Karen

By
Everyone grows up at different times in life. Sometimes they want to, sometimes they don’t want to, and sometimes something happens that makes them grow up faster. Sometimes the reason you grow up quickly isn’t necessesarily a good one, it is a hard time you need to work through. I used to think growing up meant getting bigger physically. That is one meaning of the term “growing up”, but it also means maturing and knowing when and what to do at the right time to help others. Life comes at you fast, sometimes too fast to control. That’s what happened to my friend Karen. She got sucked into the tornado of emotions, friends, school, and family. She lost control and desperately needed the help of her friends to get her back on track.





U13
Karen and I have always been good friends. We played soccer together and were both kind of bad so we usually sat on the bench together. The two of us had so many inside jokes just from being together so much. We would say we were twins because we both had dirty blonde hair and were about the same size. Being so close with Karen made it easy to realize when she started to change.




U14
When we were about thirteen, a couple friends and I went to Coldstone and all of us ordered ice cream except Karen, who ordered a smoothie. Jokingly we asked what was wrong with Karen and asked her if she was anorexic. She laughed along with us acting like nothing was wrong.




U15
Throughout the next year Karen started to get more distant. We still talked but there always seemed to be something wrong with her. None of us thought much of the whole situation until one day when we were at a soccer tournament and all she ate were small pieces of green lettuce. She started to get increasingly skinnier worrying the rest of us. When we questioned her about her eating habits, she would try to change the subject and not want to talk about it. We just let it go, but thinking back to those days I wish we hadn’t.




U16
One night I got a midnight phone call from a girl on my soccer team crying, saying that she had just woken up to the sound of intense vomiting. She then told me that she had gotten out of bed to find Karen in the hotel bathroom throwing up the small salad she had eaten for dinner. When she had asked Karen about it she said that she was sick and it wasn’t a big deal. The rest of us knew then that it was time to take action. We had to step up and help Karen before things got out of control.
After much discussion we came to the conclusion that the only way to help Karen would be to tell an adult about her condition, although we still weren’t really sure what that was. Being her closest friends made it very hard to sort of turn her in for something that we weren’t even sure was true. We finally gathered up the courage to tell our soccer coach that we thought Karen had an eating disorder. Relieved to have finally told someone, we all thought that we would be able to breathe again. We were wrong. Our coach told us sternly that saying someone had an eating disorder without proof could be hurtful. We knew we had done the right thing and we knew that we were right with our accusation. Karen found out and was furious with us. She said that we didn’t know what we were talking about and for the next three months it seemed as though we had lost one of our best friends.
Later that year Karen told us that we had been right all along. She was diagnosed with both bulimia and anorexia. All of us knew that at that moment Karen really needed a good friend and help with this disease. We tried to help her and her mom tried to help her. She would gain weight but then lose it right away. It got to the point where she was in the hospital in intensive care five times in two months. Her mom thanked us and told us that there was really nothing else to do for her except get her professional help.




U17
Knowing Karen would hate going to rehab, everyone was hesitant to send her there. Her mom made the final decision. Around July, Karen would be checked into a rehab center.
One of my best friends in a rehab center an hour away is a very hard thing to have happen. Throughout the time that Karen has been there my friends and I have written her a letter and visited her. She was still the same Karen just a lot skinnier with a lot of anger built up. It was really hard to leave her there at a place that she hates but growing up I have learned that I need to do what’s right for others, even when it’s hard to do.





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musicgirl757 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 2:26 am
Karens lucky to have a freind like you. i hope you get to see your freind soon. i loved this story. it was beutiful, and moving. keep wrtittng!!!!
 
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