NOTE: I am posting this because one of my own beautiful, caring, and loving friends has recently been harassed relentlessly online. Who could possibly not like her.. I don't know. Luckily, she has a greats support system and her boyfriend helped her file a police report (cyber bullying is punishable by law in California). She doesn't know who it is (they use a random account), but hopefully the police will help investigate.
From an age as early as I can remember, I have been very passionate about bullying. It was never that I was bullied. I don’t know what magic combination of nature and nurture allowed me to be as confident as I am compassionate.
It is simply the thought of someone being intentionally hurt by another person that lights a fire in my soul.
Growing up in the same childcare, I constantly has an eye out for my little brother. I remember letting everyone know that he was my family. I knew the politics that existed on the playground. I knew I could handle it, and that he would never have to.
Luckily, there was never a time that I was aware of having to step in. Overall, it is a different culture in Texas. We are raised to be polite and hospitable. There are always those bad apples, but there bad apples from every tree. I have never been one to fight physically, but sometimes words can cut deeper than any wound.
Moving to California was like moving to a different country that spoke the same language. Everyone seemed concerned with all the wrong things. My age group had “boyfriends”, there were cliques that did not easily co-mingle with one another, and everyone wanted to be “on top”. How that potion did not seep into my soul I will never know.
My best friend through middle school, Hannah, and I shared the same compassion. I remembered being shown a bullying video by a touring anti-bully campaign. It encouraged us the be conscious of how we treat others, to reach out to those who seems be alone, and to not be a bystander. I soaked in EVERY word. Hannah and I would approach anyone we saw sitting alone during break or lunch. We would try to get them to talk. Some seemed to enjoy their own company, but some you could tell were dying for human interaction with their peers.
This ritual continued on through high school. I remember catching one of MY own friends teasing this poor freshmen. There is nothing wrong with teasing, but you can tell when someone can handle it or not. I immediately stepped in and apologized. I’m no super hero. I heard of terrible stories that still happened at my school, but I did what I could.
In college, it was more difficult. Being alone might simply mean they are cramming for a test, but I still made a goal of making at least one knew “friend” a semester. I would try to pick out the most different person from me I could find. I would listen to them and talk to them. I might never see them again, but sometimes that is all it takes to make a difference.
Bullying can be the sole trigger for mental disorders.
It can cause depression. It can cause suicide.
Never let someone think they are alone.
Never be a bystander.
***Feel free to post any resources for suicide prevention or anti-bullying that someone who comes across this might be and be able to use.***