Desertification is when a fresh and fertile piece of land turns dry and barren due to lack of water and nutrients in the soil. It has driven many animals and plants to the verge of extinction.
I was happy.
I was fine.
I was a fresh, full and lively spirit when I joined Woodstock in grade 9. I was hopeful, eager to learn and excited for the future. But a handful of students managed to dry me up so fast and I became a barren desert. Every day became a struggle, I felt alone and empty. I had my hair cut in my sleep, I had my belongings stolen, I was pushed into walls, my skin was burnt, I was yelled at, called names, and I was the butt of every joke … I was in the hospital for most of my 9th grade. Some of it was because of injuries sustained because of the bullying. Before I came back to school I had to be “mentally stable.”
I was frustrated, confused, angry, stressed … and sad.
My medical issues became another reason for me to be a target. This affected not only my well being but even my studies, extracurricular activities, and social life.
Are you okay?
Was I okay?
I heard voices in my head. They would tell me that my life sucked and would tear me down to the bone. I drowned in a sea of strangers judging me and they were, and are all in my head. Yet, they exist as real people too. My bullies.
Bullying is an issue. It is an issue when I and the other victims become the featured young adults in news articles and research papers as those with “long-term mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and depression.”
Useless. Demon child. Stupid. Spots. Bitch.
I was not fine.
Globally close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. About 50 percent of the people who commit suicide suffer from major depression which, as already proven, is also a major effect of being bullied. Every year the rates for bullying rise, they increase the rates of depression, they increase the rates of suicide … and yet every day I hear another term for the kid who doesn’t fit in. I see another way that you can make her feel insecure. I am victim to another act where her self-esteem is degraded. And my experience has terrified me to the extent where I can’t even try and help her.
Everything is pointless.
I have no purpose.
The methods of bullying are not reducing but becoming more advanced. Social media is a key participant in this issue. During an interview conducted of 11 to 19-year-olds a discovery was made linking their mood to the number of likes or followers they had on social media, the comments they got on their posts and chats. Social media makes sure there is another way to get targeted. The ways in which I can stand up for myself and others are decreasing.
You are nothing. Who are you? Why are you even here?
You don’t belong here. Just go jump off a cliff!
Just die already.
You are not fine.
I am not fine.
Victims of bullying are left suffering and there are no concrete methods to help us. The medicine becomes less effective every day and therapy is not what some of us are looking for. I am not the only screwed up one. The ones doing the bullying are just as screwed up if not more than I am. They are the ones who should be sent to therapy. They are the ones who thought it was alright to blow off steam on someone weaker or smaller than them. Someone who has had to go to therapy sessions and pop pills to feel better. Someone like me.
You need help. You are broken.
Please don’t judge me.
The solution is not just working on me — the victim — but also working on the bullies. Showing them they don’t have to be the bully. Showing them that there are other ways. I’m expected to be the broken, empty one who needs help. I’m thought to be the dry land that needs constant watering and constant nurturing. I’m told I need this nurturing. I’m sent to therapy to receive this nurturing. Because I still feel like it was my fault! Like I wasn’t good enough! Like I never will be!
Counseling. Therapy. Pills. Electroconvulsive therapy (electric shock therapy).
I am still not fine.
It isn’t fair that I need to relive memories of not fitting in. It isn’t fair that I have to tell myself I’m worth some happiness; lying on a table waiting for the next dosage of whatever will make me feel ‘normal.’ I shouldn’t have to. The ceiling patterns into words that tell me I’m just not worth living anymore. It isn’t fair that I have to tell myself I’m worth some happiness. I should be worth it by default like everyone else seems to be.
Cut yourself. Bleed. Hurt. Crying. Punch stuff! You are not fine!!
I may never be fine.
We are among you — bullied, oppressed, held down and struggling every day. I walk with you to school. I eat lunch with you. I sleep under the same roof as you. I struggle every day. Today the memories are harsh and paralyzing. The scars on my skin and the ones in my heart tell painful stories. So no, I am not okay. I am still the dry piece of land that needs to be watered. Still cracked in places and barren in others. Still dry. Still alone. It’s time to get hit by a rainstorm and let something rise out of it. It’s time. I have some growing, and some healing to do. I am not okay. Not today, not tomorrow… but maybe someday.
This is me. Dry, empty, rough and barren. I have been brutally honest and now I am ready for the judgment. But somewhere in my desert, there is a small bud growing. And maybe, just maybe I can make it bloom.
I deal with depression every day. It is a chore to get out of bed and act as happy as I seem. I deal with suicidal thoughts for breakfast, emptiness and loneliness for lunch (a side dish of self-harm) and by the time dinner rolls around I’m too tired to eat. Even though the meals are shoved down your throat like red-hot coals, thoughts that never leave. Thoughts I choke on. I do it all every day. However…
There are good moments and you need to focus on them. Hold on to them. Or sometimes I read a book, write, draw or bake. Sometimes I talk to m friends but just being with them and having fun helps as well. I’m not completely broken and I think it’s important to heal, in your own time and on your own terms. And I think everything can be made so much better by also councilling the bullies on their ways, not just the victim.
Will you ever be okay? Can you ever heal? Is there still hope?
I don’t know.
Maybe someday …