My name is Rachel. I'm 15 years old. My story began in preschool. I was generally a very happy and dramatic child. I loved playing dress-up, acting out stories, singing, and drawing. When I started preschool, I realized how mean people could be. I was bullied constantly, left out of games, had toys taken from me. I had only two friends. When I began kindergarten, my parents made the decision to homeschool me. They had no idea what I was dealing with. Things were much easier throughout elementary school, but I still experienced difficulties. I was bullied in my dance classes. One girl even bullied me physically. When I was 9, my parents thought it would be good for me to join a choir. I did, and it later turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. Upon entering middle school, things became worse. I had just started going to Youth Group, and nobody from the group talked to me. I felt alone and unwanted. People would stare at me or make comments about the fact that I was underweight. In 8th grade, I was played by a guy. On top of this, I had a horrible stammer. My sisters even picked on me about it by mimicking me. I couldn't even ask for something at McDonalds without stuttering. I was struggling with depression, and having a hard time about it. I was already experiencing suicidal thoughts. Just before I started high school, I had started developing an eating disorder, despite the fact that I was already a little underweight. I didn't know it at the time. The transition from middle school to high school terrified me. I was still being bullied, and I felt out of control. I started skipping breakfast. The following January, I started cutting. I didn't know how to handle my depression, and I took out all my confusion and frustration on my body. Thankfully, I was able to stop cutting by that April after telling my parents. I didn't mention my anorexia. That May, I received an email from my best friend in another state saying that she had attempted suicide. It was the week of prom and my choir concert. It tore me up. My anorexia got worse, and I had begun limiting my caloric intake to less than 900 a day. I was 89 pounds at age 15. That summer, I returned to a camp that I had attended the year before, and opened up to everyone there (including the same best friend) in a sharing session. I was able to connect with so many people who had gone through what I had, and I felt supported and loved for the first time in my life. I also discovered that my best friend was bulimic. When I returned home after camp, I had a minor relapse on my cutting problems, and my mom confronted me on a book I had checked out from the library about anorexia. I was forced to tell her all. I started treatment the following month. I have now been in treatment for almost five months. I am doing a lot better, thanks to my friends, family, counselor, and a special someone that entered my life a couple months ago. My self-esteem has been boosted, and I'm no longer obsessing over calories and my weight. I have stopped cutting, and I'm finally beginning to feel beautiful and special. I'm still bullied, but I'm no longer distressed by it. I've begun to stand up more for kids being bullied around me, and I'm finally finding purpose in my life. Singing has helped me tremendously, and so has art. I am living a happier, fuller life, and I am so thankful to still be alive. If you are being bullied, stand up for yourself. Hold your head high with confidence, and don't let it get you down. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are precious. You are treasured. Whether you believe it or not, someone else does. I can guarantee it. Stay strong, and never give up. ❤
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