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Posted By iamincontrol | May 13, 2014
I played on a club soccer team with the same team of girls for about six years from seventh grade through the end of high school. It was great because my new step-cousin played on that team with me as well, and we quickly became best friends. Over the years of playing together and spending weekends and summers together, I started slowly realizing that she complained about her body image a lot and constantly compared herself to me as well as our other friends. It was our sophomore and junior years of high school when her strange eating habits began. However, we did not go to the same high school, so it took me a lot longer to notice than some of my other friends who attended school with her.
When it got to our junior year of high school, I attended the first winter in-door soccer practice, and I saw that a new girl had joined our team. After I mentioned to one of my other teammates about how skinny the new girl is, I was shocked to discover that the girl was actually my best friend. I had not recognized my own best friend because she had lost so much weight from her face, legs, and chest. At that moment I became furious, and I took aside the teammates of mine who went to school with her every day. I demanded to know how they could have let this happen to her. I had not seen her in about two months because we were all involved in varsity soccer or cross country at our own high schools, and we did not have any free time on the weekends. My friends explained that they had tried talking to her about it, but she hid it from them. She did not have the same lunch schedule as any of them and every time they had a team dinner she would skip or say she already ate. I had a very hard time accepting this, and it hurt that she had not come to me or even told me she was struggling.
Within a week of finding out about my friend’s anorexia, my mom got the call from my uncle that she had been hospitalized because she had starved herself to the point of risking her life. This was absolutely one of the hardest things I went through during high school. I had always heard of anorexia, but this experience brought me face-to-face with how serious it really is. Thankfully, my friend recovered and is doing so much better, but she will continue to struggle with anorexia every day for the rest of her life.
Going through high school is one of the biggest challenges, and it took me all four years to discover who I really am and to accept myself for me. The number one thing I have realized is that there will always be someone who is better off than you and there is always someone who is worse off than you, so comparing yourself is pointless. You are you and no one else. Own it.
Here are some helpful links if you find yourself or a friend struggling with an eating disorder.