Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If Someone Hadn't Taken the Time to Notice Me I Would Not Be Here Today

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

My 33rd birthday was Monday and I was sitting back contemplating my life. Where I have been and where I am going. I couldn't help but remember a very hard time in my life. This is weighing heavily on my heart so I will share with you.  I was in the 9th grade. I went to a private school. My parents worked themselves to the bone to make sure my sister and I had the best education possible which meant we wore clothes from the thrift store. We had a raggedy car that backfired everytime my mother came to pick me up from school. I was bullied. I was called names, spit on, pushed around and vicious rumors made up about me. There were other terrible things done to me that I will not mention. I would hide in the bathroom during lunch. Although I was nowhere near fat I became anorexic.

I contemplated suicide several times and even attempted. Then one day a wonderful man, Dr Fehl, noticed me. He took me under his wing. He shared lunch with me, he opened his door to me anytime I wanted to talk. He shared with me that in me he saw a leader and a person who would change the world. He gave me hope. If it wasn't for this man I would not be here. I would not have two wonderful and beautiful daughters. I would not have been there for the many clients that have shared vulnerable parts of their lives with me. Dr. Fehl was a school counselor but you don't have to be a counselor to notice someone in pain and help them find the help they need.

I share this with you because bullying is topic that is close to my heart. Almost every research paper I have written since 1997 has been about bullying, bullycide and prevention. One of the reason I decided to become a therapist was so that I could be the light in the darkness for a lost child or aolescent with no hope. I hope that one day I could start some type of program to empower victims of bullying. In 1993 they did not have a term for what I went through and almost succeeded in, but now they call it bullycide.

 Bullying is a problem that affects millions of children and adolescents of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. The consequences  can seriously affect the victim for the rest of their lives. It is a silent killer. Everyday someone choses to take their life instead of facing another day of bullying. I beg you to take notice of your children and the children around you. Some signs that they are being bullied are: If your child or teen is being bullied they may exhibit symptoms of withdrawal, depression and anxiety. If they have missing or damaged items, physical bruises and other outward signs of abuse, these are apparent signs of bullying. Other signs of bullying include:
  • Has change in eating habits
  • Makes excuses not to go to school
  • Has fewer friends
  • Feels helpless
  • Talks about suicide
  • Acts out of character
  • Avoids certain places or playing outside alone
  • Feels like they are not good enough
  • Has trouble sleeping
  • Blames themselves for their problems
Prevention is the best way to prevent suicide or bullycide. Things you can do to help are: Talk to them about what is happening with them. Make sure they know  they can always come to you for help no matter what. Make a safety plan with them on what to do when they are feeling unsafe. Even if your child is not a victim of bullying, teach them about it and the signs. They are more likely to notice changes in their peers.


This is dedicated to Dr Fehl. Not only did you save my life but by doing so you have touched the lives of others through me. Thank you!

P.S. I know this is not the most eloquent thing I have ever written but I had to get it off my chest.


  1. I'm glad the issue is getting attention now. It certainly wasn't adressed in the 1960's despite repeated pleas by my parents to school officials. No kid should have to go thru what I did.

  2. It is sad that so many lives have been lost due to bullying (due to anything). When I have mentioned bullying in general you wouldn't believe how many people think it is a normal rite of passage through adolescence. I hear " I was bullied. I'm ok." etc...

  3. Thanks for sharing Donalisa. My daughter was a victim, too. It breaks my heart to hear of children killing themselves because of bullying.

  4. I want to say that I dont think Ive read anything so true in a long time. Youve got a lot of great ideas, a great deal of perspective. I think that you definitely have something important to say and Im gonna back it 110%, man. Good job keeping this subject alive and interesting!