You may know Nymphy from her occasionally witty and funny posts here on this blog as well as being the newly procced GM of Eff the Ineffable. You may also know that she loves babies and sometimes writes posts about them. You may know her as the flirty and fun arcane mage that loves achievements and old school raiding. And you may know her from her flagrant affair with the floor and the Spirit Healer. Yet behind the awesomely mogged pixels on the screen, Nymphy is played by a person and that person is me.
Warning: may cause triggers and involves mentions of childhood bullying, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, depression, and anxiety.
Thanks to the overwhelming bravery of Apple Cider Mage, WoWExclucis, LodurZJ, and the outpouring of support from people like Grimmtooth, Big Bear Butt, and many others I have decided to add my voice, timid though it may be. They have all written posts about bullying over the past few days, and I am inspired by their courage. Bullying is insidious and has far reaching consequences. Unlike them, I am not writing about a specific incidence of bullying in my life, I am writing about the consequences of bullying. In a way, my whole personality is a consequence.
We sometimes forget that the toon on the screen is a real person because emotions are easily masked behind cheerful banter and flirtatious whispers. When you interact with their toon, you have no way of knowing that that toon is a front, a way to be someone that they wish they could be. The online community provides such a level of anonymity that you can use to hide behind an avatar, a screen name. You can be the person you want to be. Online, I can be the friendly, outgoing, and almost popular person that in real life I am never and could never be.
I have been bullied all my life. In school I was that girl who walked quickly between classes with her arms wrapped around a stack of books never stopping to flirt at her locker with some boy that she liked that week. I have never been popular....ever. I had a couple friends, but those friendships died after school ended. I was that girl who got picked on at the playground. I was pushed from a wall and had my arm broken once, and I have had spitballs and rocks thrown at my head. Taunts and insults were hurled at my mind, but the bullying at school was preferable to the bullying at home. I grew up a foster child. I have been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.
When I met my future husband while taking the ASVAB test to get into the military, I thought that maybe, just maybe there was something worth seeing in me.Yeah there was something there all right. He saw in me a person that he could control and emotionally tear down until there was nothing left.
Bullying has gifted me with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. There are days where I simply cannot find motivation to do anything. There are days where I have anxiety attacks to the point where I am crippled by indecision. Even today, surrounded by friends on the internet, I cannot believe that they are friendly to me because of me. I am convinced that they are only friendly because they are being kind, pitying even. My self esteem is non existent. I don’t look at myself and think that I am a person worth knowing or loving. Bullying of this kind has made its mark in permanent ink on my psyche. WoW is my escape and a chance to let the personality I would have had naturally free to express herself. THIS is the product of lifelong bullying.
I am here writing this because you never know what a kind word or a random /hug can do to help a person like me. I am not writing this, as some trolls will say, for attention. At least not attention for me. I am writing this to bring attention TO what bullying can cause. Even though there may appear to be no fabled light at the end of a tunnel, or a rope dangling to the bottom of a very deep hole, there always is. Reach out to someone, ANYONE, because I, of all people, have learned that you don't have to suffer alone. There are people out there who are willing to talk about meaningless things to help you feel better about the world. I have created my own personal support team filled with people who will take that time to ensure that I am not alone when I shouldn’t be. Whether or not I listen to my doubts about the validity of their concern is another story.
If you are a victim of online bullying please refer to Apple Cider Mage's guide for help. And if things look to be SO DARK that you are thinking of harming yourself or others please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).