My childhood was fine. I was a happy-go-lucky kid. My parents raised me to be smart, bold and brave. I was a happy child. The 6th grade changed all that, I was put into a class that was simply NOT the right environment for someone with special needs (I have Aspergers). Three or four other people in that class bullied me. The bullying and torment changed me almost overnight, I became more depressed and started to act on impulse, something I had never done before. I lost sleep too. I never thought I could be bullied for being different, for being that one academically smart kid that feel behind when it came to social skills. I was picked on through name calling, my cello being broken and a computer drawing of me claiming that I was "fartboy". That class changed me and what I didn't expect to happen next was being taken to a psychiatrist office because I felt depressed from being bullied. I was then prescribed a few anti-depressants and antipsychotics both types of meds were given to me as a means to try to "solve" or "stop" the behavior. I was 12 when this happened. What I didn't expect was that for the next two years as I took on the challenge of middle school, I not only had to deal with the stigma of being different, but also being bullied and ridiculed for the side affects of the medications I was taking at the time. It was also before I hit my height spurt. The middle school years were by far the WORST two years of my life.
Later on, when I was a junior in high school, (I was 17 at the time), I realized that as result of being bullied in the 6th grade and feeling insecure at home around an authoritarian parent, I had anger outburst and anger management problems which were my way of "fighting back" at anyone that made me feel insecure. When I turned 18 as a senior in high school, I realized that I had self-esteem problems because of bullying and soon I was done with high school but with the lasting impression that I was bullied and as a result now have a "need" to backstab anyone I feel is trying to bully me. When the documentary BULLY came out, I thought it was sad at first and then I realized that finally there was a side to bullying that had never been exposed before. When an episode came out on the Dr. Oz show about the downside of anti-depressants, I reacted with the thought "They finally figured it out? What took them so long?"
I am now a college student and am still dealing with some self-esteem problems around others I feel are bullying me. There are now peer mediation programs in school to help prevent bullying that I wish were in place when I was going through elementary, middle and high schools. I now move forward with the knowledge that there are medicines that don't work for their intended purpose and can lead to someone either being a bully or being more prone to being bullied and still being that academically smart and well educated young man. I now am very cautious about the words I say to certain people so I don't bully anybody else, that is a huge lesson learned from when I was bullied. Every time I see someone about to be bullied, I have an urge to jump in and be that mediator based off of my experience being bullied.
Now I say to myself, "my past is my past, not my future" and I take on most of the people I meet with optimism and enthusiasm. And I say to others with Aspergers, "Being bullied should not stop you from achieving your dreams, and remember that there are people who do care." Thank you for taking the time to read my story and remember to keep achieving your goals no matter what obstacles get in the way.