Have you ever climbed into bed before going to sleep and prayed that you don’t wake up the next day? Have you felt the pain of someone’s cruel comments cover your body like knives cutting you open? Have you stopped in the middle of your day and thought to yourself, “would anyone even notice if I wasn’t here right now?” This is the reality for some people and as hard as it is for adults to deal with, I believe it is even worse for kids and young adults.
I remember junior high and high school very clearly. I remember being an outsider, not being accepted, and even being bullied at times. It makes every day feel like the end is near. Like you would do anything just to make the hurt go away. Like no matter how hard you try to avoid the pain, those people and those torments always find their way back. I remember it all too clearly.
I’m going to share a story with you. When I was in 7th grade, I was a pretty care free 13 year old. I didn’t know of the evils the world would eventually have me encounter. I didn’t have many friends and I kept to myself.
One day I showed up to school expecting a normal day. As I passed the familiar faces in the hall, I notice everyone seems broken and lost. Some were even crying. I went to my first class of the day and it was dead silent. The teacher hadn’t entered the room yet. When the final bell rang for everyone to enter their classes, the intercom came on and it was our principal. With a crack in his voice, he reluctantly announced that one of the freshman girls had passed away the day before. She had committed suicide.
Students looked around waiting for other’s reactions and all I could think was, “what does suicide mean?” It was not a concept I had been taught and to this day, it breaks my heart to imagine the amount of pain a person must be in to take their own life. That day changed my perspective of the world forever. As days went on and months flew by, I began to realize how cruel people could be. I faced bullies and days when I felt invisible, and those where some of the toughest days of my life.
I have one thing that most people don’t have though. A large, close-knit family. Unfortunately, most kids don’t have that privilege. They face these struggles alone and it feels like the world is coming to an end. I remember asking for help and getting the typical answers, “Give it time,” or “Just keep your distance and they will leave you alone.” Adults don’t always understand because they may not realize the amount of pain that is being inflicted. In today’s world, our youth lose their innocence at such a young age that the agony they sometimes feel overpowers the good in the world.
As a future leader, I do my best everyday to help the young people who feel helpless or invisible. I understand because I was once in that place myself. I may not be able to do much right now, but even just lending a listening ear and being empathetic is all a person needs sometimes. Is there something you can do to help someone dealing with these problems?