When I was between the ages of 12-17, I seriously thought about suicide. It's a personal struggle that had me in it's grips for a long time. It's a statement that I haven't told a lot of people in my life, including my parents. The reason behind not sharing this is because I got through it by myself, so I didn't feel the need to involve them in something they couldn't fix or assist me with. Thinking back now, I still remember the feelings that caused me to get in the state of mind; I thought that because I was fat, I didn't belong, and never would.
The ages I referenced are a very difficult time in a person's life. You are starting the discover yourself in new and different ways. You are starting to be interested in the opposite, or for some, same sex. Puberty is setting in, and the hormones are raging. With this onset, one starts to, in my opinion, really pay attention to the peers around them. Kids are mean, plain and simple. Vicious and cruel are other words that could describe youth at these ages. At that age, being an outsider looking in can be the lonliest place in the world, which can uncover feelings of inadequacy are that often accompanied with feelings of lonliness and unworthiness. Words aren't just sticks and stones, they can hurt!
As many of you have probably read or heard about, bullying has been a national topic of conversation for some time now. Every day, kids and adults are deciding if whether or not they can go on with their lives, due to whatever reasons or events they are facing. It's an epidemic that needs a vaccine. I was bullied all through Elementary and Middle School, by both students and teachers. (It was a hot day, and I remember asking my 2nd grade teacher to turn up the air conditioner in our classroom, and she said something to me that I will never forget as long as I live: "You're fat, that's why you're hot!")
Even though I was bullied, I always put on the brave face and got through it. I kept telling myself that it will get better. It did. Here are just some words of advice from a person who has been in this situation, and got their way out:
1. Tell your kids that you love them, every day, and actually put feeling behind it. Don't just say it to say it, say it because you mean it. Trust me, we know the difference.
2. Teach your kids to be accepting of other races, genders, sexual orientations, or religions. If you aren't as accepting, open yourself up to learn more.
3. Teach your kids that no one is better than them. Yes, they will not get along or be friends with every person they meet in their life. However, every person deserves that same respect that you want for yourself. This can also be for us adults too.
4. If you or your child is different, it's okay. Teach them that the differences in us all make the world a better place. God doesn't make mistakes!
5. Religion is an important part of life. It helps each of us in our own way. If you child comes to you with different ideas or interpretations, talk with them, don't dismiss them.
Let me just say, these feelings had absolutely NOTHING to do with my parents and their love for me. They told me multiple times a day they loved me, and I never once doubted it. Sometimes, however, it's not enough. Thank God, it was for me. I cannot imagine not being around for the things I have seen and experienced in my post-teen years. I have great friends, and an amazing family, that builds me up on a daily basis.
I know this post had little to do with my weight loss journey, but I feel that in order to change a mindset, I need to be open and honest about how and why I became the person I am today. This will only help me in the long run ahead.
To learn more about anti-bullying in schools, please visit www.nobully.com and www.bullies2buddies.com.
Follow me on Twitter @mtgrad06