Code of Silence

Shannon - Ankeny, Iowa
Entered on October 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

I believe that keeping the “code of silence” isn’t always the best thing.

My cousin was my best friend. Him and I always hung out and we were almost never apart during the summers. Almost everyone in life has faced a situation about keeping silent so they don’t hurt another person. In my life I had a choice: to keep silent about my cousins’ anorexia or I could tell people about it so that way he could get help. My decision was silence. I didn’t want him to think differently of me.

I saw that he kept getting thinner and thinner but no one else could see, only me. He always used the excuse of “I ate” or “I’m not hungry”, I wasn’t going to tell, he trusted me. I didn’t want to behind his back.

It took about 5 to 6 months before I cracked. I got a call from my mom saying that my cousin, then only fifteen was found in his bedroom with a heartbeat so faint that he was almost dead. His body was just skin and bones. He was 6’3 and weighed 109 lbs. At the hospital doctors tried to draw blood, but he was too thin. The doctors also said that if we waited another week or two, he would be dead. During the process of his recovery was taking place, I always felt that I was to blame.

The hardest thing was explaining to my aunt and uncle why I didn’t tell them. They understood but I could tell they were disappointed in me. He was able to continue because I did not say anything to them, my parents or anyone so that way it could have been stopped. I was caught between keeping his deepest, darkest secret or being a snitch.

To this day I still feel horrible and I am very involved in his road to recovery. He always tells me I am his best friend and the best cousin in the world. A lesson to learn is that even though you want to keep silent for the person to trust you, doesn’t mean that it’s the safest thing for that person.