I think, therefore I harm
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.
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.