to remember that this was her choice and that meant that she was in control, all she had to do was follow the plan and be open to everything.
It was clear that Damien would become very important to her in here and that they would be spending a lot of time together and she nodded when he told her that they would have tasks to do, some of which she assumed would mean talking about things that made her uncomfortable. [b “I understand. I really do want to get better.”]
Justin could see the woman before him crying and he made sure to and the session then. ”Good, as long as you try that is all that we ask of you. And remember it’s okay to fail. Trust me, we’ve caught some people who still manage get their vices in here and end of relapsing. The best thing is to try and if you fail to continue to try. “No one is helpless,” he told her with a smile. He patted his legs then and came to a stand. “I think this is a perfect end to the session. I shall see you again at the end of the week and see where you’re at. As far as your job, I’ll give you something a bit light, you’re in charge with another girl Tessa to keep the female bathroom facilities clean and stocked. She’s a nice girl, she will be sure to get you all started. That job is every morning and every evening.” He checked the time then, had been quite a session – nearly three hours. Justin didn’t mind though. He rifled in her file to pull out the laminated meal plan. The portions would start out small, just get used to eating so as not to overwhelm the body. Tonight for dinner would consists of rice and chicken with vegetables. Over time her calorie intake would increase and she would be gaining weight. Of course that was dependent if Roslyn could resist throwing everything she ate back up, this being why he had her own bathroom detail. He wanted her constantly faced with the one object that gave her a sense of pleasure and control and yet also a never ending other form of cycle of abuse she was trapped in.
Justin walked over toward his desk and pressed the intercom.
“Helena, be a dear and ring Damien to my office please.”
“Will do doctor,” the female’s voice answered shortly after. Justin walked over back to Roslyn. “I’m going to have Damien take you to dinner. There is something I wanted to mention. During the time when you’re not on work duty, Damien and you will be together going over the different events and tasks. Roslyn,” he said. “I have given Damien position to assist you to the bathroom. Now he is to only stay in the hall, but I directed him to only time you and if you go over a certain time a female staff member will check on you. Is that alright?”
Roslyn watched as he made notes on the paper, clearly analysing her and her words as she had spoken. She couldn’t see what he was writing but she knew things would be this way and regardless of how anxious it made her to know that she was being judged and watched so closely, this is what she had signed up for and she would follow the process through entirely to make sure that she got the help that she needed.
It was his turn to talk then and she listened to him carefully, avoiding eye contact with him as he seemed to details every single one of her experiences in so much accuracy that it made her feel slightly uncomfortable. He was clearly an expert in his field and she want surprised that he came so highly recommended when she had finally reached out and asked for help but the reality of his words made her feel ashamed for allowed all of that to happen to her. A part of her always blamed herself, wishing that she would have found the strength to leave him sooner but the way he explained everything made her feel like it wasn’t her fault after all. He understood her and he didn’t blame her which was refreshing.
Tears threatened the corner of her eyes as she continued to listen to him, reliving every moment of abuse as he spoke until she was crying even more. [b “You’re right.”] This was all good though, it was part of the process and she needed to feel safe enough for her to let out her emotions. She looked up then when he stopped talking about the abuse and rather focused on the plan that had been put in place to help her get better. A meal plan sounded scary since she couldn’t remember the last time she had a proper meal without feeling the desire to put her fingers down her throat after and this would take discipline. She [i needed] discipline. Roslyn nodded. [b “I will try...”]
Justin listened to the female’s words then, making sure to write down notes, things he would want to follow up with throughout the next few of their sessions.
“A switch that’s a good way to put it. Sometimes he probably would snap at something small; maybe the style of your hair, or the color of something you wore. You would get upset, but then he would distract you with a kiss or a small compliment – something he knows you are already insecure about, so it makes you value his opinions even more.” The power for the abuser sometimes wasn’t enough when it was just emotional – one it moved into physical it was sometimes too late for the abused. Justin had seen this in many of his patients who were subject to domestic violence.
He knew that Damien’s life also dealt with this and he felt like he would not only be able to heal and deal with that part of his life, but help Roslyn finally kick hers to the past and move on with life. “After physical abuse starts, the psychological warfare begins. Suddenly you are jumping at every noise, wondering if he was watching you, waiting for you to slip up and when you lost your access to friends and family – there was no one who could see the signs. So you suffered and tried to find something that you could control – something to make that switch turn back to something good, but you knew things would never go back to how they were – the sweet moments of love when you first started dating. Am I right?” Justin was trying to see how far he could push her, whether she would cry soon enough. The more he could push her and she didn’t resist, let him know she was actually taking in the information she needed to get better. Justin leaned back and watched Roslyn. “I plan to get you on a meal plan that ne of the lead doctors has written with you specifically in mind. Nothing too intense, we just needed to make sure we build your health up. Damien will oversee to make sure you comply.” Still keeping a distance then, Justin closed the file and leaned over, still making sure to keep some distance so as to keep her comfortable. “We are not here to judge and we don’t want to force or intimidate you into doing anything. We just want to make you feel better.” He said to her in a kind voice.
Of course Roslyn wasn’t going to see much progress in one day, but what was clear to her was that this place would be good for her and she would eventually get better with time and with Damien there to help her, she was sure that his tough love approach would go some way to pushing her into health once more. However, she was also ready to be a sounding board for him if she ever needed to, even if that wasn’t how things were supposed to work around here. Justin knew what he was doing, there was a reason he had chosen to pair her with Damien and she would trust that things would work on eventually.
Already, Justin was talking about her relationship with Michael, transitioning smoothly so that it didn’t feel to much like and interrogation. [b “At first he was really sweet. It was more like a switch. Like someone had turned that off and suddenly he was this awful person and then I began to forget the good side.”] She watched as he flicked through her file and then sighed heavily at his next question, trying to go back to when the abuse started. [b “The psychological and the emotional abuse started straight away. I didn’t even notice it. Just subtle comments about the way I looked, how I would look better if I lost a few pounds or how I should remember that he’s that one that wanted me so I needed to look good for him.”] She shook her head. [b “It started to get physical a year into the relationship, so...about two years ago.”] When she said that out loud she felt sick. Sick about how she had stayed with him so long.
Justin could see how being isolated to being surrounded by a bunch of people would be something that would take time to get used to. Damien was the same way when he first arrived and honestly he would try to lock himself away in his room on his bad days; not wanting to easy or talk to anyone. It would only take Justin hours before he could coax the man out. Eventually Damien did get used to it, though the man was still a bit to himself and that was why he felt like him and Roslyn would make perfect partners. They were polar opposites and yet – like ying and yang they worked in perfect harmony.
“It will take time,” he started in a soft tone, smiling at her then. “You will get there, don’t need to push yourself.” Justin could already see the slight since of change in her as for the first time she was looking him in the eyes and he figured Damien had something to do with it as the male was a big man of tough love. “You do need someone tough, but don’t be fooled – everyone has their days. And sometimes you need just a bit of compassion at times. I imagine with your relationship with Michael there was a lot of back and forth – sweet one minute and then terrible the next. The terrible though, seemed to go on forever I suppose?” He questioned her as he looked through her file then before meeting her eyes once more. He wanted to warm up to miscarriage, not even sure if he wanted to bring it up in this session as he didn’t want to upset her too much. Though, Justin felt it best t confront as many demons as one was ready when they were ready to do some. He had to feel it out.
“When do you recall the first instance of abuse? The first moment you didn’t feel safe?” Most victims of abuse took a while to see the signs and once they did, it was too late. Some were fortunate to get out early and yet there were those who had become dependent on their partners, slaves to them almost where it seemed possibly scarier to be on the outside world rather than in their presence. Sometimes losing all sense of self esteem and identity. Who where they without their partner?
The moment she walked in, she felt awkward and out of place. She should have waited outside rather than heading straight in because she had heard snippets of his conversation and the last thing she wanted, was for Justin to be angry with her because she hadn’t thought about boundaries and walked into his office while he was clearly having a private conversation, although, she didn’t really get the vibe from him that he was angry when he turned and saw her in his office, instead he ended his conversation and addressed her with a soft tone that made her realise she had been worried about nothing. Damien was right about him, he was definitely going to be able to help her as long as she could find the strength to open up to him about everything. She just had to remember that it was okay to show her true emotions here and that she wouldn’t be judged for that.
Roslyn has expected to have to Altair the seat opposite his desk but it was clear that he wanted her to be a little bit more comfortable so he signalled towards the chairs near the fireplace instead and she moved towards one of them, taking the seat opposite Justin who was already getting her file in his hands, ready to refer to anything he might need in order to help this session progress.
[b “It’s a lot.. I haven’t been around people in so long. Even getting used to the noise where is going to be tough but..it’s been okay. This is the best place for me and I know that.”] She looked to her hands and absently played with them as she spoke but she could hear Damien’s voice in her kind, telling her to look him in the eye so she looked up and trained her eyes on Justin, really trying to implement even the smallest of changes. [b “Damien is strong. He’s going to be tough on me...but I think that’s what I need.”]
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