by The Little B

It has taken me a few days to feel like I could write about this. The suicide of Robin Williams was difficult to write about. This.. this is just.. I don’t know what this is. We hear about it. We read about it. Some of us have thought about it. Some of us have tried it. But when a child; yes, a CHILD, takes his own life in the school of an immediate relative, it hits you. It hits you so hard that you actually lose your breath. Your stomach twists and your heart drops, and feels like it almost stops. Your throat gets that pain, that aching sensation, and you know the tears are coming. The internal pain is so bad all of a sudden that you just don’t know what to do with it. Crying suddenly doesn’t seem enough. You want to scream. Then you think about that child’s parents. Oh my gosh, that child’s parents!! I’m a parent. A parent of four amazing children, and one of those children has tried to take her own life multiple times, during the year of 2011. Thankfully, she did not succeed. If she had – I can’t bear the thought. My eyes are burning now. Then you think about your immediate relative. My niece goes to that school. MY NIECE GOES TO THAT SCHOOL! My heart breaks for her and the madness that she now finds herself surrounded with; the questions that must be running through her mind; the probable fear lurking inside somewhere; the sadness.

aeeLamar Hawkins was a 14-year-old 8th grader at Greenwood Lakes Middle School. Lamar was actually a fairly small child for his age. He had health complications early on in life, and his small size made him an easy target for bullies. He didn’t grow up in Central Florida. He actually moved here from New York, ironically to escape bullying.

“The family lived in New York, the child was bullied in New York, they fled to Florida to leave the bullies in New York and when they got here, it continued,” said attorney Matt Morgan. -taken from an interview by WFTV, Central Florida.

I’ve watched several interviews with students and friends of Lamar, talked to different people, read dozens of articles that have come out since this happened, and the more time that passes, the more evident it has become that Lamar was a good, polite, nice young man, victimized physically and emotionally because of his size, and because his cries for help constantly fell on deaf ears. Morgan said the boy’s dad went to the school about the bullying issue, but district officials said they couldn’t talk about any action that was taken because of student confidentiality. -same interview. Really? I suppose I can understand not being able to tell the bully’s name(s), but you can’t tell the parent whether anything was done or not? Am I reading that correctly? “They have had to deal with emotions that no parent should have to deal with. It’s something that is every parent’s worst nightmare, having to bury their child,” Morgan said. This child was bullied, literally, to death.” -same interview.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, while I was busy writing on my Facebook page about the fact that it was World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, and to please reach out if you felt like you needed help, a child the same age as my youngest son put a gun to his head in the restroom facility of a public school less than a mile from where I once lived, pulled the trigger, and ended his own life. 

According to Seminole County deputies, Lamar’s mother went to Greenwood Lakes Middle School to pick him up from school at about 5 p.m., but she could not find him. She then returned home and searched the neighborhood for approximately 2 hours, after which she decided to call the authorities, reporting him missing. Sheriff’s deputies were then dispatched to Greenwood Lakes to fully search the campus and they eventually found Lamar in a boy’s bathroom stall, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, at around 7 p.m. It has been reported that the gun belonged to Lamar’s father, but I’ve found no details on how Lamar actually came to be in possession of the gun himself, and Lamar’s father will not comment on the subject as of yet. That really isn’t the point, in my humble opinion, though. If it hadn’t been that, it would have been something else. Remember, I know. I’ve been there personally. 

I can’t help but think of the fear in that boy, the courage it took to actually put that gun against the side of his head; yes, you read that correctly. I said courage. As I said when I wrote about the death of Robin Williams, suicide is not the easy way out. It does not take a coward to commit suicide. You are very sadly mistaken if you think so. I will repeat it until the day that I, myself, take my very last breath. Cowards don’t commit suicide. Courageous people who have had to live each day with more strength than you could possibly imagine do. Do I condone it? Absolutely not! But don’t ever tell me it’s selfish, thoughtless, cowardly, or otherwise. You, or I, will never know all of the things that Lamar had to endure up until that point, all the things that he kept inside because the times he did say something, it was swept under the rug, all the emotional torment that he had piercing his soul while he bravely fought the world second by second until one too many ruthless teenagers told him he should just go ahead and kill himself. Yes, they did. Students have reported that not only was Lamar bullied, but he was bullied to the extent of being told he should take his own life.  Watch the video on one of the first reports done on this story and hear it from a student’s mouth directly: BULLYING LED MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENT TO KILL HIMSELF

aee3It’s time to stand up against bullying. Our community came together, hopefully for the beautiful start of a campaign against bullying at Greenwood Lakes Middle School, as these Greenwood Lakes middle schoolers began to join hands down the sidewalk in support and memory of Lamar Hawkins.

When is enough going to be enough? Is teasing okay? Do we just sit back and say “kids will be kids” and chalk it up to lessons learned in life? I don’t freaking think so! It is not normal nor is it right for a child to tell another child to just go and kill him/herself! Teasing IS bullying when taken to extremes! Some kids, and even some adults, are way more susceptible to emotional damage caused by teasing, even if the teasing is considered “minor” because of mental health issues or other underlying factors, such as perhaps being abused as a child. The fact is, YOU DON’T KNOW. That alone should be enough to act like a civilized human being, I don’t care how old you are. Parents: Talk to your children about bullying and explain to them that it is not okay to make fun of someone else for any reason; it is not okay to talk about another person behind their back; it is not okay to speak hatefully about someone, whether you know them or not, but especially if you don’t know them. Children/Teenagers: Watch your mouth! If you wouldn’t want something said to you, why in the world would you say it to someone else? Treat each other with respect. Have dignity and uphold integrity. Think about when you have children one day; would you want someone to do or say the things to YOUR child that you are doing or saying to someone else’s child? I don’t want to hear “Oh, I would just think it was a joke.” or “I didn’t really mean anything by it.” or “Some kids are way too sensitive.” or “People really need to get a sense of humor.” I’m not sorry, but I don’t think telling another child that he should kill himself is anywhere near funny. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. -often attributed to both T.H. Thompson and John Watson, and even J. M. Barrie, but appears to actually originate from a Jewish philosopher named Philo of Alexandria.

aee4This beautiful young lady is my daughter. She is now 16 years old (17 next month), but when she was also 14 years old, she was placed in a facility 9 times over the course of a year because of suicide attempts and self-injury. Does she look unhappy to you? If you could only see her eyes up close. She has been through a lot, including bullying. As a matter of fact, it isn’t only the fact that Lamar went to the same school that my niece attends that this hits so close to home; it’s also due to the fact that bullying played a role in my own daughter’s subsequent attempts after the first unsuccessful attempt. 

My little girl has been through a lot. As a mother, I would love to say that I’ve never brought my daughter any pain, but I think if all parents are honest, we can all say that we have inadvertently hurt our children at some point in time. Of course, there are the A-holes that hurt their children on purpose; however, I am not an A-hole. At least, I’d like to think not. I made some very poor decisions in my personal life that brought my children pain, that I never intended for them to go through. My daughter has something in common with me -actually, has more than one thing in common with me- that I wish she didn’t. One of those things is bipolar disorder, which she absolutely detests, and the other is something you will be able to figure out on your own if you pay careful enough attention to the things I write or the videos that I post. No, she has never abused drugs. My daughter did not deserve what happened to her, nor does she deserve what she has been through. After missing school for a while after her first breakdown in 2011, the self-centered bullies (I have other choice words, but I will not resort to calling then-middle-schoolers names in my blog, other than bullies, because that’s what they are) began to spread rumors about my daughter. They had all kinds of theories about why she hadn’t been at school. One of those rumors was that she was was pregnant and had left school to have the baby. I don’t know where kids come up with some of the things they do, but really teenagers: JUST STOP IT ALREADY. When she returned to school, she was talked about, teased, snubbed, etc. It started a snowball effect of self-injury and suicidal ideation, and pure effing hell for all of us, but especially her, that lasted for approximately a year. As a result, my daughter is now home-schooled and has been since 2012. Is this what I would have chosen for her? No, it isn’t. Are we going to force her to go to school where she might be triggered into another episode after doing much better the last 2 years? Hell no. It isn’t even an option to send her to another school; zoning and all that. She attends Circle Christian School for certain activities and such, but mostly does Florida Online Virtual School, with her step-mother as her at-home “teacher.” 

I am very disconnected with this beautiful face right now. I wish it weren’t so. Because of the things she has been through, the things WE have been through, and other factors, she needs time away from me to adjust to her life and work her way through her feelings on her own. It’s been almost a year since we have really talked, not for lack of my trying. But I finally realized that sometimes we have to let go of what is broken so that true healing can take place. Some of it is because of things that have happened, but I truly believe that some of it is fear, as well; fear because we DO have so much in common. You would think it would be easier to talk to a parent that has so much similarity to you, because they would be the one that would understand you and be able to make sense of it all. Not necessarily always true, young grasshoppers. Sometimes they are the hardest to talk to, because the vulnerability is too much. That vulnerability leads to anger, sometimes there is resentment, and a lot of times there is hurt. It has taken me a VERY long time to realize this, and by no means whatsoever does it make it easier not to be able to talk to someone who was, up until the end of 2010, almost literally my shadow and twin. Wherever you found me, there she was. I almost used to run right into her, not realizing she’d followed me into a room, and turn around to walk and come nose-to-nose with her, having to halt myself before smacking our faces into each other. I have had to let her go and stop trying so hard, and quite honestly, it hurts like hell. I cling to hope and I have my faith, and I look forward to the day when she finally knows it’s time to talk to her mommy again. But I will never stop loving her, being her mom, being her advocate, and doing everything I can to make sure she is never hurt again in the ways she has been hurt in the past.

aee6Do you see now? I term it bully-cide for a reason. I read the most ignorant statement in one of the articles I reviewed about the Lamar Hawkins suicide, and was angered when I saw who made the statement and quite fervently believe she needs to find another job, I don’t care where she got her statistics. I’m not going to call her out in this article, but she stated [paraphrased] “Bullying happens a lot, a lot of kids are bullied and it’s sad, but the fact is, most kids who are bullied don’t go and commit suicide.” Maybe most kids don’t, but the statement was so unnecessary in the article that I wanted to throw my laptop.

The FACT is that kids ARE committing suicide because of bullying. Google it. You will have more results than you care for. The question is, how are we going to stop it? What are you willing to do?

• For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 
• For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

The Little B

barbThe pages of my life, ripped to pieces; slowly being bound back together. Just a girl; thriving & recovering despite the stigma of mental health. I am just a simple girl, and I have bipolar 1 disorder with severe depression. I struggle with self-injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Avoidant Personality Disorder, codependency, and I am a survivor of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; I am also a recovering drug addict. I am a cancer survivor. One thing you should probably know before you read any further, if you haven’t figured it out already, is that I am extremely transparent. I am a Jesus-loving Christian, but I have plenty of flaws and defects, and although I’m not proud of them, I’m not afraid to show them. It means I am human, just as God created me. We all have things to work on. I live in Central Florida and I have 4 amazing (almost grown) children. My 2 boys are 21 and 14, and my 2 girls are 18 and 16. None of them live with me anymore. I have an incredibly long story. Perhaps some of the pieces will fall into words…. here. Winter Park, FL, USA



8 Responses to Bully-Cide. Too Close To Home. Ramblings of a Bipolar Sober Chick

  1. Darcia Helle says:

    Little B, your articles always take my breath away. Literally. I find myself not breathing, but don’t realize it until the pain in my chest makes me suck in some air.

    Lamar Hawkins’ story is tragic. I don’t know what New York schools are like, but Florida was probably not the best place for an escape. My experience with schools here, from a parental perspective, was not good. I suppose that once a kid is tagged and bullied, the child carries that weight wherever he/she goes. Other kids pick up on that, and so the cycle continues. But where are the adults in these schools? And how the hell can a child shoot himself in a school bathroom and no one hears a thing?

    Your situation with your daughter breaks my heart. I’m sure you will find your way back to each other in time. She’s fortunate to have parents willing to do whatever necessary to keep her safe.

    • Thank you, Darcia. I’ve wondered the same thing. How did no one hear this? How was he able to commit this act, and no one in the school knew? There are after-school activities going on and people around; granted, maybe it was a different side of the school. But I just feel like someone had to have heard something. It’s still all very surreal right now. Not much makes sense around here!

      My daughter will, I pray, be okay. My heart has broken into a thousand pieces. I can’t describe the pain of being a mom whose daughter doesn’t acknowledge your existence. It’s taken me a while to pull myself together and accept it for what it is right now, because I know I can’t fix it or control it. If I could fix her, I would. All I can do is make sure she knows I love her and that no matter how much time goes by, I will always be her mommy.

      • Darcia Helle says:

        I don’t think it’s possible to understand that soul-deep wish to make everything better for your child until you become a parent yourself. I know letting her go had to be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. She’s still young, in that self-centered stage of youth we all experience. She needs someone to blame for her trauma, and moms often become that sort of scapegoat. As she matures, she’ll reconnect with you on a different level. In the meantime, she knows you love her and will be there waiting.

  2. Rick says:

    You’ve penned another moving post, Little B. As for the situation between you and your daughter, I subscribe to the “butterfly” theory; that is, if you love someone, set them free and if they come back, it was meant to be. :)

  3. Lise LaSalle says:

    You know I love you Little B and your article really touched me, but I am with Rick with the butterfly theory.

    I realize you are an open book but I would personally be upset if my mom posted my photo on a blog with so many details about my personal struggles. Especially if we were on a break and she did not consult me about it.

    Maybe she wouldn’t mind but thought I would express this to you. I know you will get back to a good place but until then, I would respect her privacy.

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Lise. My daughter and I are both writers, actually. She published her first book just a few months ago, a book of poetry. In that book are several poems referencing me and stuff that was upsetting to me. But, I had to let it go, because we actually made an agreement about 4 months before we stopped talking that we would be allowed to express ourselves fully through our writing, without the other person getting mad (we might get mad or hurt on the inside, but just not retaliate against the other). To that end, I’ve talked about our struggles a lot, and she is aware of it. She talks about them, too. However, I do understand what you are saying and I appreciate your input very much!! <3 I will think further on this and approach my daughter to see if feelings have changed at all in that area… and see if I get an answer.

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