Overcoming Adversity PS - Brutal honesty please

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Overcoming Adversity PS - Brutal honesty please

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:17 pm

I was wondering if this comes across as a privileged 'overcoming adversity' statement. Also looking to make it more succinct [lop between 100-400 words off]. Let me know what you guys think, please and thank you.

"As we lined up for the national anthems before my first international match, our captain pulled me aside and growled “you’re the goalie; if we lose, it’s on you,” imperiously. An unsettling knot started forming in my stomach as I fought the urge to panic. I had played in high-stakes matches before, but never with the expectations of an entire nation on my shoulders. Forcing myself to breathe, I repeated the mantra that allowed me to be here: “You have to eat, man! You are what you eat, so eat hopes, eat dreams and lives. Devour raw energy. Consume the universe.” – The advice I received when I first spoke openly about my eating disorder.

In my second year of college, I developed bulimia nervosa – a condition I refused to address until it already warped into anorexia and clinical depression. I was raised in a culture that tends not to attribute much weight to mental illness. At one family gathering, a relative complained “your whole ‘depression’ thing is inconvenient. Just think about how much money and food you waste when you throw it up!” With my mother in the midst of her second bout of cancer, I hid my condition in order to focus on my family’s “real” health concerns. I polished explanations for any behaviour that could indicate a problem: the need to immediately visit the bathroom after meals was due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Crowns masked the corrosive effect it had on my teeth. Teammates grew concerned if I failed to vomit before a match, because it had become a pre-game ritual for them. The exhaustion from maintaining this bifurcated personality was overwhelming, threatening my very sense of identity. I felt like a fraud – lying to my friends’ faces, convincing people I was “fine,” while sometimes spending days or even weeks in bed. At first, I missed classes, but soon I was cancelling commitments with friends, failing to complete assignments, and finding co-workers to cover my shifts. I was afraid of the depression and the shame and inadequacy accompanying it.

Soccer provided a respite from the anxiety that pervaded the rest of my life at [school]. Zigzagging across the field, I felt as if I could outrun the darkness. But while I could ignore the depression for ninety minutes every Saturday, the physical repercussions of malnutrition were impossible to avoid. Due to my emaciation, I had suffered an unusual number of injuries in my first two years – broken bones, torn ligaments, and even a concussion, aggravated by an existing biochemical imbalance in my brain. Injuries of the body however, were easier to deal with than afflictions of the mind. I could rehabilitate a muscle or strengthen bone, but my pride had prevented me from seeking help. The first time I was forced to acknowledge my condition was at a selection camp for an all-star team. Despite putting on a favourable performance, my name was the first one called once cuts were made. Apparently I was too small to play competitive soccer – a malnourished 5’8”, 148 pound twenty-two year old posed too much of an injury-risk. Soccer had developed into a crutch, one that made living tolerable. The loss of such a survival mechanism forced me to admit that I had a problem. I was uncertain whether the eating disorder caused the depression, or vice versa. What I did know was that something is only a phase for so long before it becomes who you are. I was waiting to be well, rather than actually making an attempt to get well.

When I first opened up to a friend, Abe, he offered the quote on needing to eat and suggested that I pretend my condition was an external entity. I started referring to it as my “ugly friend.” Addressing it as such meant that it was not inherently a part of me, but something I could overcome. In the summer of 2011, I made confronting my ugly friend a full time job. My work ethic had suffered as a result of depression. Knowing this, I refused my psychiatrist’s suggestion of taking anti-depressants, afraid that I would ease up on my commitment if the medication made me feel better. On my first day of recovery, simply keeping down a meal was a significant achievement. One balanced meal slowly gave way to a regular breakfast routine. During each visit, both my physiotherapist and my counselor expressed their surprise at my progress. By May 2012, I was consuming over 5,000 calories a day and had gone almost two months without a visit from my ugly friend.

My first tryout match however, demonstrated just how quickly he could resurface. In the opening play, a shot slipped through my hands and resulted in a goal. A single mistake threatened to rend the scab that had formed over my insecurities. My game fell apart and by the tenth minute, I was on the bench, actively resisting an overpowering urge to purge. The inability to control my own performance renewed the feelings of inadequacy I had buried. But where blowing a game would have once discouraged me from trying out again, this time it merely strengthened my resolve. The next morning, I was at the field by sunrise, ball in hand, refusing to return home until I was certain that I would not drop the ball again. At the end of the second training camp, announcements were made for the national squad’s final roster. My name was among the first ones called.

Weighing in at 175 pounds, I am still the smallest person on the team, but that is a testament to the size of international athletes. I have learnt to accept failure and acknowledge what is and is not within my control. I understand the necessity of not just a solid foundation, but dedication to constant improvement. In my darkest periods, my internal struggle made me lose sight of the person I was. I still think of my ugly friend at times, but now it is with gratitude for allowing me the opportunity to succeed. I am secure in the knowledge that the commitment and determination I have shown will shape my future successes. I am ready to engage the study and practise of law with the same courage and discipline that were called upon during my first test match.

That day, as the national anthem began to play, my voice was lost amidst a capacity crowd singing along. Feeling my tears flow, I stood in the [colour] shirt that represented my country with Abe’s words resounding in my ears. This time, the churning in my stomach wasn’t insecurity. It was hunger."


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Re: Overcoming Adversity PS - Brutal honesty please

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:11 am

Cute statement, nicely done


1) Your connection to law is a really cheap tack-on, I would honestly just cut it out all together. The message you are trying to convey with that sentence is understood implicitly anyways.
2) I would have personally preferred some contextual information/background as to why you developed bulimia.
3) How does Abe's words relate to your final sentence? How does "ugly friend" relate?

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