This story is a sad one and I am sorry if it brings up some past emotions of anyone who reads this. This story deals with bullying, depression and suicide. I am telling this story because I want people to understand that words are not just words, but they can hurt and in the end, some could even kill. Mother Teresa said “loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
Just over a year ago my childhood best friend committed suicide. It was right before her 20th birthday. And I know it might not make sense to you but a part of me blames myself for not being around to help her or try to get her help.
When we were kids we were attached at the hip and before we knew it we were graduating elementary school and heading off to different high schools. Before her death we had not spoken in just over a year and a half. We were both just so busy with school and work and by the time grade 12 rolled around, we just got so busy we did not keep in touch much, if at all. Everyone at some point in their life goes through a rough patch and for me it was grade 12, but for her it was most of her life. It was as if every time she tried to fight to get over the obstacles, the worse it got.
I did not have many friends in school, I never really have and neither did she. We were odd balls but I believe that is what allowed us to be best friends, we were both weird in our own special way. I personally had not experienced bullying until I reached high school, which is what I wish I could say for my friend. As we were in elementary school and kids got older, they realized she was different than them and would pick on her. No matter what we did, they never really stopped. We could get teachers involved and that would resolve the problem for maximum 2 or 3 weeks, but it never really completely stopped. By the time we reached grade 6, you could tell the bullying was causing her to change as a person. And why wouldn’t it, going to school knowing your going to get laughed at or teased about the way you look, the clothes you wear, or your waist size. It was mentally and physically exhausting for her.
As the bullying continued we grew closer and closer and became better friends because hanging out together, away from our classmates was as if they didn’t exist and that was when she felt as though she belonged. She did belong, but how do you explain that to someone when 20 other people are telling her she didn’t. I was happy for her to go onto high school, I figured things would change, she would meet new people and the bullying would stop. That was not the case though, the bullying got worse and she got pushed into a heavy depression and started self harming. She crosses my mind almost everyday and it tears me apart inside. I always find my self asking “what if” questions. What if I went to the same high school, would things have turned out differently? These “what if” questions are useless because nothing will change the past and bring her back, nothing can undo the years of bullying and loneliness she felt.
She had messaged me about 3 months before her death. It was exam time, I was so busy with school and work I never got back to her. Before I knew it was too late, I was out of the country, and therefore didn’t even find out about her death until after the funeral when I was back in the country. For a while, I could barley live with myself. I kept wondering if when she messaged me it was a cry for help or if she needed to talk or what. I wondered if me not replying to her was the last straw and a year later I still beat myself up for it, for not taking five minutes to talk to an old friend. Would that five minutes have killed me, I assure you not, but what if it killed her. I know that what is done is done, and I will never truly know what went through her mind the day it happened, or what it was that caused her to take her own life. What I do know is that she made the decision a year and a half ago and there is nothing I can do about it now. But what I can do is try and help but an end to bullying!
I wonder if people really hear and understand what they are saying sometimes – when they tell you you’re a mistake, or you should have never been born, best of all when people tell you everything would have been better off if you weren’t breathing. I wonder if bullies would still go around bullying people if they knew what it felt like being told you’re worthless. I wonder if they would continue if they knew down the road, the individual would think that ending their life would do good to everyone around them. No one should ever be made to feel worthless, and the fact that bullying still goes on is pathetic.
My parents raised me with the idea that if I don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all! Maybe if people were to think before they speak, the world would be a happier and less lonely place.