Does Being Bullied in Your Teen Years Lead to Depression Later in Life?
A recent British study says it may. It found thirty percent of individuals who were bullied in some way when they were young suffered from depression as adults, twice the rate of the unbullied. The study defined bullying in multiple ways, from being ostracized to name called to out-and-out physical abuse.
This study perked my interest since as a teen in high school I definitely felt like an outsider. When I was ten, my family moved from one town where I had friends from childhood to another where I was treated like shit.
Nerdy and unathletic, and aware, though I wasn’t a sissy boy, that I was “different,” I was frequently picked on by my class’s social elite, you know, the jocks and hot chicks. Extemely self-conscious about my short stature and increasingly furry body certainly didn’t help matters. All this led to a terrible inferiority complex it has taken me a lifetime to deal with, though I don’t think I will ever get over it.
That’s why when I read about some of these outsiders coming to school and wiping out half their class with a semi-automatic, a part of me is actually sympathetic. Hell, in my day, the worse sin was smoking in the john; who knows what I would have done If I had gotten my hands on a weapon, that’s how frustrated and angry I became at times with people I realize in hindsight were plain shitheads.
Even years later, when I found acceptance as a gay man where my hirsute nature worked in my favor, and in my professional life as a successful healthcare executive, I always felt I lacked the essential social skills to feel comfortable around people which often triggered deep bouts of self- doubt. Today, I really don’t give a fuck what people think of me.
So, was all this angst a product of my shitty high school years? Who knows?
We all carry battle scars of one kind or another – the best way to overcome them is not to let them define us, but to rise above them.
Or, put another way, show the finger to the shit heads of our past.