You’re walking through the halls of your school and are greeted only by blank stares. Other kids are laughing and talking, but to you that’s a different world, surrounding you yet far out of reach.
The students seem to tower over you, not because you’re short, but because they have brought you so low.
When every day you get called crazy, how can you not internalize their words? It’s not your fault that you have bipolar disorder. But a bully would never take the time to understand you, because if they truly did listen, if they stepped in your shoes, they wouldn’t be bullying you.
Eventually, what people say becomes how you see yourself. You see the world through a dark, distorted lense where all the faces leer and every word is intended to hurt. When the person with the locker above you drops his books on your head or someone bumps into you in the hall, it seams to you that it was an intentional, malicious act.
Now what people say is your truth. Head saturated with hate, you bully yourself too. How can you encourage yourself when everyone around you tears you down?
If you stand up for yourself, you’ll receive more ridicule and if you seek help from the school the bully will merely get scolded.
Then they’ll seek revenge, making the torment even worse. You are powerless.
Humans can only bottle up so much emotional pain before it spills out. No matter how much you try to ignore them, words do hurt as much as sticks and stones.
Everyday, you put on the same mask and absorb the harassment. You begin to lash out at the people you love because it’s the only way you know how to express what you are going through. The poisonous words of your tormentors have consumed you and infect other areas of your life.
You are worthless, helpless, and weak. The bullies get their laugh and think nothing of it, while at home you sob alone, wishing for friends, for acceptance. Your bullies can’t see the pain they’ve caused - how could they know that their jokes ruined your life?
That was me for much of my life.
Even years after the bullying stopped, the scars remain. To some extent I’ll carry them as long as I live. I gradually built back my confidence and self image and am lucky enough to not be bullied anymore, but the problem still persists in the lives of other students.
We take pride in being an accepting school, but the dejected faces in the back of every classroom tell a different story.
Even though bullying is less common here than other schools, our school is filled with lonely people. Do you think it is any better to be ignored by everyone around you as if you are invisible than to be bullied? It makes you feel just as worthless as if someone told you that outright.
I have greeted kids in my class and seen looks of astonishment that someone finally acknowledged them, as if they had experienced a lifetime of exclusion and isolation. Clearly our school has been really accepting to them.
Whether you are bullying people outright or just excluding them, remember, the rumor that you spread will always get back to the person you gossip about. The casual comment you make to entertain your friends will cut into someone’s heart.
You won’t give it a second thought, but that’s the only thing the person you slander will think about all day, maybe forever.
If you have something to say, you should say it to the person’s face. Otherwise you are just a coward, too weak to face your issues head on. Even if you aren’t a bully, you still hurt people by excluding them. Isolation hurts as much as cruel words or a fist.
A kind word costs nothing, yet when it’s the only acknowledgement you get all day it means everything.