Monday, December 1, 2014

From horror to help: an opportunity for change

About a month ago, I took a big change, a big chance, and published my own personal story with bullying in the Edgerton Reporter. It was something I shared with very few people, but I felt like it was time to share my story. I did it in the hopes that my story would be able to help someone else, let them know they are not alone. I also wanted to give them hope.

My life is not perfect, and the effects of the bullying and abuse I experienced still linger today. Chances are they will always be with me, but they do not define me.
About a week ago, a man stopped in the newspaper office. When I looked up, my boss was waving me over. She said the man’s daughter was special needs and was being bullied. After fetching a copy of my article for the man, I took a few minutes to talk with him and find out the situation.

It turns out that his 14-year-old daughter is going through a rough time. Like me, she has epilepsy (the special needs part). Like me, she is having problems at school and is being bullied. I spoke with the father for a while and said if he wanted me to, I was willing to speak with his daughter, and he seemed very receptive to it. He thought it would be really great for her to speak with someone who went through the same thing, came out on the other side, and is not a parent or authority figure.

This is exactly the kind of effect I hoped my story would have. This is why I spoke out, why I went public with my story. Many times, reporters respond to what has already happened. I feel incredibly blessed that I can potentially have the opportunity to be on the front lines, to potentially be a force of good in a young person’s life.

As her father was telling part of her story, I was thinking, “My God, this girl is a young me.” I could not ignore the similarities, even down to the epilepsy diagnosis. I know I can help this girl. I gave the father my name and number, and am hoping he will call me. Of course he also knows where I work, so I am not too worried about him losing my number and not knowing how to get ahold of me. (;

I am hoping that this is just the beginning. Stay tuned....

My story can be found here: 
Part 2: