I was sitting on the floor crying harder than I’ve ever cried before. I couldn’t breathe and I felt so much pain. Everywhere. I had never experienced this type of pain before. Pain that was not just all over my body but was inside of me. I felt like I couldn’t move; I couldn’t get up. Why is this happening to me? Why are they doing this to me? Why are they saying these things about me? What’s wrong with me? All these questions and more could not leave my mind. And the worst part of it all? I felt like I had no one: no one I could talk to, no one I could ask for help. The tears kept coming like a waterfall, and it kept getting worse and worse. I tried to keep quiet so no one would hear me. I looked up and prayed, “What did I do wrong, God?”
Another student, who I had considered a friend, had been making repeated negative remarks about me, both to my face and behind my back. My best friends didn’t stand up for me, in fact they seemed to take his side. Bullying is no joke. It can be anything from as little as an off-hand remark to as big as physically hurting someone. Anything repeatedly said or done to make someone feel less of themselves is bullying.
Every morning was a struggle to get out of bed. My body didn’t want to move. I felt so weak, and my mind didn’t feel like it was there at all. Going to class made me feel like a criminal walking into a court: unwanted and judged. I wanted to put in headphones and stay hidden. I waited for the minute I could go back to my room, and get away from everyone. Being around that group of friends gave me anxiety, so I avoided the cafe and kept to myself. No one understood, not even my parents. They told me that they doubted anything was actually wrong, and that I was just overreacting. I turned to God and asked Him why this was happening, what I did wrong, and how I could make it all go away.
I didn’t always recognize it at the time, but God was answering my prayers and working behind the scenes. He brought the right people into my life to show me I wasn’t alone and there were people who cared. I was able to stop obsessing over the people who made me feel bad and surrounded myself with people who showed me true friendship and pointed me to God.
Even though my new friends helped me feel valued, I never felt comfortable opening up about the bullying I experienced to someone, and I never completely got over it. I want students going through this now to have someone they can turn to for help. Campion needs a designated counselor with flexible hours available for appointments. Students need to be able to turn to someone who is trained to help them deal with the emotional strains of teenage life, and can give them confidentiality and support.
Campion’s journalism class is doing a research series on mental health to bring education and awareness to the impact of mental health issues on their generation. Stayed tuned to read a new article on the topic each week over the next month. We are very grateful to the staff and students who are bravely sharing their experiences. Mental health issues such as discouragement, anxiety, and depression impact everyone in one way or another. Campion Academy’s nurse is a mental health professional and encourages students to seek assistance when needed. The chaplain's office is another source of help for students.
-Anonymous student with Jill Harlow, Communication Director