"Write about a time you helped someone, or a time that you received help."
I wasn't planning on writing about this or even telling anybody about this, but an opportunity has presented itself so I will share my story.
Saturday, October 26
Whenever I feel like gabbing to an anonymous party, sometimes I hop onto BlahTherapy, a chat hub where online users can go to either "vent" or "listen". On the front page, this disclaimer is displayed:
There is also an option to chat online with a licensed therapist for anywhere between $1.35 - $5 per minute.
Lately, I've had a lot of venting to do. But last Saturday, I was feeling pretty mentally resolved and decided to be a "listener". I was automatically assigned an anonymous handle, which are oddly matched two word adjective/noun phrases like "Enticing Meat" or "Sumptuous Mountain". The strange names seem to briefly lighten the mood before delving into the topics of your venter, who is randomly assigned to you and usually isn't too happy about something like an ex-boyfriend or their crippling introversion.
I was matched with my anonymous venter, who I later discovered was a 14-year-old girl. We'll call her "Gia". Gia told me that she was being bullied at school by girls her age because she was "different." The school authorities would not believe her when she reported the bullies because she had a history of being a nuisance in class. She explained that her home life started to tank when she was nine, which is when she began to self harm. Gia had been hurting herself for the last five years. No one knew, and she wanted to find a way to stop.
I won't go into much detail about why, but I was familiar with what Gia was going through. My home life had periods of instability and it was around her age that I had to accept that it might never be anywhere close to perfect - the only thing I had control over was me. I relayed my experiences to her and she was glad that I could relate. She explained that her family life had, by now, stabilized but that she couldn't seem to stop hurting herself. I suggested she turn to her family for assistance, but Gia was very concerned about staying anonymous and healing in secret. I'm not a counselor or a licensed professional of any sort, but I offered her the best advice I could.
There are a few ways this bullying problem is going to stop:
- Those people will just get tired of ganging up on you and leave you alone.
- You get more people involved until it stops. As many people as it takes.
- You go to the police and tell them you are being harassed and that you need assistance anonymously. You don't have to call 911. You can just find the number for your local police station and talk to them - see what they say. They will likely offer you some solutions.
Here are just a few of the many resources out there for you:
We also talked about the pressure of stopping her self harm cold turkey. She seemed pleased with the information presented and we traded emails so we could keep messaging after ending our session. Over the next few days, she had made progress:
Saturday, she told some close friends, who were very supportive of her.
Sunday, she threw her razors into the sewer and called a help line.
Monday, she told her school counselor.
Tuesday, she told her parents.
Today, she told me she was having the best day she's had in a long time.