I realized recently that I had never written about why I switched my website subject from Bullying Stories to Bullying Recovery. For those that have read my stories on my old blog that are also available on this new one and who followed me during my fall into stress, anxiety, and depression, you may know why.
Eight years ago, I started a website called “Bullying Stories: Dealing with the Long-term Effects of Bullying from an Adult Perspective”. I started the site, because I thought it would be cathartic for me to release the bad memories in my head of being bullied as a kid. As the site grew and others submitted their stories, I felt their pain. I also started to research the subject of bullying and found countless news stories on the subject. About 3 years after starting the Bullying Stories website, the subject of bullying and suicide, as well as the long-term damage bullying causes became front page news. Every day, stories were coming out about the damage of bullying that I had started to write about 3 years earlier.
While I thought what I started was cathartic for me, what I really ended up doing is opening old wounds and letting them back into the front of my thoughts. Some things happened in my personal life that started me on a downward spiral to be affected by these thoughts, until I finally fell into a depression. At about this same time, the psychological community finally gave a name to the long-term damage that bullying or really any child abuse can cause to the victim, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).
While I was originally diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, through my depression to recovery, I now know I was one of the victims of C-PTSD. While it took a while to go through my recovery, I learned so much along the way and was able to realize that my true mission that I wanted to do was help others and myself recover from the long-term effects of bullying. Once this realization hit me and I was able to work through my own recovery, I made the switch to talk more about Bullying Recovery.
Sure, I could continue to rehash the bullying that happened to me and it is still a forum for others to share the bullying that happened to them, but I have had to learn that I cannot change the past and cannot predict the future. I had to let the past go. So, through much work, studying and therapy, I have been able to move toward a focus on Bullying Recovery, my true passion that I had really wanted to focus on 8 years ago, but wasn’t ready to confront at the time.
The first item on my list after recovery was to write the memoir about my experiences with bullying and C-PTSD. I had wanted to write the book for 10 years, but I never had the third act. I never had the part about recovery. Once I did, I was able to write the book I wanted, to help people understand how to get out of the hole that bullying damage can do. I wrote “A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance“. Then I truly pushed myself forward and started my company, Bullying Recovery, LLC.
This is not just a flash in the pan. This is what I really want to do with my life. So what did bullying recovery mean for me?
Coming to terms with that which I did not want to face
The first part of almost all recoveries is that you have to face the demon and come to terms with it and let it go. I also had to face all the fears that I was feeling head on to realize they were not real. That was the hardest part and took a lot of work.
Regain my self-esteem
Many of us beat ourselves up over things we cannot change. I cannot change my past, I cannot predict my future. I only have now. I have to be happy with that and I had to begin to like and even love myself again and let go of the past. Again, a tough challenge for many, because we beat ourselves up. This part requires life pattern changes and changes can take a while to happen. Patience becomes a good friend during this time.
Make better healthy decisions
Your mind needs to be fed good foods, just as your body does. I changed my diet to eat healthy mind foods. I started exercising to allow my stress to release and allow endorphins to fill my mind with positive thoughts. I read many positive thinking books. I started to keep a gratitude journal and wrote daily of the good things that are in my life. Finally, I started mindfulness work in Yoga and Meditation, to teach my brain how to relax again.
Once I got through all of this, my clarity of life came back. In so many ways, I have never been happier and it is so much easier to achieve my goals. My dream is to help others get through this same thing. I hope through my writings, podcasts, and website, you find helpful information. If not, contact me and I am happy to help as well.
So that is what Bullying Recovery is about. I should also mention that the damage is not just to the bullied, but past bullies as well. Both need recovery. I truly don’t consider myself as so much an anti-bullying activist as I don’t truly believe we can prevent all bullying. I am a bullying survivor activist that wants to help people recover from the damage that bullying does. That is my mission and that is me. I hope you will continue to join me on this ride forward.