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I think, therefore I harm

Stay Strong Amanda

I would like to spend two thousand words telling your the story of Amanda. But I won’t, as nobody could tell her story better than she did. I invite you to watch this video with me. Turn up the volume and open your eyes, Amanda has something to say.

Amanda posted this a year ago, on September 7th. She stated a clear message: She needed a friend. Only a handful of people saw the video, and nobody answered the call. However, the description on the video said otherwise. “I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong.” Amanda really wanted to help others through sharing her story. She thought nobody deserved this, but despite her misery, she really wanted to help others going through this. “I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyone’s future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through.”

“I did things to myself to make pain go away”, she said. Physical pain is so smooth as compared to what she went through.

“I’m still here aren’t I ?” she concludes.

I wish this was true, but it isn’t. On October 10th, just a month after posting this video, at the age of 15, Amanda took her own life.

Amanda Todd
Oct 2012, The Vancouver Sun

I never knew Amanda. Like many, I found about her the next day, when her name was on every radio station, her pretty, joyful face printed on the front page of every newspaper. It is that day that I watched her video for the first time. Like so many others, I was a day late. By the time I found her video, there were already a million people who saw it, though the number of views was a single digit just a day before. Just over 8 million people saw it by now, and 20 million more viewed one of the reposts.

Amanda, I didn’t know you, but I know what you went through.

What I am about to say, I’ve barely ever said to anyone. Here is my own story.

I was seven when my mother assembled the family in the living room. My father, younger brother and I. She simply said: “Your father and I are breaking up” to which my father had nothing other to say than: “Are you serious?”

Little did I know that the happy world that I knew had just reached an end.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what changed. I don’t know why. But at the end of that day, the sun set and did not rise again for a long, long decade.

I was bullied, I have been physically and mentally abused, I have been abandoned by my father, and I didn’t have any friend.

My only hope was that, someday, this would all stop. I was waiting for the sun to rise again. But the night stretched for longer than it is humanly possible to tolerate. At 14, I gave up. With nobody else ever home, I had all the time that I needed to proceed. Within a few weeks, I attempted to kill myself twice.

The first attempt was called for failure from the beginning. I didn’t have a plan, I was acting out of impulsion. I never been a scout and couldn’t make a knot. The only thing I succeeded at that night was to destroy a perfectly good bed sheet. I didn’t leave it at that though. Over the next few weeks, I elaborated a plan. I learned to make a knot from a TV show for children. I picked a Monday because my father wouldn’t notice until the next Saturday. Everything was up and I had tested that the rope would support my weight this time.

But in the darkness of the night, a tiny little spark sparkled. I was not strong enough, and didn’t proceed according to the plan. Though really dim, the spark made me remember the phone number printed on the back of my school agenda. Call if you need to talk, it said. With the rope still hanging from the closet, I did.

I don’t remember what she said, I don’t think I needed to. I think I only needed to say something to someone, whoever it was. All I really remember is that she was smiling. Of course, I couldn’t see her, but I could tell from her voice that she was smiling. How could someone smile when hearing someone explaining how they planned to end their story? She asked me things to make me talk. I remember one single question: Why?

I stayed silent, and she didn’t break the silence. She waited for an answer that never came. Twenty years later, I still haven’t got an answer to that question.

But the light shone.

I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although im sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I ?
– Amanda Todd, September 7th, 2012

Yes Amanda, you are still here. You are in my heart. As long as I will remember you, you will still be here. I won’t forget about you until my last day.

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12 comments on “Stay Strong Amanda

  1. sledpress
    September 7, 2013

    Consider yourself sent a hug, Tom.

    One of my two closest friends killed herself we were both in our second year of college; her father died when she was thirteen and I always felt her surviving family managed to treat her in all the wrong ways afterward. Now for the last eight years I have been trying to be a help to a young woman — just going into her last year of high school — whose father left the home on her fourth birthday and whose mother has treated both of her kids as emotional punching bags. I know my young lady has tried to kill herself once and cut herself many times, and some of the professional help she’s gotten has been a blessing while at other times it’s merely been a form of punishment. (I am also becoming convinced that during her last hospitalization, an overzealous mental health worker made a report that put words in her mouth which she unwaveringly denied when she got out of the hospital, and that all but destroyed the supportive relationships she did have. There are so few safe places.)

    Pain that comes from the intersection of a tender heart and traumatic experience, cruelty or thoughtlessness can go on and on, and some people won’t ever know how much it can be a victory to make it till tomorrow.

    • Tom Duhamel
      September 9, 2013

      Hug well received!

      Thanks for sharing this story. I hope you are able to be a help to the young lady.

      I know what the very last few words mean.

      Sorry for the slight delay in reply. I did see your post the minute you posted it, but you’ll understand I needed to get away from this post (my own post) for a few days. It has been very difficult to write (and there were probably a lot more mistakes than usual as I have not been able to reread myself as much as I normally do). It has been written, edited and posted all in a single night because I knew I would not be able to return to it to reread it later.

      Thanks for joining my blog! I think I might have forgot to tell you when you joined a few weeks ago.

      • sledpress
        September 9, 2013

        The thanks come from me, for finding another friend.

  2. heretherebespiders
    September 7, 2013

    Amanda had it hard, as did you, Tom. I’m glad you found your light and now are not alone. Your friends (I hope I can count myself as a friend) are glad you are still here.

    • Tom Duhamel
      September 9, 2013

      I do consider you a friend, thanks for asking 🙂

      I’ll confess you something. As I was about to post this, and thinking about who was about to receive an email notification, it went through my mind that maybe I should send you an email to tell you not to read this one. But then, I remembered who was your favorite writer.

      Don’t hesitate to email me when you feel to. It’s been a while since you last surprised me with some unexpected pictures 🙂

      • heretherebespiders
        September 9, 2013

        Hoo boy can I ever surprise you 🙂 Can’t yet, still too busy this week!

  3. theuntoldtheunsaid
    September 9, 2013

    Hi Tom…I am happy that you you didn’t end your life when you were younger. Unfortunately, life is difficult, but at the same time it is precious and we get only one shot at it.

    Whatever the reason, you showed courage by deciding to live on, deciding to face the rigors of life and pushing on.

    Hopefully you have seen happier days since then, days that help you appreciate sunshine, flowers, the bright blue sky painted with white. Hoping you have a long and fulfilling life.

    • Tom Duhamel
      September 9, 2013

      I wouldn’t say I ever made any decision. I don’t think it’s how it works. But well, I don’t really understand much about anything…..

      After darkness came adulthood. I left all that period of my life before. I barely ever mention anything from my teenhood, at times I can proudly say I forgot that period totally. Yes, this is all behind. That period came to an end almost 20 years ago. I’m fine. Life isn’t always easy, but never got that worse again.

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting 🙂 Hope you’ve found something interesting (and less sad) on my blog!

  4. Lidia
    September 25, 2013

    I didn’t posted on this post for a reason. I agree and don’t agree with some things with this whole Amanda-case. But I see the point here.

    At least you were strong enough not to do it. (and I’m glad you didn’t do it).

    • Tom Duhamel
      September 25, 2013

      I didn’t think you had read it. If you feel like there is something you would like to talk to me, you can drop me an email, I can understand it’s difficult to talk these things in public.

      In fact I’d really like to hear to mind about it, what is is that you agree and disagree? If I don’t hear from you, I won’t bug you about it, I’ll just understand.

      You’ll understand it was extremely difficult for me to write this. I wrote it completely sober (no alcohol or any green substance). Just extremely wet eyes. I didn’t expect much comment and wouldn’t have answered very specific ones. But I’m comfortable with what I wrote and will gladly hear anything you might have to say, if you feel like it.

      • Lidia
        September 26, 2013

        Oh, it’s not about you! It’s about the amanda thing, and the video. But I think it’s for the best that I keep my mouth shut about it. 🙂 There’s nothing about what I disagree with about story.

        And I did read it!

        With stories like this I always need tissues. I have never really been bullied before, not like you, or Amanda. But in my last year of high school, there was a girl I had a fight with. When I realized I had the whole class against her, I felt guilty and things got out of hands. And I still feel guilty about it. So I suppose I know a bit of both sides — if that’s the right way to say it? But I’m totally against bullying, and I’m not like the girl in high school anymore, but I’m rambling. 🙂 This post is about yooou

        There’s not much I have to say about it. Except that I wish it didn’t happen. No one deserves it.

        • Tom Duhamel
          September 26, 2013

          The post above is mine, but the area below is yours. The comments area is given away to the readers, it’s not mine. You can write for hours if you like, I’m happy with it. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s the reason why I posted in the first place.

          The next one you drink, you drink it in my honor 🙂

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