October Is National Bullying Prevention Month
Sadly, bullying is a real issue in our society. It can honestly happen to anyone. Even as we grow older, bullying is still an issue. Some people think it only happens to school-aged individuals. I am here to tell you that is not the case. I was bullied in school, in college, in the workplace, and in relationships. It knows no boundaries. Some people can just be outright cruel toward other human beings. We should not be tolerating this. We should stand up for the people who are being bullied. We should be helping one another, not tearing each other down.
Being bullied can lead to anxiety, frustration, increased stress, low self-esteem, sadness, depression, and suicide. Take every negative emotion and feeling, and that is what being bullied can do to a person.
For National Bullying Prevention Month, I would like to tell you how being bullied has affected me. It is deep-rooted in my life. I think lower of myself because of what I have been through. It has increased my depression. It has made me feel worthless and stupid. It has made me feel ugly and ashamed of, well, being me.For me, I have been bullied most of my life; By “friends,” enemies, co-workers, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, and, yes, even teachers who have told me I would never amount to anything because I was stupid. Call someone stupid, ugly, worthless, and all of those other things long enough and eventually they are bound to start believing it. I have never really opened up to anyone about being bullied. I kept it all inside. I have gone home in tears from being bullied at school, work, or home more times than I can count. I, generally, get into depressive spells anyway so no one was any wiser to what was truly going on. If another person gets you to the point where you just want to cease to exist, then something is seriously wrong. I should know, I have been there myself numerous times.
The bullying, for me, started to get the worse as I entered middle school. By 8th grade, I started to refuse to change for gym class – I was in detention almost every day for not changing. This was because my skin would often turn red from being active and hot. Everything from my face to my legs would turn red and I was picked on every single day in gym class because of this. I was laughed at, made fun of, and completely picked on, especially by the other girls.I was picked on for being “fat,” and even still when I lost weight. I was made fun of for my hair, my clothes, my shoes, my looks. My self-harm tendencies only further increased to a daily activity because of this. I had been pushed, and shoved. However, when it came down to an actual fight – no one had the courage because I was often called “crazy.” I was even given the nickname “CrazyGurl.” Boy did they love to make fun of me, but no one wanted to actually fight me. Even in high school, when I was at my thinnest, I would still refuse to change for gym most of the time. Eventually, I started cutting class and by 10th grade, I rarely showed up and then ended up dropping out after a boyfriend had made my life a living nightmare. On top of that, I was sexually assaulted when I was like 15. No one really knew why I was the way I was. My mom thought it was because I was being rebellious – which I kind of was – but there was way more to my story than I would let on. My home life wasn’t that great at the time either. After I tried to kill myself when I was 16 by slitting over a vein in my foot, someone in my household told me to go to the woods next time so no one would find me. God, how I wanted to just disappear.
Fast forward to my adult life. I started my adulthood, on my 18th birthday, by being sexually assaulted again. I would get bullied at work, in relationships, and during my many attempts to go to college. Rumors have always been spread about me to the point where I was just like, “Okay. Yep. Sure. If that’s what you heard it must be true!” At the last job I had, I was even bullied for being color blind. I worked with a woman at another job who would run around saying, “HTH” (hate the hair) about everyone who wore their hair in a way that wasn’t to her liking. One day, the same employee, along with another girl, picked on me because I would have strands of my bangs hanging down and they sure got a good laugh at my expense. It didn’t end there, either. Things like this continued. I was just called stupid again the other day!I have no self-esteem. I know you shouldn’t let what other people say bother you, but after awhile you just can’t help it. Many of us hang on to all the negative things people have said about it while letting the positive things slip away. I am guilty of this all the damn time. If you see someone getting bullied or know of someone who is going through this, please stand up for them. There are far too many people who have lost their battle with depression from being bullied. They think that suicide is the only way out for them.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.