From a teen in the U.S.: Hello, I am an eighteen year old from the United States of America.

When I was a child, I used to get bullied all the time about my lisp and young appearance. It started in first grade and lasted until high school. The bullying started as just name calling and exclusion…from the whole class. My bullying case is very different from most cases in America.

Most of the jokes were made about how I said things or how I dressed or how I looked, etc. Then some people pretended to be my friends…and, well, they would give me crappy stuff, but, because I was poor, I treated it like gold so… Another person constantly stole my food and I was always starving…

One of the worse cases was this one girl that would force me to do sexual things…like playing doctor…at seven. She tried to rape me and all the other kids found it so funny that I was nearly raped…What was wrong with these kids?

Of course, it was reported to all the schools I transferred to (about five in total), but none of them did anything even though my family tried so hard. But my family also has a lot of problems like, when I came home, I would come home to my parents always fighting. Always.

The worse year, though, was forth grade. Because I’m trying to get my school sued for this one, but, of course, no one believes me. Because how can something so bad ever happen? My teachers bullied me in forth grade. They would encourage my classmates to bully me too, if they didn’t, they would get bad grades. Even my friends joined in…but, because of all the other things that happen to me, they were probably pretending too…

Yeah, I got confidence issues…and anxiety…and trust nobody, not even myself. I got social anxiety, PTSD and GAD. And, Jesus Christ…how do I get over something like this?

A: I’m so, so sorry you went through such a difficult time. I ache for that little girl. I think there are some things we don’t get “over” and shouldn’t. Remembering can be a way to prevent painful things from happening again. But we can put them in the past and move on.

There is one big positive part of your story that will help you rebuild your resilience. Your parents believed you and did what they could to help. They were not effective but at least you know that they tried. Hold onto that. In addition, I see a core of strength in you that has somehow let you keep on keeping on despite a horrific history. Hold onto that too.

I’m assuming that you are seeing a therapist since you have a number of diagnoses. If so, working hard with your therapist is where you start. If not, please give therapy a chance. It will take work. It will take time. It will take the pain of revisiting what went on in order to then put it in a place where it doesn’t dominate your life. But people like you who have done such difficult emotional work regularly tell me it was worth it. The past can be put where it belongs — in the past — and you can move toward a happier, confident and successful present and future.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie