I don’t envy kids or teenagers growing up in today’s society with the intense pressures that result from social media.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Nearly 1 in 5 students report being bullied during the school year, impacting over 5 million youth annually” (2018).
I was in second grade when I first started getting bullied. I moved towns that year so I was starting over in a new school.
Being around new people was very challenging for me as I was an extremely shy and anxious child.
Unfortunately, one of the girls that started bullying me was also my next door neighbor. We had the same bus stop and rode on the same bus. I sat in the seat in front of her and she would whisper rude comments in my ear.
“You are so ugly,” She frequently told me.
I never said anything back to her. I was too nervous. I believed what she told me. I felt that I needed to change; that I needed to be pretty.
Another distinct memory I have from the school bus was a girl telling me how little my hair was worth. Looking back, it is hysterical to think that this was even a topic of discussion, but at the time it felt very serious.
“My hair is worth a million dollars. Your hair might be worth $100 if that,” she said.
High school was not any better. I had friends; however, many of them ended up not being very nice to me. Girls can be mean, really mean. A few comments that stuck with me were:
“We hate Shannon. Let’s have a burning party against her.”
“Let’s form a “We Hate Shannon club.””
Do you ever wonder why kids that are bullied commit suicide?
You shouldn’t be surprised.
Bullying is horrible.
Words hurt. They cut deep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school” (2019).
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.
I tried to brush these negative comments off. One time I angrily confronted one of the girls, but then I walked away crying. I was devastated. I tried to put it behind me.
I thought bullying would be a thing of the past once I entered adulthood. Sadly, it wasn’t.
Treatment centers were not an exception to this. Girls are infamous for passive aggressive comments, which many times are worse than direct remarks. Girls will form close-knit groups and exclude you. It’s very hurtful.
One time I had a girl tell me that she didn’t like me because I was happy. However, when I was going through a very depressive/suicidal period, she started to be nice to me until I returned to my happy self. How sick is that?
It is important to remember that sick people do not like seeing other people happy! They are envious.
I know that now, but at the time it was very painful for me to experience the exclusion from this group, especially when we were all trying to recover from eating disorders. We were supposed to support each other. We were supposed to be ‘in it’ together. I thought something was exceptionally wrong with me.
Special shoutout to my girls that I met at The Ranch, in Tennessee, who were extremely kind to me. Y’all were amazing!
I doubted myself for many years because of the bullying. I truly believed the things I was told.
I would restrict more, binge more, and purge more out of sadness, loneliness and anger.
I still think back about the comments that were said to me and feel saddened about it; however, it does not control my life anymore. I realize that people can just be mean and say things on impulse mainly out of their own insecurities.
Hurting people hurt people.
I am not looking for any sympathy. Everyone has their own struggles. I am simply blogging about this for bullying awareness and to let people know how much it can truly affect an individual.
Everything that I have gone through has made me who I am today.
The way people treat others needs to be taken seriously and addressed immediately due to the detrimental effects it can have on one’s self esteem and self-image.
I am a good person despite the things that people may have said about me.
I have forgiven those who have hurt me.
God knows my heart and that is all that matters. It took me a long time to realize this though.
Can you imagine all the young girls and boys that are bullied? Add cyberbullying to the mix and everything is ten fold. They do not know that they are good enough regardless of what people are saying about them.
“Students who experienced bullying or cyberbullying are nearly 2 times more likely to attempt suicide” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018).
It breaks my heart to see people tearing others down.
I’m a strong advocator for anti-bullying because of what I have gone through. Please do not be that person who adds to someone’s insecurities by bullying them.
As I’ve said before, please think before you speak or post something on social media.
The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a complete lie.