Hey everyone. It’s Brooke.
I never thought I’d be writing about this topic but here it goes. This blog is not going to be about a beautiful place I’ve traveled. Today, I’m sharing about a place that I hope no teen girl or boy ever has to journey. I was trapped in this hell for the past two and a half years and have finally and hopefully escaped this horrific abyss full of despair, hate, loneliness, fear and darkness.
I suffer from depression and anxiety. Not sure which comes first or which encompasses the other, but they both live and breath within me. There were many factors that brought my anxiety and depression to its peak, one significant factor was being a victim of bullying since sixth grade. For two years straight, I have deliberately been excluded from parties and sleepovers, only to have the girls snap chat or post about it, making sure I see that I was not included. I can’t tell you how many Saturday mornings I’d wake up to see pictures of a party hosted by a “friend” that told me she was busy with her family the night before. Weekends became something I dreaded due to social media. It was bad enough dealing with it at school, but it followed me home every single day.
Lunch period also became a nightmare. Day after day after day of being told there is no room left at the lunch table when I could clearly see plenty of space. Apparently there was never enough room left for me. Most of 8th grade was spent eating lunch alone in the nurse’s office. This led to the point where I no longer wanted to eat lunch at all and I typically skipped breakfast due to the anxiety of the day ahead.
The defining moment for me was while I was walking down the hallway at school and heard the words, “Speaking of cancer, here comes Brooke.”
My mom knew what was going on. She contacted the school several times, as well as some of the parents. Nothing was ever really done to stop it. The girls would lie and say none of it was happening.
When the bullying reached more than I could handle, I ended up becoming violently sick. I missed 45 days of school and began vomiting from anxiety. The vomiting got so bad, I began vomiting blood and was hospitalized. I was diagnosed with Bulimia and spent a week in an outpatient program for girls with eating disorders.
At that point, in January 2017, my mom refused to have me return to my former junior high. She set up a meeting with the school district and they allowed me to transfer schools. I was terrified. Switching schools halfway through 8th grade was far beyond my comfort zone, but returning to my previous school would have been far worse. Looking back now, taking the risk to switch schools was the best thing that has ever happened to me. At my new school, I met wonderful friends who accept me for me. I can be myself and they appreciate that.
I am currently nine weeks purge free. I am participating in sports and looking forward to High School. My ultimate goal is to help other teens and kids who suffer from bullying, depression and anxiety. I know I’m not perfect–no one is, but no one deserves to feel unloved, unwanted, unsafe and utterly worthless.
If you would have told me a year ago, that I’d become the girl that started the wave for tens of thousands of people at a White Sox Game and got my friends on the Jumbo Tron, I would have said you must be talking about a different Brooke.
Am I completely confident now, heck no. But I am certain there will never be another time in my life where I will let other people define who I am.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.
If you are being bullied and need help, please tell an adult you trust.