ME AT HALF MY AGE

Inspired by @gwcoffey - I was 14.
  1. I was in 8th grade.
  2. Our middle schools were broken into just one grade level so the only kids in the entire building were my age.
  3. But about this time of year (actually since the beginning of the year) I was becoming terrified to move into high school.
    The whole one grade level thing did not prepare me for high school.
  4. And when I became anxious or scared about something I had a hard time handling it.
  5. So I was resorting back to tricks I'd learned and perfected the year before.
    I had learned how to restrict my food
  6. Anorexia was a great friend and distraction during this time.
    Although I had no idea that was going on nor did anyone else. I thought my behaviors were normal.
  7. It also gave me attention which I badly craved. For some reason I couldn't say "I'm scared" aloud but physically I could let my body express it.
  8. So I often had horrible headaches or was dizzy which made teachers especially one in particular concerned.
  9. The concern was so comforting to me. Especially because around spring semester that year I was harassed badly by my band mates.
  10. It was mostly physical and sexual harassment and it embarrassed me and made me feel ashamed.
  11. A teacher once asked me directly what was wrong and I told her about band. My classmates found out however and I was branded as a tattle tale.
  12. But at least I was thin.
    This was the mantra that ran through my head.
  13. Looking back now with the guidance of a therapist we know I already suffered with PTSD from bullying in elementary school.
  14. But the harassment (especially the sexual stuff) really made it much worse.
    And it would get much worse still in high school. And then later college.
  15. I was angry for a long time that no one picked up on the fact that I had an eating disorder (especially my parents).
  16. It only got worse the next six years until I nearly died. I sometimes think about how things would have been different if just one adult in my life would have realized I was sick.
  17. But I've had to face the fact that for whatever reason I was left to try and deal with it and the majority of my PTSD by myself.
  18. It's taken a lot of therapy but I can now say I've forgiven those who maybe should have picked up on how bad things were.
  19. Still it's hard to look back and realize that if I'd just gotten help at 14 I would probably not be struggling like I am today.
  20. A lot of growth has come from my struggle but so has a lot of pain and I feel sorry for 14 year old Kate.
  21. I'm not sure what I'd tell her. Things won't improve for another 8 to 10 years and that's not helpful advice.
  22. Maybe I would just tell her I would listen to her.
  23. I really think that's all I wanted.