A Story by Silvie, Age: 36

It’s never easy being a kid, trying to discover who you are, and where it is that you stand in this world, but if there is one thing life has taught me it’s that things can always get worse. I come from what can only be described as a turbulent family who didn’t have time to solve their own problems let alone mine. This is, perhaps, part of the reason why I developed severe depression and anxiety at a very young age. These mental health issues manifested themselves in ways that led to me being constantly bullied as the “weird loner kid” someone who was “odd and inhuman” and although my parents had found out that I was a gifted child, in terms of my intelligence, they kept me from going to the school for the gifted simply because it was a longer commute. This led to a draining emotional roller coaster within me and a lack of self-confidence that has kept me from ever working toward a goal whole-heartedly or ever fully enjoying any of my achievements.

In short, I was being bullied both at home and school and my personality was being built around a suffocating hatred that I had toward my very existence. At school, I kept to myself but was nonetheless continuously being ridiculed by both staff members and children. At home, my older sister had become my own personal bully who’d get me in trouble with our parents over things I never did only to stop me from telling on her. It took me years to realize I am not even an introvert, that I actually enjoy being surrounded by people I consider to be friends, and that I am not to be blamed for my inability to make friends as a result of having depression. I only discovered who I really was and was able to battle my demons after 4 years of therapy and separating myself from the toxic environment I grew up in. Things have certainly changed these days and people have grown much more conscious about the pain they could cause others. However, as a parent of a 10-year-old, I constantly dread the day I’d get a call from her school telling me that she was the victim of a bullying incident or, worse yet, that she was involved. I truly believe receiving such a call is one of every parent’s worse nightmares and sadly I don’t think enough is being done to ensure our children’s safety.