Bullying leaves scars for Eastern Christian student targeted four years ago

Depression+is+a+disease%2C+but+some+people+treat+it+like+it%27s+nothing.

Photo Credit: Julia Blando

Depression is a disease, but some people treat it like it’s nothing.

by Julia Blando, Staff Writer

Trigger warning: This article contains descriptions and details about self-harm that may affect readers.  

 

Walking through the halls of most high schools, bullying isn’t very obvious. It isn’t always seen. People forget that it can happen within a friend group, among strangers, or even on the internet. This is the story of how bullying, even that from four years ago, has changed and still affects the life of a current Eastern Christian sophomore forever.

Her story

In sixth grade, the sophomore girl wanted to be “popular,” perhaps just like any other middle school student.  She seemed like everyone else; she laughed with her friends and dressed how they did.

But she also gossiped, spread many rumors, and excluded people for no reason. Yet she did so to hide her true personality.

These actions caused her to become the target.  The tables turned, and the rumors became about her.

She got messages on Facebook telling her to kill herself, that she was worthless, ugly, a wannabe, and would never fit in. In the halls, people made fun of her as she passed by.

It seemed to her like this would never end.

This went on for two years. Although it simmered down and rose back up over these years, it never really stopped.

After two years, she started doubting herself.

I knew it was bad, but that’s what got me through the day: over and over again.”

— An anonymous sophomore girl

“I felt worthless and they told me I was. I just wanted it to stop. If they were telling me to kill myself, maybe I wasn’t worth anything,” she stated.

At the time, she was dealing with her sister being in the hospital, which compounded everything that was already going on. The bullying she had encountered led to serious depression. In the beginning, she always felt sad.

After it progressed a bit more, that sad feeling went away. She was left with no feeling at all.

“I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t happy, sad, angry. I was just numb. Everything took too much energy,” she said. “I couldn’t talk, and getting out of bed was complete Hell.”

Because of this numb feeling, one that just wouldn’t go away, she began to self-harm.

“I knew it was bad, but that’s what got me through the day; over and over again,” she said.

When the self-harm got worse, people started to notice what was on her wrists. Instead of receiving help, even more bullying ensued. She was called an “attention-whore.”

Grappling with the pain, she started to self-harm even more. It became a habit that she couldn’t stop.

And so, she was put into suicidal therapy, then the hospital.

Even today, she is still in therapy and has trouble opening up to people. All of  this — just because of what started back in sixth-grade.

But she has made tremendous progress, and her best friend (who had a similar issue) helps her get through because she knows what it’s like.

Other ways out

“Based on the study that was done here, last year, approximately 25 to 33 percent of students nationwide report being bullied. However, with the school climate survey that was done last year, approximately 13 percent of our students think that bullying is a problem here. I would say that our statistics seem to be lower than the average,” said Heather Nover, Glen Rock’s Student Assistance Counselor from the SAGE program.

“I think that shows that the school is doing very well in promoting a positive climate,” Nover continued.

A lot of people self-harm these days, and people are becoming more open about it. Yet many don’t know what to think when they see it or how to approach those who show its signs.

Everyone thinks people who cut are trying to kill themselves, when in reality, they’re trying to save themselves.”

— An anonymous sophomore girl

A student in Glen Rock believes that there are two different levels of self-harm, one more serious than the other.

“I think the people that do it and show it off are looking for attention. But the ones who do it and stay quiet are the ones who only do it because they think they need to,” said Madeline Hay, a freshman. “When, in reality, it doesn’t do anything but hurt them.”

Nover, on the other hand, thinks that these actions indicate, as a whole, much more serious issues.

“Students that are getting bullied have increased risks of things such as self-harm, depression, anxiety and suicide. As a result, it is something that gets taken very seriously,” Nover said.

Yet for the Eastern Christian student who continues to deal with these emotions every day, all she hopes for is understanding.

“It turns the emotional pain into pain I can actually control. I can do it whenever I want, how much I want, how deep I want; it’s all up to me,” the sophomore girl said. “I just forget how to feel sometimes, and seeing the blood reminds me that I am alive.

“Everyone thinks people who cut are trying to kill themselves, when in reality, they’re trying to save themselves.”