"You will never amount to anything."
"You are always daydreaming."
"You are so stupid."
"We need to send you to the psychiatrist because there is something wrong with you."
Quotes that have been surfacing in my memory since I was in sixth grade. All came from one teacher, Mrs. Daly. Yes, a teacher. She decided it would be fun, or cool or something to signal me out in front of the rest of the class and say these things. How could she call herself a teacher? How did she not notice that I was already being bullied by a group of girls? One girl, Cindy (not her real name) the ring leader made my life a living hell for over a year, while her group of followers joined in.
"Why don't you just kill yourself."
"Nobody likes you."
"I hate you, I wish you were dead."
I spent more time at home or in the nurse's office that year than I did at school. My self esteem, self confidence and self worth were damaged. I went through bouts of depression and I had thoughts of suicide at age 11.
Almost 40 years have gone by and I still get extremely sad when I think about it. I think about all the teens that actually have committed suicide because of bullying. I think about the adults that turn their heads and pretend there is nothing wrong. I think about Mrs. Daly and wonder why? I think about Cindy and wonder what kind of life she must have had at home to treat me so horribly.
Healing the wounds from bullying can takes years. Some kids turn to numbing their pain with alcohol and drugs. Been there. Some kids make themselves invisible so no one will notice they are there. I got very good at that. I believe if the stress of emotional pain isn't dealt with, it can manifest itself in the body and cause health issues. In my case, I believe a history of ulcerative colitis had a direct link. I am not alone on this thought.
"Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often
called the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or
upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For
example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a
particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one." (excerpt from familydoctor.org editorial staff)
But as the years go by there has to be a point of forgiveness. Forgiveness. What is forgiveness?
"Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and
thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always
remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you
and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness
can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for
the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility
for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can
forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind
of peace that helps you go on with life.
" (Mayo Clinic editorial staff)
Since I never said it out loud, I decided to say it here for my own peace of mind and for my health.
I forgive you Mrs. Daly.
I forgive you Cindy.
I forgive all the girls and boys in my sixth grade class that bullied me.
I forgive all the adults in my life that didn't stand up for me in my time of need.
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-784-2433