I hesitated to share the personal experience that I am about to share. But, these are the types of raw experiences that people can learn from. These are the types of stories that could possibly save a life by casting a ray of hope upon a depressed soul.
I wrote what could have been my last will and testament. I was pretty young to be thinking about such things. I was almost 14 years old, and I wanted to die. I picked up a pencil and a piece of notebook paper and began to write. I wrote about how the world would be better off without me and how sorry I was that I existed. I didn’t want to bother anyone. I had parents that loved me and cared for me very well. I got along well with my siblings. So, what drove me to this point?
Bullying drove me to it. I was continuously bullied at school. From 4th grade up to that point as a freshman in high school, I’d dealt with it. It began when a girl two grade levels ahead of me was rude to me on the school bus. She would often push other kids around too. I was upset about it, and she heard me calling her a foul name behind her back. From that day on she decided to make my life a prison of negativity. She enlisted as many people as possible to support her cause. They even carried on her work after she had graduated.
I told my parents very briefly about it. They didn’t know how bad it was. I didn’t want to bother them with my problems. I didn’t want to bother anyone. I just wanted to disappear. By the 8th grade the messages were thoroughly implanted into my mind and the brainwashing was complete. I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was one of the ugliest people to ever have roamed the face of the earth. I had my small group of friends. But, I was not to forget that I was too ugly for any boys to ever really like me. And some of my “friends” probably just took me on as a charity project. I was grateful for their kindness during the times when they weren’t laughing at me along with someone else.
The best part about the whole thing is that my main bully and I ended up going to the same high school. This was the place in which I thought I would get a fresh start for myself. Nope! It was at that point in my life when I just wanted to disappear from the face of this planet. Thus, I began to write my last will and testament…aka suicide note.
As I was writing that note, I became angry. “Why should I have to remove myself just because some people don’t want to accept me for who I am and what I look like? I love life and my family way too much to give it all up for some people who don’t give two craps about me, and won’t even take the time to get to know me!” My writing morphed from “All of the reasons the world doesn’t need me anymore”, to a list of “All of the things that are bothering me”. I wrote out all of my struggles and fears. I knew that the things on that piece of paper did not define all of who and what I was created to be.
I crumpled up the paper and I burned it while I prayed to God to help me to let all of that negative stuff go. At that point I adopted a new motto that I repeated to myself many times through that rough period in high school: “If it’s so bad that it makes me want to kill myself, I might as well stick around to see what happens.” And, so I did. From then on things began to get better.
Whenever I started to get sad or upset, I would write about it. I would read books, poetry and other literature that I could relate to. The last two years of High School ended up being great fun for me. I stopped feeding the negative attention. I ignored it and moved forward. I developed a strong bond with a group of friends who I still know to this day. I became a great athlete and was a captain of the girls track team. I did many other things that I enjoyed. I was able to enjoy myself despite how ugly I must have been.
My case was such a classic case of school bullying. It’s too bad that so many little children and teenagers are driven to such negative mindsets at such young ages. I can only thank God that I was able to turn things around for myself and overcome it. I’m deeply saddened when I hear news stories of children who commit suicide or retaliate through violent acts. I eventually began to forgive and have compassion for my bullies. I realized that many of them were spreading negativity like a plague because of the insecurities and hurt within their own hearts and lives.
Even though I was able to turn things around for myself back then, I had still been brainwashed to believe certain negative things about myself. To me, they were handicaps that I learned to compensate for in some way. I only recently realized that I had been compensating for those negative false beliefs throughout my adulthood. One thing that helped me to realize this was a video that I stumbled upon one day. It pierced straight to my heart and prompted me to understand why a reformation of my mindset is so important for overcoming pains of the past.
The following video is an animation that is set to a very powerful poem called “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan. Watch it and be prepared for a life changing experience.
(Image by John O’Nolan)