How I Got Help
I step on the scale, squeezing my eyes shut, afraid of the number that is going to show up. Slowly I open them just enough to read that number that my life is centered around. It says 117, that’s three pounds lost since that last time I stepped on the scale on Tuesday. Today is Friday.I’m junior in high school, a volleyball and soccer player. I get good grades, and am active in other school activities besides sports. People tell me what a great person I am. I smile and nod my head like I’m expected too, maybe say thank you, but I’m screaming on the inside, “No don’t you see? I’m such a fat loser.” If only people could read my mind.I step off the scale and exit the bathroom. I go into my bedroom and curl up on my bed. My room is the only place where I can truly be alone. I think about calling my closest friend, Brooke, a woman so close she’s like a sister to me but I don’t. She tries to help and understand, but she doesn’t truly understand my battle. Nobody understands my battle.My mom calls me down for dinner. I got a small plate, putting tiny portioned amounts on it. My mom doesn’t question this behavior like usual. She doesn’t seem to notice that my portions have been getting smaller and smaller. She doesn’t truly know how little I really am eating. At school I eat only a small amount of food my mom packs for me. I eat quickly, then return to my room.
Two days later it’s Sunday and youth group time. This youth group is different, today is the day of the Christmas program. I am in it, barely, health issues from this disease almost prevented me from participating. I guess it was only my stubbornness that allowed me. Food is lined up across the entire gym. I can feel my eyes widen at the sight and I stand there motionless. My friends ask if I’m okay. I do not answer.
Brooke sees me and knows what is going on. She takes me out of the room and tries to talk to me. I can’t answer and run upstairs. She follows me up the stairs and into the room I settle into. She tries to help me, but I can’t respond well. My panic attack is all too fresh in my mind. She leaves me in the room, knowing that eventually my youth group will return to change for our skit.
My youth group returns, but I am still sitting in silence. I barely talk to them, something way out of the norm for me. We move back into the gym and wait along the back wall. The table of food is right in front of me. I feel my brain go blank for the second time that night. Eventually we get up on stage and perform the skit. I do my part right, but my mind is focused on the food in the back. The skit is over, the audience claps, and we get off the stage. I start off walking quickly, but once I get to the back of the room, I run. I can’t get out of there fast enough.
I go back to the room, and sit by myself again and wait for everyone to get back. Everyone returns, but I still don’t talk. I can’t talk. Everything is just too much. Soon it’s only me and Brooke in the room. I am going to her house to wait for my mom tonight. My sister has a band concert which my mom wanted to go to. She tells me that she is going to go downstairs and help pick up the gym. I stay in the room for a little bit, but go downstairs when the silence of the room starts to overwhelm me.
I walk around the gym. Fake smiling at people that say hello. Respond in any other way that is needed. The food is being packed up, but my anxiety is still so overwhelming. My mentor, Ron sees me, and says hello. I fake smile and him and say something back but then drop my head and walk around again.
Throughout the next ten minutes of being in the room Ron tries to get me to talk. He knows that something is wrong. He knows of my disease, my anorexia. He has tried to get me to talk to his niece, Katie, who is a counselor. He sees my five foot eight inch body and sees how thin I am. He tells me this all the time. I always tell him that I can’t gain weight. It’s just too hard.
Finally, everyone starts to leave. I am standing next to Brooke and Ron near the door, not talking. Ron asks if I need prayer. I nod yes, still unable to talk. I start to walk up the stairs, with Ron and Brooke following close behind.
We sit down on a couch, one on each side of me. I’m breathing heavily. This is just too much for me. We talk for a little bit, and finally I break down and start crying, something that I don’t usually do. Ron asks, “Will you talk to Katie?”
After a couple of seconds I whisper, “Yes.”