Never in the popular social group in high school, she was constantly picked on for her weight, freckles and hair color. Kids would push her into lockers, call her fat and, she said, tell her to kill herself.
She went home crying every day.
“There is only so much a person can deal with before they hit a breaking point,” said the Douglas County resident, now 33, tears welling in her eyes as she sat next to one of her two young daughters.
The woman, who attended a Douglas County high school, asked that her name not be used to protect her privacy.
During her four years of high school, she said she attempted suicide three times, one of which required care at a psychiatric facility where she received the help she needed.
Her best friend of 30 years, whom she describes as a sister, helped her move forward, the woman said. Her friend was the one person she could count on. She was always there to talk. They spent nearly all of their time together.
After high school, life got better. She married, moved out of state, living in a community where she felt a sense of belonging. She and her family eventually returned to Douglas County.
Her experience has shaped the way she parents her two children. She often reassures her 13-year-old daughter — who she said is also being bullied at school and receiving hateful messages on social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook — that she is beautiful, strong and that this small part of life will pass. She is open about emotions and feelings with her children and encourages them to talk to her about what is happening at school and online.
When asked what she would say to other people who are struggling, she responded:
“Whatever you do, don’t let it build up. Find a trusted adult and just know that it is going to get better.”
— Alex DeWind