I can't really remember when I started being bullied. I know it was some time in elementary school but I didn't recognize it as such then. There was teasing, name calling, pushing, shunning, etc. but all the adults in my life just said it was "kids being kids" and we were all just trying to figure out who we were.
I guess I thought it would stop once I went to middle and high school but it didn't. In fact, it worsened. I have always been overweight and was even ridiculed by some of my family members for being so. I was compared to my thinner, sportier, more attractive brother ALL the time. In middle/high school, bullies would try to stuff me in my locker then laugh, point and call me fat and ugly when I wouldn't fit. I walked the halls of my school alone and scared. I suffered more from emotional, mental and verbal bullying than the physical. This made my situation easier to hide from my parents and the few school staff who would have done something. I spent most of my lunches and study halls in the nurse's office because I couldn't stomach being in the cafeteria, library or halls.
As I look back, I realize that I didn't really have any friends. There were a few students I hung out with but when I was being bullied they just sat there and didn't say or do anything. When I tried talking to them about it, they would change the subject because it made them uncomfortable. I think this is why I didn't keep friends for very long and haven't spoken to them in over 10 years.
I was severely depressed, contemplated suicide all through middle/high school, had a suicidal plan on a few occasions, overate to make myself feel better, had insomnia, didn't participate in anything, etc. My parents were too busy struggling with alcohol addiction and a rocky marriage to notice I was going through any of this. The few times I tried to tell them, or school staff, I was told I needed to stop being so wimpy and stand up to my bullies or that they didn't want to hear about it. I even had to apologize to one of my bullies once.
The only good thing about my middle/high school life were my grades. I was a straight A honor student and graduated in the top 5 of my class. I knew that a good education and college would be my way out of this teenage hell. I couldn't wait to go to college. I went out of state, lost 40 pounds, joined clubs, made friends, etc.
But then my roommates seemed to just stop liking me. They started to shun me (even in our dorm), threaten to physically harm me, destroyed some of my things, spread rumors about me on campus, etc. I had to involve the RA who told me I had to try harder to make amends and compromise our living arrangements. Eventually, I involved the Dean and was moved into a single dorm room. I was able to finish the rest of that year and then I transferred to a college close to home so that I could commute and not live on campus.
Today, I'm in my 30's, still struggling with depression, overeating and isolation. I started my career in human services about 8 years ago and love it. At this time, I'm working on obtaining a grant for the non-profit agency I work for so that I can start an anti-bullying/bullying prevention program for youth. I want to take my experiences and use them to make a difference.
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