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Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret

Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret


‘Come on! Come …on!’
In growing desperation, Jenna sucked in her stomach, breathing in as she struggled with the zip and metal button.
Finally done up, she exhaled. Immediately, the zipper snapped open, breaking under the stress, and the button popped off and rolled under the bed.
‘No! No! I hate you!’
She pulled off her favourite jeans and threw them with exaggerated force onto the mounting pile of clothes in the corner.
Her heart ached for it all to be back the way it was. Now she was unable to wear a lot of her clothes, and her favourite, once trim-fitting jeans were the last straw.
Jenna stood in front of her full length mirror, holding her hockey skirt against her body and sighing heavily. Looking down she rechecked the seams which had already been taken out to the very edge so she could wear the skirt for the team tryouts. Not that altering her uniform had made any difference. Tryouts had been and gone.
Two months of almost total immobility had sapped most of Jenna’s fitness and left her panting after even the mildest of exercise. It came as no surprise to anyone when she failed to make the team. Jenna knew it was over when she had to quit just ten minutes into the tryout game.



My passion to help teens with eating disorders began when I worked as a pastoral care worker in a local hospital. I visited many teenagers that had caused horrific pain to themselves, as well as to those who loved and cared for them.

However, this is not a story of someone with a full-blown eating disorder. Jenna’s Secret is the story of a girl who, at the brink of going too far, learns from her mistakes and from seeing those who crossed the line.

Jenna wanted to change, and because of that, she accepted the help of others. Her determination to turn her life around is helped by a network of medical staff, social workers, her family and church family. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case, but through God’s grace, it can happen. This story is meant as an early warning cry to teens and parents.

The story behind Jenna is one of a young girl who didn’t intentionally get herself into this position. No one sets out to be anorexic or bulimic, but the range of deeper psychological problems can lead to the development of more complicated and damaging symptoms of these conditions.

Just a few weeks ago, I spoke to someone who wanted to buy Jenna’s Secret for a friend whose fourteen-year-old is in hospital for the second time. The girl’s mother is apparently not visiting her daughter in hospital as a way of punishing her for getting herself in this condition, and is refusing to have her home until she’s cured. To me, that’s not the answer.

Some readers may find my approach to the topic is against the norm, and I certainly don’t want it to appear that anorexia and bulimia are pushovers to get over. That’s far from my intent. I’ve seen too many girls damage their bodies beyond repair, sometimes to the point of mutilating themselves. One girl I remember was banned from using knives and forks to eat her meals because she used them to punish herself for overeating.

This topic has been on my heart for years. What I hope to share through Jenna’s story is that it’s not the end of the road because a girl makes mistakes. We can all learn from our mistakes, and they don’t have to be duplicated.

Hope needs to be restored in young hearts, and it needs to be done early. They need to know it doesn’t have to be that way forever … if they want to change.

About the Author

Chrissy Siggee has two adult children and five grandchildren. She currently lives with her husband Norm of thirty-seven years, in Sydney Australia.

After serving many years in children and youth ministries, Chrissy dedicated herself to pastoral care and counsel to shut-ins, hospitalised, and those with special needs. Chrissy has a passion to help others through her own experiences and pastoral care training.

Chrissy holds a Graduate Certificate in Diaconate Studies, and an Associate Degree in Theology, Charles Sturt University, Australia. (The Graduate Certificate includes Pastoral Care and Counselling subjects) Chrissy also completed the CPE – New South Wales College of Clinical Pastoral Education and is a Justice of the Peace.

Writing is an imperative part of Chrissy’s life. With her unique blend of experiences, she writes mostly fiction, with poetry as her favoured genre.

Among Chrissy’s current interests are writing for her blog photography and the grandchildren.

She has been published in Footprints Australia Magazine, The Vine (New Zealand and is a contributing author to the postcard project ‘Delivered’ for Peculiar People available on Amazon.

In 2009 Chrissy published her second book ‘Glimpses of His Glory’ and it SOLD OUT in less than 6 months. This gift books exhibits her inspirational poems, devotions, pencil illustrations and nature photos.