Urvi - 69
AUG. 11, 2020
I had known my friend for the past 5 years. She seemed like a cheerful person. I admired her for being ambitious and exceptional in academics. She was both pretty and rich. I would sometimes envy her because she always looked well put.
We may not know, but people can be quite skilled at putting up a facade. I soon realized this.
We were 16. I would often wait for her during recess (as we were in different classes) and have our food together. It was one of the best moments of my school life. One day, I saw her vomiting during lunch. I thought she was sick. But she grew weaker and looked sad whenever I saw her. I thought she was going through a “phase”.
After having dinner on my birthday in a restaurant, I remember going after her in the washroom and catching her trying to vomit forcibly. I didn’t understand. To be honest, I was so scared at the sight of this; I wanted to run off and not deal with it. But I couldn’t ignore the sadness in her eyes. I remembered the times when she had been a good friend to me. I threw my selfishness out of the window and confronted her. The conversation that followed next changed me.
Me: Are you okay?
She: I don’t know.
Me: What is it? You can tell me.
She: I don’t want you to think that I am weird. But sometimes, I don’t like what I see in the mirror. My body is full of flaws. I dislike eating and haven’t had a proper meal in weeks. I hide everything from everyone and hate myself.
She started crying.
I couldn’t believe it. To me, she was the most “perfect” person I had ever known. I knew I wasn’t the right person for this. I didn’t know what to say to her. But I did what she would have done for me. I didn’t “judge” her. I brought her a glass of water and told her everything will be okay, “I am here for you”.
I called her parents and told them everything. She was reluctant about it. But I knew we needed an adult. Later on, I came to know that she was suffering from an eating disorder. It took a lot of therapy and help from medical professionals to get her normal eating habits back. When she recovered, she finally told me she wanted to be “perfect”. She was “the best” in everything else, but gained weight easily. She hated that and thought that if she was perfect, people would like her more. No one likes flaws.
She thanked me for giving her support at that time, even though I wasn’t very clear about what to do. Support from my part comforted her as she didn’t have to face everything alone. She is trying every day to accept and love herself a bit more with all her flaws. Even though the experience was quite scary for me, I feel proud of not abandoning my friend.
A good friend supports you and shows you kindness during tough times. Sometimes, we forget to be good friends to others and ourselves.