Have you or anyone you know ever been bullied? I have and I can tell you, at least from my experience, it’s something that stays with you for a lifetime. It can shape your whole mindset in terms of how you feel about yourself. You never feel like you’re good enough, smart enough, constantly comparing yourself to others, unworthy of love, hard to make friends, trust issues, always feeling lonely and alone, self-doubt and low self-esteem.
My sixth grade year was the worst. I spent virtually the whole school year during recess in the restroom stall praying nobody would find me. Walking home after school, every day I was followed by a group of girls taunting and threatening me.
That was in the early 70’s – I personally believe we have a bullying epidemic now. You’ve heard all the horrific stories where a kid is bullied so badly, they don’t see any way out except through suicide. Half the time the parents aren’t even aware their child was being bullied. I know I didn’t tell my folks about it until years later.
The most current article I could find with some statistics was taken in 2014 and it said that in the United States alone it’s estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to having a fear of being attacked or intimidated by their peers. 1 in 7 students in Grades K-12 are either a bully or a victim of bullying.
Stats also showed that 56% of students had personally witnessed some type of bullying at school,and 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied. There are approximately 282,000 students that are physically attacked in secondary schools each month; 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying; and 1 out of every 10 students who drop out of school, do so because of repeated bullying.
Obviously these numbers are even higher in 2016. More and more we hear about cyber bullying where the bully will post some unthinkable comments out there on social media for anyone to see.
One of the ministries that Trinity has is the Suicide Prevention Program. You can see why this is so near and dear to my heart. With over 1.2 million kids hearing this presentation, thousands have chosen life over suicide. What an awesome God we serve indeed!
Looking back on my experience, it was nothing compared to what kids go through today. But it was bad enough that I didn’t have a friend in the world, had anxiety about going to school every day, and honestly, I just wished I would die. Wanting to fit in and desperately wanting the other kids to like me, I started down a long path of wrong choices and bad decisions. I started drinking when I was 12 (anyone remember Boones Farm wine?) and doing drugs at age 13. I think if I hadn’t been in dance class for eight years, I probably would have started my troubled journey even sooner.
By the time I was in high school, I was already heavy into the drug scene and hanging out with some pretty rough characters. I was a teenager and already a drug addict. Not my proudest moment.
Peer pressure is real, and not just during adolescence and teenage years. Adults can give in to peer pressure too.
Even in high school, I never really felt like I fit in. I did have four girls during this period that were friends and I truly believe they cared about me. But after high school we lost touch with each other. One joined the Army and I haven’t seen her since. One moved away, another one died of an overdose. The other friend and I have reconnected on Facebook but that’s about the extent of our relationship.
If you think about it, it’s really pretty sad isn’t it? I mean you have people come into your life for a short season, you love them, you have fun times together, share secrets, cry on their shoulders, and then poof. For whatever reason, that relationship is over.
I was 28 when I turned my life over to Jesus and He pulled me out of that pit of hell and the drug scene. I always say that if it weren’t for Jesus, I’d would be in jail or dead right now! He protected me. He loved me even when I didn’t love myself.
It’s taken a lot of prayer and hard work to get where I am today. Sure, I still deal with low self- esteem, have trust issues and only have a couple of true friends. I’m still a work in progress and praise God that He hasn’t given up on me!
I do believe that because of what I went through, I have a deep compassion to reach out to someone I think may be hurting. Although I’m an introvert and feel very uncomfortable being around a group of people, especially strangers, if I see someone sitting alone, being left out or sense that others see them as a ‘misfit’ – I’ll go over and start a conversation and try to make them feel loved and let them know they are not alone. They matter to me, and more importantly, God loves them. Have you ever felt alone or left out? I have. To have someone reach out to you just in the right moment, well, it makes all the difference in the world.
We all need to remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and there is always someone who is going through something much worse than we are.
If you or someone you know have gone through a similar situation, I would love to hear about your experience. So please share your thoughts below in the comment section. We can pray for each other.
We need to be praying for our children. If we don’t teach them to follow Christ, the world will teach them to follow Satan.
If you think the school district in which you live would be interested in having us give the Suicide Prevention Presentation, please let me know.
You are loved, cherished and the apple of His eye… never ever forget this!
In HIS Mighty Grip!