I avoided the high school lunchroom at all costs. I was afraid of figuring out who to sit with. Would I be accepted? Would they like me? All of these thoughts kept me from wanting to sit in the lunchroom. Often I would get permission to eat by myself in the choir room so I could practice piano. Much of the time I skipped lunch all together.
Today was different though. I thought, I’m going to step out and eat with everyone else. I have no idea what I had even brought for lunch that day. All I remember was sitting down across from Pauline. She had been with our class for years, maybe since elementary school.
Pauline opened up to me about how she was doing. I thought she might share about one of her classes, friendships, or even her family. Well instead, she shared something deep, painful, and hard with me. Pauline shared that she had anorexia. Her weight was low, like somewhere in the 80’s. Her parents were really worried and concerned for about her health situation. I immediately felt compassion for Pauline. I didn’t know what brought her to this point, but I knew it was painfully difficult.
I wish I knew then what I know now about anorexia. Too bad I couldn’t have googled about anorexia back then. You see, I was struggling with anorexia too. I was only 92lbs when I graduated from high school in 1989. My parents were going through a great deal of difficulty. They separated and divorced during my high school years. Life felt completely out of control to me back then. The only way I knew how to cope with it was to control the amount of food I ate. This went on for a number of years, even into college. The reality is, so many people suffer in silence. They try to cope the best they know how to in storms of life. Often though they need real help beyond themselves by seeing a doctor, counselor, or therapist.
Is this story familiar to you in anyway? Were you the girl or guy avoiding the lunch room at any cost? Did your parents struggle to get along? Did you or any of your friends have eating disorders? Think back on those days. What did you see, learn, or experience back then? What do you know now that sheds light on your past struggles?
It’s good to reflect on days past. We do this so we can see the days to come with eyes of perspective, wisdom, life, and hope.