"We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

My name is Dustin and I'm the ripe young age of 21. I, like so many others, am on the long road to recovery after a long exposure to bullying. And like JFK once said, I take the hard path because the easy one should never be an option. My story essentially starts in my fourth grade year, where I made three of the greatest friends I have ever had. We were nerdy together, loved Star Wars and dragonball z. We played together at recess and I enjoyed every moment of it. Until the end of that year one of the guys moved away. In fifth grade, one guy, for privacy named T, found new friends, all who hated me for whatever reason. As a way to fit in, he pretended to hate me too, but as time passed, he started to believe it. 

After my other friend moved away, T and I grew further apart. I had other bully problems, kids laughing at me and teachers picking on me, but everything became to a head when T turned on a friend of his and chocked him. It was then he truly hated me and I stopped trying to find my friend in him. Then, at the end of that year, our grade went on a trip to a community center as a way of saying good luck in middle school. I went to the pool when I was able, and seeing as I wasn't the best swimmer, I stuck to the shallow end just floating and relaxing. With my eyes closed, I felt splashes on my face. I looked and saw T and his friends laughing. I turned away and began to ignore it, as i was always told to do. But when the second splash came, I turned and was then held under for what seemed like an eternity. I don't why I was let up, I don't remember much else about that day save coming home and telling my mom, asking her to do something. My bully problem had come up over the years and she always said she would do something if I asked but I never did for fear of retaliation. But now I asked, and the one time I needed that help, she told me they were just fooling around. 

After that, I kept everything to myself. I kept feelings hidden, my voice down and stayed out of the way. I was even accused of being that kid who would grow up to be a serial killer just for being the quiet one. I even had a breakdown in eighth grade when everything came up and back again. 

Now, I suffer from moderate to severe depression and am on meds for it. For those who don't understand what that means, it means I am sick with a thought that tells me I'm not good enough and I should have died ten years ago and this thought and behavior inhibit me and my relationships. But there is hope as I do not inflict harm upon myself nor others, as I call myself a humanist, someone who still believes in doing good for the sake of doing good. It is a hard road to recovery from ten years of pain, even harder when motivation is lacking most of the time. But others have done it and I can too. And above all, so can you. 

Bullying can have a life long impact on victims. For some the impact entails lost time and loved ones but resolving after many trials and not a few sessions of therapy. But for some, life long ends at too young an age. Many times these people are just like those who torment them with similar interests or hidden likes, they could have been friends in another life. But nobody really sees what can happen, what has happened far too many times as too many kids have taken an easy way from the pain. But we can be that voice that says one was too many, and we will help guide our children to a better life, one where all are equal and treated as a friend.

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