I’m going to be very vulnerable today and share a particular hard time in my life, a definite time of struggle. I’ve talked about this with others, but I don’t believe that I have ever written it down, so maybe its time. This memory is definitely a time when I didn’t know if I would make it through, but I did and I’m still here and I’m so grateful that I am.
The teen years are tough for everyone. It’s a time where you are trying to figure out who you are and what you want out of life. Unfortunately, when you mix that with everyone else’s emotions and feelings, it becomes a mess. When I was in seventh and eighth grades, I experienced an extreme amount of bullying and torment from my classmates. It was everyday and as I didn’t grow up with great communication in my home, I didn’t know how to talk about it and I kept most of it inside. I felt very trapped and very, very lonely. I definitely became a “victim” and I had that total mentality. It took a toll on my self-esteem that has lasted my whole life (I’m working on it, but its still hard to get past and I still struggle with it).
In seventh grade, I got a perm and my hair was big and curly and it was a mess and I think that is why I became known as “the rat” to my classmates. I come from a very small town where there was no middle school/jr. high and so our high school hosted 7th-12th grades. Coming into a new school is never easy, but when you come into the school and your first week you are made fun of not only by students of your own age, but all ages, including the seniors at the school, it is very devastating to your confidence and self-esteem. It felt like I could never have any relief at all, from school and extra-curricular activities, I was tormented constantly. I would go home and just go into my room and shut the door and cry. I didn’t talk to anyone for the longest time. I shut myself off from the world. I would do my homework and go to church and church activities and if I was at home, I was in my room reading and getting lost in someone else’s problems rather than my own. I know that I became more and more depressed everyday. I don’t know the date or even an approximate time but somewhere in that time period, I started thinking of killing myself. I just wanted some kind of relief and I began to think that since no one would even be sad that I was gone, that maybe it was the right thing to do. I’m sure that I was really oblivious to people who reached out to me at this time but I had completely shut myself off. I know that I had people who loved me – friends and family and I’m sure some of them knew what was going on, but I didn’t talk about it, so I’m not sure who actually knew. I’m pretty sure that my own parents had no idea. I do know that some people who I thought were my friends, were a part of the bullying (or at least didn’t stop it). But there were a couple of friends (my lifelong friends) that I’m sure were there the whole time, but for a long time I didn’t share my burden.
Anyways, I remember a particular night, where I was home alone (I actually have no idea where my family was) and I began thinking about suicide. It was definitely my all time low moment. I didn’t really even know what I was going to do, but I remember feeling like it was time. And then the phone rang and it was good friend, Beverly. I don’t remember what she said or anything, but I remember leaving the house and going to her home. I remember sitting outside on her driveway and just basically exploding on her, everything that I had been feeling and just everything came out. We cried and I remember just feelings so blessed that Bev just listened and hugged me and cried WITH ME. Things were so much better after that. She stood up for me lots of times and it was just so nice to be able to just talk to her about how I was feeling. The bullying didn’t stop and it was still difficult everyday, but just knowing that I had someone to talk to, helped me get past the suicidal thoughts, I didn’t think about that at all anymore. That was definitely a turning point for me. I still struggled, but a little self-worth came back to me that night – enough to get me through.
It is still so hard for me to get away from playing “the victim” and having self-confidence in my life, but I do feel like I am getting closer as I work towards healing myself. A lot of this time period, is such a blur to me – I remember some moments, but there was a lot that I have completely blocked out. But I do remember how it felt and I hope my children never have to feel that way. I know that I have been able to talk about this experience with my kids when they were struggling and it just is such a blessing to have someone care about you. I hope that we can all look out for people who could use a friend, because it truly means everything to someone who is in need of that – actually, it is everything to everyone, because we all need friends in our lives.
This prompt could mean many things, it wouldn’t have to be suicide, just times of struggle. So I hope you will take a moment today to stop and reflect and share your experience in your journal. You never know when someone in your family might need your strength and guidance through the experiences that you have.
I have a journal card for you today. I want you to just write about a time in your life when you struggled, you didn’t know if you would make it, but you won! You are here and you did make it through it – how amazing is that!
Journal prompts, Journal CardZ, and other ideas
to help you tell YOUR story and discover your family history!