Overcoming Bullying: One Teen’s Story of Bullying and Survival

I believe being comfortable with myself will make me happy regardless of my situation.

This belief could come from the fact that I was bullied during the fifth and sixth grade. I had been friends with a girl for maybe two or three years, but then I decided to hang out with my other friend more than her. She felt betrayed, but I didn’t really notice what I was doing to her and she never brought it up. Then the bullying started. I figured that eventually she’d get over it or she’d get tired and stop. But she didn’t.

My former friend would pull my hair, punch me, and kick me…she even stabbed me with a pen once and broke my skin. I think my other friends tried to intervene as much as they could without getting anyone in trouble. It just wasn’t enough. I try to analyze why I never said anything and I guess it’s because I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble either. Even though she clearly was not acting like a friend anymore, I still felt loyalty to her from our past history. I also thought that if I didn’t acknowledge the situation, then it wouldn’t actually be real. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. The situation got to a point where it was really unsafe. I don’t know what would have happened if my mom hadn’t finally found out.

I guess she had noticed these marks on my body, but I’ve always kind of been prone to bruising so she didn’t think anything of them. Then one day she was walking me to school – which she rarely did – and she saw my friend pull my hair. She forced me to tell her about the bullying, and I broke down crying. She told me to talk to my teacher – which I did – and then the principal got involved too.

It was really awkward for me because we were a small class of about 30 and my former friend and I ran in the same clique of only five girls. I was nervous about what would happen to the friends I did like. Would they get angry at me for snitching on someone or would they stand by me? Surprisingly, the whole clique continued to hang out even though it was really awkward. My former friend and I just avoided each other completely. I’m not sure how we did that considering our group was so small…I guess that’s what made it so awkward.

On the positive side, I finished that year with a better sense of who I was. I learned from the experience.  I’m not going to ever let it happen to me – or anyone else – again. I swore that to myself. Since I was able to beat my problem and grow from it, now I know that I can handle anything.

TeenScreen- A New Tool in Teen Suicide Prevention

Teen suicide is a serious matter.  We are bombarded in the news lately with stories and video of  teen bullying (cyber and other) as well as other forms of teen harassment.  Teens are feeling overwhelmed more than ever and I don’t blame them. It’s seems the stakes are getting higher as we are see an increase of teen suicides.  Many articles have told us that teens don’t tell their parents about the bullying that occurs (via Facebook, text, blogs, etc.) because they fear that their parents will take away their electronic devices such as phones and computers.  Clearly, the message that teens should talk to their parents about these issues isn’t fully solving the problem. We need other tools/options as well.

Teens need to be aware that other sources of information, help and support are out there.  Last weekend,  I went to a fund-raiser for Family Services of Marin and learned of a new tool in the prevention of teen suicide.  It’s called “TeenScreen” and was developed by Columbia University.  It’s the first screening of its kind that seems to identity the warning signals as all stage of distress, gives practical feedback/advice and has reduced teen suicide rates.  By administering this simple screening to teens, they can identify those on the “check list” as being in danger. Teens who have been given the screening were surprised to see just how accurate the readings were and some teens didn’t even realize that the issues they struggle with on a daily basis were “not common” and could lead to negative behaviours.  This is an amazing tool that’s inexpensive, practical and can easily be implemented by schools.

To learn more, go to:

TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups | Teen Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.