High school can be terrorizing for someone with an eating disorder. It can also be hell for her best friend. Especially with me being her best friend who has other friends that make fun of her all of the time. It is hard to stand up to them sometimes but that is my job as a friend. It is almost a rule of friendship to stand up for one another.
My junior year of high school more and more people started finding out that my friend Sierra had an eating disorder, due to her massive loss of weight over the summer. I’ve known about her eating disorder since eighth grade but I never judged her so I didn’t see why others did. She is the most beautiful kind hearted person I know. She will always listen to what you have to say and give you feed back, unless it has to with her disorder. When people would talk about her and she would find out, she didn’t care because her eating disorder totally took over her mind and told her not to care. She called it Ed, for eating disorder of course, but she would always say I don’t care who talks about me Ed is telling me what is should do. At first I didn’t understand and I would always be upset with her because I thought it was absurd for her to be listing to something that I couldn’t see, and besides that actually doing what Ed told her to do.
The more people talked the worse she got. She started not coming to school, she was in and out of hospitals, till finally she got near death and the doctors confined her to a hospital for her whole senior year of high school. It was really hard for me as her friend to have to sit back at home and not be able to talk to her, write to her or even visit her. During this time is when other students at school found it appropriate to talk about her. My high school was tiny so everyone knew everything. And everyone was friends for the most part.
Daily I would walk into any of my classes and someone was talking about her, “What an idiot, why would she do that?” or “What is wrong with her, why is she doing this to herself?” My problem was that people were talking about a subject they had no idea about. Finally one day it ate at me so bad I snapped. A couple of my close guy friends were making awful jokes about her in our history class and I had had enough of it so I freaked out on them. Embarrassing them in front of the whole class, I was so mad at myself for not doing this sooner. I felt like a bad friend for not standing up for her earlier, but then this other part of me was so relieved because I knew she would have done it for me any day.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.