Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It really does.


There was a push today to wear purple in support of those LGBTQIA kids who get bullied and harassed at school. And, by extension, all kids who get bullied.

It was a timely day for one of my patients. His sexuality is still mythical, from what I can tell. But he's an easy target for bullies. In fact, I'm pretty sure I knew this kid in high school - we all did. Introverted, sensitive, socially awkward. Keeps to himself, so there's no one to stick up for him. Doesn't fight back, so he just keeps taking it.

Until, one day, he won't. I'm worried about what that means.

My hope is that he'll use therapy, learn to say, "Yeah, you people are insecure, and fuck you all, I'm fine," and get on with his life (remember when I said I knew this kid in high school? I still know this kid as an adult. He's done quite well for himself). But there's other possibilities. At best, he limps along, holds it together, emerges on the other side intact. At worst? That's the stuff that keeps shrinks and parents up at night. The kids that externalize take guns to school in their trenchcoats and shoot up the school. The kids that take it to heart? Kill themselves.

I don't like either of those options.

So, today, on purple-people-against-hate-and-bullying day, I gave him the "It gets better" talk. The "everyone in high school (even the kid you think is perfect) feels bad about themselves and awkward sometimes". I say, do you believe me? He says, no. I say, then I'll have to keep telling you. Don't give me words, give me proof, he says. I think about this, and then I tell him, "Look. I'm in 26th grade. I survived. Every one of us survived. It wasn't easy for any of us. I promise you, it will get better."

I still don't think he believed me.

When did I become "that" grown-up?

I'm not one for cheesy pep talks, really. Especially not in therapy. But it seemed to fit today. I don't know if he heard it, but I really wanted to tell him, I'm here for you. I really wanted to give him some hope.

Because, no matter what the bullies say - whether they're in the locker room or the boardroom - just because someone says something, especially something meant to keep you down, doesn't mean it's true.

Just keep moving. It really does get better.


Anonymous said...

Purple-people-"eaters" who EAT PURPLE CHEESE.

I do not think you were being 'cheesy' but what do I know--since I am an old lady and as I have said---it is hard for me to understand 'depressed or whatever you call them' people.

But I think in 'essence' you told him to PICK UP HIS FEET BY HIS BOOT STRAPS and get going. Now I could add---USE THOSE BOOTS TO VERBALLY KICK BUTT.

QUESTION; Did I ever mention my 4-H club member boy who was probably gay?
Let me know rather than waste your busy time. Interesting story.

Enjoy Carol

Anonymous said...

I don't know that it really does get better or that it necessarily has to be better. There will, as you noted, always be a$$h01es in the boardroom, rude coworkers, demanding bosses, manipulative and backstabbing colleagues and yes, the occasional "screamer" supervisor. But, if you look there are also great, friendly, people who want to help you succeed. There are, here and there in this very large, highly populated world, people who will like and accept you as you are. The trick is to find those people and to decide where you want to be.

But inherently, I don't think it gets better. We just learn to react better, if we are lucky.