** Trigger warning for, well, everything. If you know me personally and are going to be upset at horrible secrets, don’t read it. If you are my family, please don’t try and broach the subject with me. This is as much as I’m willing to talk about it right now, and believe me when I say, I’m okay. I feel good about it. It’s not your fault**
Everyone knows that unresolved problems and traumas are bad for you. We all have a thing from the past, lurking, forced to the back of our emotional wardrobe because there never seems to be a good time to address the issue. When things are bad, it’s unbearable to dredge things up and make it worse. When things are good, you don’t want to muddy the waters with something from long ago. You just want to enjoy basking in the sunshine of happiness. There is no shame in this method of self-preservation. It’s kept me trundling along for most of my adult life. I am chief of the “ignore it and hope it goes away” camp… and while things do sometimes go away, there are still issues lurking in the darkness and they will always creep out from the shadows when you show even a moment of weakness.
There are things from my past that I’ve ignored. Shadows from the days of dial-up internet. I didn’t necessarily ignore them through choice, though. I was forced to shut them away because as a young teenager, there was no precedence for dealing with horrific online bullying. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty details, because sharing specifics will not add any more to this blog, and may even hinder my progress in dealing with it in a productive way due to the emotions and anxiety involved in writing down the details in a public forum. Maybe one day I will – when I’m ready. I’m ready to confront what happened, but I’m not ready to divulge the specifics to the whole world. Only six months ago I finally found the strength to confide in my boyfriend. That is the biggest weight that has ever been lifted from my shoulders. Perhaps his positive, supporting reaction fed the strength that I found yesterday.
Last night, I don’t know what came over me… But I saw an opening to finally be heard. I decided that too much of my predisposition to depression and suicidal ideals stems from being a young teenager and having to silently live with the trauma of relentless bullying and bystanders making me think that I actually somehow deserved it. Seriously, it’s the kind of shit people would be put on a register for, even jailed for, these days. But back then, no one really knew what to do, so they did nothing. It’s only when you’ve done a whole bunch of adulting that you can look back with clarity at your childhood and are able to decipher the standard teenage drama from clear cut abuse.
Back to last night. A lot of this abuse was conducted via the message board of my favourite band. It certainly all stemmed from it. The thing is, when it all came to a head… One person was banned from the message board and I was left to just get on with it. I didn’t get on with it. I got on with repeatedly trying to kill myself while continuing to be bullied, especially by the girls. At one point, I was even told to “kill myself properly next time”. I certainly gave it my best shot. I spent my formative years thinking I had no self-worth and deserved to be miserable. Even when I was profoundly wronged, I didn’t deserve any support. The only support I did have was actually from people on the message board… because they are the only ones who knew about it. I just couldn’t tell anyone in the real world. I thought it was my fault.
So, when this band took part in an AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit last night. I asked them a pretty big anything. I asked them if they knew about it and what they thought about it. Because, you know what? They have done SPECTACULARLY well for themselves. They have a fucking private jet. I went to every in-store signing and every gig at every poxy, smelly venue. I waited out the back of venues in the pouring rain to meet them. My Dad drove me the entire length of Scotland on several occasions to go to their gigs. I skived off school for a week to see them play the same venue four nights in a row. For a very long time, they were a huge part of my life. They still are. But for being such a massive fan, I was repaid with being tormented to the point of feeling that suicide was my only option. Even when this bullying became of a criminal nature… I received no support, but still supported the band.
To my surprise, their tour manager (who ran the message board, back in the day) messaged me on Reddit. He was horrified, very apologetic and more supportive than I’d ever have expected. He genuinely seems to have had no idea whatsoever that this went on. He has always been a close friend of the band and has generally come across as a good guy. I guess, with the wisdom of everyone being actual grown-ups, it’s easy to see how deeply unsettling the whole scenario was. The band are in America right now, but he still said he’d make time to call me today. He offered to meet me for a coffee – which I absolutely would do if I was in London and my body wasn’t a sack of shit. Finally feeling supported as the victim, and not dismissed a guilty party, is the biggest relief. This whole scenario has been the grotty, rotten, abscessed tooth of my mental health and at long last, the tooth is gone. There will always be a space where a part of me will never be 100%, but at least I can start to feel like it’s not harming me. It’s just a space, and that’s okay.
Empty space is without a doubt preferable to a festering, lurking problem in the back of my well-being wardrobe. It’s been an emotional 24 hours, but I feel more relief than I can put into words.