As I was running on a treadmill at my "new" gym today, I happen to glance up from the timer on the machine (where I usually STARE, hoping the time will suddenly jump from 25mins to 5mins) and focus directly on the flat screen in front of me that was tuned to CNN. I like news. I like to generally keep up with what is going on because I think it is important. I mean, yes. Jesse James is an asshole and all but there are pretty substantial things going on in this world that are a teeny bit more important. Just then, I saw it. Another teen had committed suicide from the effects of school bullying. Gah. My heart started aching, my stomach dropped. And then it happened. That feeling. The one I felt sososo many times before: anxiety. The racing heart, butterflies, sweaty palms, sickness...you name it. It was there. It all started coming back like a bad movie montage. My adolesence. My experiences.
For some reason, and I don't know if it has to do with technology or what, there has been a lot more attention being focused on school bullying. First the girl and the whole Myspace ordeal. Now this. Of course, there have been way more in between there that have fallen through the media cracks. There have been TONS before then. And there will be more.
I know what you are thinking: get over it, Tiff. Everyone is bullied at one point or another, and it usually sticks with you, causing some irreputible damage. Yes. To some extent, I agree. On the other hand, I would be willing to challenge the majority that what I dealt with was a little more serious. I won't go into tremendous detail about what was done and said to me during mostly 2 years of middle school because I would run out of space. But that's it. TWO YEARS. That is all it took to change me forever. I hated school. I hated social functions. I got through it though- which is more than Phoebe Prince will never get to say. I think I grew from it. I also think there was some damage done that can never be un-done. Damage that causes many issues in my adult life.
You see, I second-guess everyone. I look extremely deep into people's words. Are they taking a jab at me? Is this person's intentions not right? Are they trying to hurt me? I twist words around to make sure that people are doing these things. These horrible things. I don't trust people. This is what I was taught at a very crucial age. The majority of people cannot be trusted. Everyone is out to get me.
Sound's crazy, right? It is. Of course therapy has helped me calm this anxiety. These thoughts. But they still linger. Unfortunately, when you are that special age (somewhere around puberty/middle school/beginnings of high school) and you are becoming the beginnings of an adult, taking in everything, learning about relationships...this is when this shit happens. A lot of adults look at it and say, "Oh, they're just kids. It will make them stronger". Yes, maybe. Eventually. If they make it that long.
I think what frustrates me the most is that nobody tries to do anything. They think they are, but they obviously just aren't doing enough. My mom went to school authorities many times. Tried to make something happen. Of course, my bully was the daughter of a teacher, so you must know how that would play out. Little things happened here and there, and I commend my school district for trying a little. It didn't change anything. Not until it was almost time to move to high school. The clique started dissolving. People started maturing, but that does not mean that it didn't continue on some level.
I guess I could go on and on and if you have stuck with me this long, I thank you. Most of the time, this has to do with jealousy. These girls (mostly) are jealous of someone and just ruthlessly go after them. If you know someone going through this, or if you are a teacher, please TRY to do something. Waiting it out is not the answer. It may be okay, but as in Phoebe Prince's story, it wasn't. Here is a great article to read if you have time. If not, just keep your eyes open and if you see or hear of something going on, try to help.
I promise I will try to be more funny in my next post, but that story really got to me this morning and there has to be something I can do to help. I figured maybe this was a good place to start!