I’ve been bullied, due to my condition, my entire life. I’ve heard words no one should have said to them…EVER. Is it fair? Absolutely NOT. Is it right? No. Sometimes, experiences make me sob. Sometimes, they make me introspective. Every now and then: experiences make me angry. When I was 17: A few teachers got the false impression I was suicidal. What they didn’t know, and didn’t bother to ask was this: I was getting bullied badly everyday. Instead of engaging, with the bullies, I would go to my first period class. I would reread my notes for a test, finish some work for another class, or organize my student planner for the coming weeks. Yeah, I was a nerd then and I’m a nerd, now. The only difference is, now, I take pride in being a nerd.
I came home from school one afternoon, and mama said, “I got a phone call from school today.” Okay, about what? “You.” Me? My grades are good. Math is not a problem anymore. You know that, well. I didn’t get into trouble for any reason. My record is spotless. You know that, too. “You’re not in trouble with me or your dad. You’re not in trouble with school, either.” Okay, so what’s going on?” “I got the call because they think you’re suicidal.” I thought she was joking. You’re serious? Mama, that’s absurd. I am NOT nor have I EVER been suicidal. You know what’s going on. Did you tell them? “Yeah, I also laughed. My girl? Y’all are barking up the wrong tree.” We rolled our eyes, and said, how much we couldn’t wait until I graduated the next year.
A few weeks later at my end of the year meeting to discuss accommodations I would need for my senior year: my being suicidal was brought up, again, this time directly to me. I heard: “You’re anti-social, you’d rather eat lunch in the clinic then the cafeteria, you study before school. Just be aware of your behavior. It’s not normal 17 year old girl behavior.” Instead of saying anything I should have said: I started sobbing. My head was screaming: I AM NOT SUICIDAL. I AM BEING BULLIED. I’M BEING PUNISHED FOR BEING A GREAT STUDENT…NOW? I ALMOST FAILED GEOMETRY LAST YEAR, and NOW I STUDY TOO MUCH? HOW ABSURD IS THIS NONSENSE? AM I IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE?
I was so distraught my parents took me out of school for the rest of the day. It was a Friday afternoon, anyway, but I went to all my teachers, got my work, and arranged to get notes from a classmate in each class I would be missing. See? Responsible student even in my despair. I ran into a couple of the guy friends, who became my chosen brothers, in the hallways, to gather needed stuff, before leaving. “What’s wrong? You’re not okay. You’ve been crying.” They think I’m suicidal. “What? No way. That’s absurd. Nobody that knows you believes that.” Well, it happened, in my meting; and they called mama a few weeks ago, too. “WHAT? Why didn’t you tell us?” For every reason y’all just said. Plus, it’s a lie. I’ll see y’all Monday, boys. Can we hug you before you go?” Yeah, of course. “We’ll see you Sunday, actually.” Yeah, y’all will.
After leaving school for the day: I realized I had a choice to make. I could either continue doing what I was, or I could play their game better than they ever imagined. I chose option two. I started behaving more like a “normal” 17 year old girl. I changed myself to fit their mold. It wasn’t the choice, I’d make for myself, now, given the options. However, it was what I had to do to survive high school, so I could thrive later in life. Thrive I have, and will continue to until my last breath.
I wish I could say that was the last time suicide was brought up in regards to me. Sadly, it wasn’t. People mistake my quiet, overthinking, and emphatic nature for suicidal, sometimes. I want to state loudly and clearly for EVERYBODY: I AM NOT SUICIDAL. I NEVER HAVE BEEN. That seems a way to waste a miracle of a life… My life. I will NEVER waste it. I will use every gift and ability to do the opposite. I will thrive and be myself. I will find joy, and positive things in every day I get. I will be grateful and breathe. I will count it all joy…even the tough days. I will, because I have, and will continue to do so.
If you read this and are struggling with mental health issues: reach out to someone, please? YOU matter and are VERY LOVED. You are NOT a waste of space. You have a purpose. Everybody on this planet does. Every living creature has a purpose. You are included on that list. I’m praying for you, and I want you to know everything I just said is my truth. For help and resources visit: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ just please don’t give up and think hope is lost. It isn’t.