Sting Like a Butterfly

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Disclaimer: SickNotWeak does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be sitting in a prosecutor’s office. Scratch that. At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be going to court twice. At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be fighting my own cyberbullying case.

The incidents occurred on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. I was a target of threats and cyberbullying. When the situation escalated, I sought help from the police and later on, a legal clinic.

I was told that I would be “blowing a hornet’s nest”, if I continued on with my case. Little did I know, that was exactly what would happen. When I decided to speak up, individuals contacted me virtually through my phone, and in person.

I was told that my mental health story would make me appear unstable in court. I was told that it would be better to walk away, that closing my laptop would solve the problem, and that, perhaps, I asked for it.

the threats and words followed me wherever I went

During this experience, my mental health suffered. Although I could shut off my computer and turn off the WiFi, the threats and words followed me wherever I went. My home and room, which were my safe spaces, suddenly did not feel so safe anymore. I feared leaving my home and I was in a very dark place. I developed suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety.

After over six months, standing up for what I believed in was just as scary as my battle with mental illness. I dropped half my courses in University and told friends that I was simply trying to “figure things out”. But, in reality, I needed to take time off to take care of myself and recover.

The breaking point was the numerous times I contemplated taking my life. It now feels surreal to think that back then, the train station and train tracks seemed to be the best way out of the nightmare I was living. I don’t know if I would still be here today without the support from my family, friends, and psychologist. Today, I can proudly say that I won two battles through this journey. Yes, I did blow a hornet’s nest, but this fight was well worth it.

Although I was going through this experience, I was able to complete an anti-bullying awareness project, which was a finalist and winner in the category of Mutual Aid, Peace, and Justice for the Forces Avenir Collegial Award. This project consisted of awareness events, an art installation, and a video featuring a variety of students who were bullied, who struggled with their mental health, or who knew others who suffered. My hope was to empower and inspire others. I was able to share my story and project to high school students. It was a blessing to find out about Jack.org, a national network of young leaders transforming the way we think about mental health. I am still involved with the organization; I started a mental health club at my university with my wonderful colleagues (Jack.org Concordia), I was trained as a youth mental health public speaker (JACK TALKS Speaker), and I am attending the National Mental Health Summit (Jack Summit) for a third year. Amidst the difficult situations, I found a way to take this experience and turn it into something positive.

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