Bullying is a topic that come up a lot in the news. Sadly its often long after the damage is done. Many people have an opinion on it, some I find are just filled with ignorance. Bullying is at it’s worst when its sustained over long periods of time. Not just a one time fight on the playground but weeks, months, even years of continued mental and/or physical abuse.
Some say “Bullying is just part of life, and kids need to learn to deal with it.” Well yes, but don’t expect them to grow healthy coping methods out of thin air. “Stand up to your bully and they will stop” Most bully’s target people that can’t stand up for themselves. They pick on people younger, or have less friends to back them up, and people who don’t have the social skills to handle it. Then they keep on bullying till there self confidence is so low they are almost broken.
My first bully was my brother, he was two years older then me, an although we since have found friendship he was not my last bully. That lack of self confidence that could only let me take taunts by pretending to ignore them. I became a figurative punching bag because I made no reactions back. When I snapped and tried to fight back, I was pushed down all the harder because I was well out numbered.
There is no easy fix for bullying. Being too heavy handed, or too soft can make things worse. It may always exist but that does not mean we have to tolerate it. Helping a victim have a little more self confidence is much easier then trying to fix one that has completely broken down.
I have always been my own worst bully. Sometimes when I have no obligations I oversleep greatly. I’ve told myself that I am such a waste, lazy, fat, a slob. I sleep for over twelve hours till I get hungry enough to leave my bed. I allow trash to build up around me, and call myself the same.
My intelligence and imagination has always been beloved traits of mine. As such it’s something my mind knows to turn against me. If I make a mistake am stupid. Dumb and Stupid often echo in my head over and over. Am a moron, a fool, a child. I seek out and aim for my own vulnerabilities. What I call spiral logic soon kicks in. I bully myself for bullying myself. I feel the need to punish myself further because I punished myself. “It’s stupid to think this way, why don’t you just stop” It’s a constant battle that I fought most of my life. My mind has always taken every opportunity to put me down in my life. I try to fight it, the most effective tactic I learned was not to dwell on such thoughts. That If I call myself stupid or a loser that I let the thought come and go. I don’t think about it more than the first thought, I don’t let myself spiral into a mental argument of why am stupid or a loser. I remove the emphasis and don’t dwell, letting the voice in my head grow weaker. I don’t always succeed, but I try.
The other day I had a dream that’s been weighing on my mind. I’ve almost been too ashamed to share it but I don’t think it will go away till I written it down. I dreamed that I was at my family’s small little lake house. My Mom, Dad, Brother, and sister where there. My nostalgia was over run by depression. A deep inexpiable depression that I could not explain to anyone around me. A ran away and hid myself in a small room to hide my shame. It was then that hand belonging to no one handed me a noose.
I awoke, but the dream still stays vivid in my mind. Haunting me a little. I can only think that hand was the worst parts of mind. Telling me to give up. The voice that I keep fighting everyday.
I lived like the uphills were mountains and the downhills were cliffs. Always walking slowly forward, while everyone I know drove past me. Every step back felt like a fall into the abyss. Despite my slow movement forward I was always followed by Darkness. Just a small step off the path and I could of ended my Journey grimly. It would of been so easy, every breeze seemed to knock me down. I juggled depression and loneliness trying to guess what one would crush me first.
I can still feel this way at times. I still often feel lonely, and I still sometimes feel like am still moving slowly on that path while others drive by me. Yet I still move forward even if a tiny bit at a time.
Many who suffer mental illness soon learn their greatest opponent is themselves. There is no worse bully then your own mind. Your mind attacks you constantly, always taking every opportunity to put you down. You try to fight it, but you can’t win. Every attack you try is only another attack against yourself. So we look for ways out. We hurt ourselves or seek drugs to numb the mind. When that inevitably does not work we start to question suicide.
One of the worst things to tell a suicidal person is “You will go to hell if you do.” Our lives had already become hell, we can not see anything possibly being worse than the now and then. If Hell exists it be a welcome change then the hell on earth our lives had become. If there is no hell then the void sounds just fine.
There is no escaping your mind. You can only learn to live with him. Fighting makes things worse, letting him win makes things worse. So you must compromise your life. You learn more about the foe in your head and you learn how to control and live with it. It is not a storybook ending but it is life. Take your time, learn, live.
Perspective is the key to mutual understanding. However it is something completely incapable in humans. As much as we try to understand each other, we will always see things differently. Two people looking at the same work of art will never see it exactly the same. Such is the same with lives. Sometimes the differences stack on top of each other causing conflict. Never assume you know what someones going through. Never assume you know how to fix someones problems. What you see, and what they see can be vastly different.
Does that mean we should not try? No I don’t think it does. We may never truly understand but trying is fundamental to creating connections between people. By trying to see the world from the eyes of another you may discover brand new worlds to explore.