I read a news article today that asked if suicide can be attributed to bullying. Yes, it can. It almost happened to me.
This week's blog is not my usual kind of post. It has nothing to do with my novels. It does, however, deal with a subject that has been all over social media for the past few days: Bullying and Suicide.
As a young adult fiction author, I find that many teens visit this blog. I am writing this for them. Perhaps I can help someone or at least let them know that someone knows how it feels.
It's not easy to write something so personal. There's too much info to tell here so I'll save the extra details for youth group or book club guest appearances.
High school was four of the hardest years of my life. I was bullied by my peers, fell into a deep depression and even contemplated suicide.
Was it that serious? Yes, for me, it was. People tend to assume what's going on in the mind of a teenager. They have forgotten that teens are in a whole other world at school and they can be greatly affected by that world.
I was born in Michigan but grew up in New York. We returned to Michigan when I was in high school. Moving back wasn't all bad. I just had to get used to being snowed in most of the winter. Six months later my mother got married and we moved to another city. The one thing I wasn't prepared for was culture shock.
Everything had been so easy in New York. We were a mixture of cultures that came together at school. If you were different, so what. Everyone was different.
Nothing about me was "the norm." As far as other students were concerned, I talked funny, my clothes and shoes were terrible, my curly natural hair was frowned upon (everyone had relaxers back then), I was too thin, and my mouth was too big. I didn't see myself this way, but everyone else seemed to.
I know what it's like to have a whole gym of students laughing at you because someone pulled a prank on you and now that same person wants to fight you for no reason at all. That was the day I cried in front of everyone. No matter how much they tried to lure me into a fight, I never fought back.
I know what it's like to hear people constantly talking about you. I know how hard it is to deal with. I know the fear of going back. There were times when I imagined beating them all or something bad happening to them. There were times when I imagined something bad happening to me.
There was a big picture window in our dining room at home. My plan was to run through it. Out of all the ways to go, I don't know why that thought even entered my mind. Every school year, I made up in my mind that I wouldn't live to see the next one.
It didn't matter that I was wonderful, beautiful, and sweet according to my mother and other adults. All that mattered was what was being said at school by my peers. Their voices drowned out everyone else's. I contemplated killing myself for weeks. Years later my mother told me she noticed how depressed I was as a teen. Thank God for a praying mother because I never went through with suicide.
I have to tell you what I did do as a result of how I was treated. I befriended anyone who was considered an outcast. If they won't be your friend, eat with you at lunch, or walk home with you, well that's okay. I will. I didn't care how they looked, how poor they were, or what others thought of them. I didn't want anyone else to feel alone like I did.
Things got a little better when people found out that I could dance. I was able to lift my eyes a little and not stare at the floor as I walked the halls. That ended as soon as marching band season was over.
I've never talked to anyone about any of this. It took years to get my self-esteem together. The issue also made me boy crazy as I felt the need to feel wanted, which led to an early marriage. Even then I was still too broken, and quite a bit of healing would need to take place to get me to where I am know.
Whoever you are out there, you are not alone. Stop thinking that no one can help you. Don't do what I did. You have to talk to someone. You may think that the counselors at school may not be of any help. Try anyway. Talk to your parents, talk to your pastor.
There are organizations that can help:
Guess what? I'm here for you too. Talk to me.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Haven't read The Dawn yet? Click here!