It started with bullying & it ended with bullying. It almost ended with me ending my own life before 16 but, that’s exactly what i’m here to talk about. I’ve said it once & i’ll say it again - the purpose of this tiny spec of hope on the internet is so those suffering DON’T find a reason to end it all, but find something to keep going.
The bullying started, from my understanding, in 5th grade. My mom told me a while back that it actually began in 4th, I just didn’t realize it. From Kindergarten to 6th grade I was in the same school. & from Kindergarten to 4th grade it was with the same kids.
5th grade introduced a whole new group of students who immediately blended in with everyone else. For some strange reason, I stood out. A few other kids I was kind of friends with ALSO stood out but they weren’t targeted as much as I was to be picked on relentlessly. They got picked on, but not as much as me. Also, this theme of new students being introduced happens not just this once, but a second time too. And to no surprise it was the same outcome. Although, the second time it happened it was slightly better - i’ll get into that.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “what did you do to draw so much attention to yourself, that in comparison to other students, YOU got hit the hardest?” The simple answer is nothing. I did absolutely nothing. I tried to make friends, no one wanted to talk to me. So i’d just be nice to everyone. I tried standing up for myself, but was told to not do that. Because if I DID then i’d have absolutely no shot whatsoever at making friends - because i’d be “mean” (the irony, or would it be hypocrisy? is too much).
Although, if I did stand up for myself, looking back on it, not only would I get in trouble but i’d get bullied just as much. I’d say “if not more” but, considering the things I was told at the mere age of 11 (or 12) it made no difference because the severity of the insults being hurled in my direction by literally, everyone was already bad enough.
“You’re ugly” & “you’re a freak” were the two biggest insults. Those 2 stuck with me for a VERY, VERY, VERY long time. I’m still struggling with insecurity, although not nearly as bad as it’s been. The word “freak” ended up being almost like a curse word, because if I ever heard it, in any context, i’d flinch inside. Ugly was something I heard so often it became a piece of who I was, I was ugly, so it didn’t make me react as bad. But it still definitely hurt (a lot) because, I didn’t know what was so wrong with me that so many said that for so long. I guess I MUST BE UGLY if SO MANY PEOPLE use that as an insult. Had I known those individuals simply weren’t smart enough to come up with something new, maybe i’d of been able to handle it better.
The ugly bit my mom believes (you’ll hear a lot about her because she was my largest support system, she reads this & none of what i’m saying comes as a surprise) was because, due to a growth hormone deficiency as a result of a malformed & malfunctioning pituitary gland (if it ain’t built right, it won’t work kinda thing; logically speaking): I was the smallest in my class; & not just by height, but I was VERY petite. Which, is no reason to tease. So i’m smaller than you, big deal.
Side note: with said deficiency, I had to take a shot every night of growth hormone from 5-18 years old. Imagine that.
I was also called a failure (i’m 11. What am I succeeding at besides trying to get good grades & survive till summer, as I am not trying to be a child prodigy, to be labeled a failure?). I was told I should be home schooled because, “you have no friends here & you never will. No one likes you”. Mind you 11 & 12 year olds are saying these things. ELEVEN AND TWELVE. It always made me wonder how they behaved at home or how their parents were for them to think speaking to a fellow classmate like that was in any way acceptable, or normal.
But, of course, teachers never stepped in. One actually watched a student point to me as I was sitting on the floor crying because for the entire lunch hour (I skipped a lot of those in this time) he stood there calling me a failure, and literally rubbed my face in it.
Story of being called a failure: 6th grade student project, pick a subject and talk about it. Pretty standard. What wasn't standard was we students had to have 10 question quizzes on our topics so that the TEACHER could see if we were paying attention. One kid, named M for the purposes of here (I may change it) picked on me a lot, a lot, a lot. Class ends, no one can take the stupid quizzes, teacher says it literally has no effect on anything, so go about your day & hand your papers back to M or toss them in the trash. I was getting up to leave, M decides he's going to literally harass me to take his quiz. I half-assed it because, I could really care less about his project, or anyone else's for that matter, and it's not as if it was going to effect my already quasi-bad grades. He didn't even read it. He just grabbed a red pen, wrote the number zero on it and proceeded, like I said, for the next half hour or so (it felt longer) to point at me like I was a sideshow attraction at a Circus & announce that I am a failure & will never succeed. To top it off, some rando from the school walked by (was in either 7th or 8th grade) TWICE (said school was square shaped, he walked around the entire building a second time purely for this purpose), pointed, laughed & tried to get other kids to call someone he never met in his life a failure. For no reason. Teacher, after probably 20 min steps outside into the hall (I was sitting directly outside the door as the next class was in there). She stood in her doorway, saw me sobbing uncontrollably on the floor, debating if I should just say "fuck it" & walk home, alongside 3 girls in my class who couldn't give 2 damns about me from the start of the previous year, sitting next to me trying to make me feel better. Because shockert, they may not have liked me (because they were dead set on impressing the popular kid at any cost - i'll explain), but even THEY knew what M was doing was wrong. She asks what happened, I tried explaining my side but, talking through sobbing tears isn't easy. M proceeds to lie through his teeth & continue to say how i'm a failure. Teacher basically said I should have paid more attention, & went back into her classroom. I showed teachers a lot of respect, but she lost every ounce of respect I had.
That insult proceeded to follow me by M for the rest of my time at that hell hole on top of everything else - he was the main source of my issues but there were a few other students who just couldn't resist hurting my feelings.
I also got made fun of for having a crush, more than once, in 2 different schools (this one & another i'll discuss later). Since my crush happened to be the most popular kid in the class. Not because he was good looking by 5th/6th grade standards, but because he was the son of a famous baseball player. I can literally only recall him being nice to me once & that was because he a) wasn't surrounded by a bunch of girls and b) he wasn't really surrounded by anyone. I asked him something & instead of getting torn apart, he treated me in a way that took me by surprise: he was decent, polite & did what I asked (which was for an autograph from his dad for my brothers upcoming birthday on a photo of his dad, with my brother and our dad. We still have it). How I expected & hoped i'd be treated by my classmates because that's how I treated everyone else. BUT the connection to a famous athlete was enough reason to put someone on such a high pedestal literally instantly, that they skyrocketed to the most popular spot possible in our grade, and it even spilled to the higher grades, just 7th & 8th though. What was funny was the minute we found out who his dad was (while taking attendance someone questioned his last name), he went from this shy new kid, amongst a lot of the other new kids, to this egomaniacal bully. He & M never really got along from my recollection but they both were crucial in my bullying issues.
These stories took place either in 5th or 6th grade. Suffice it to say, my mom pulled me out after 6th. I transferred schools for the first of two times.
I still don't know how that makes someone feel good. Seeing someone cry every single day because you simply cannot leave someone alone who is only trying to make friends. When making friends didn't work - she left everyone alone.
My developmental years were pretty much destroyed at this point, & they had only just begun. This is about where the anxiety (& depression) started. In 5th grade.
This is only scratching the surface.