“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
NEVER BE AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT SUICIDE. NEVER BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT. NEVER BE AFRAID TO CARE. YOU MAY SAVE A LIFE!
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.