Dolly Everett took her life on the 3rd of January, she made that decision in part due to the bullying she was subject to.
From this point with the encouragement of Kate and Tick Everett Dolly’s parents and Meg her sister the #stopbullyingnow banner has been sent around on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, on my blog it has been read in over 30 countries and been reposted thousands of times, we have seen Matt the Outback Wrangler backing the cause, personal messages from strangers and Akubra Australia showing us the face of little Dolly some 8 years earlier when she was the poster child of their Christmas advertising.
I personally have fielded hundreds of messages and comments. Along with the good there is also the bad, there are extreme reactions to a beautiful child taking her own life. Some have directed their comments like that of a witch hunt for the bullies to be named and shamed. Some feel the government needs to do more, the schools need to be more vigilant and more accountable. Parents need to do more to educate their own children.
Dollys death is a tragedy, a plain and simple tragedy. Could it have been avoided? That is a question no one can answer, a person who commits suicide with 100% intent does not plan to let you know of their choice. I need everyone to understand that there is no blame to be leveled at any 1 person, no good can come from making another child or adult feel like they caused Dollys death. You cannot blame yourself for not seeing the warning signs, you cannot second guess your part in Dollys life choices. Unfortunately Dolly and Dolly alone made this terrible decision and in its wake we all need to recognise why and try and eradicate it from happening to someone else. That is the point of putting Dollys face on this Anti-bullying campaign. She is no longer here to speak out, she wasn’t strong enough in life to stand up so in her death we will stand for her.
So please, be kind to each other, be understanding and tolerant and most of all do not look to blame individuals, that wont bring Dolly back, but instead lets make a stand against the erosion that is Bullying, not only in our schools but also our workplaces and homes.
Smile, Breath Deep and be Grateful
Since writing out my feelings about Dollys suicide I have not been able to lift the feeling of sadness in my chest. It just doesn’t seem enough, it doesn’t cast a spotlight on this issue, it doesn’t hold the people accountable, in a week it will have past and Dolly, whilst always remembered amongst us, is just another victim of bullying.
I know that if it doesn’t affect us personally then it really doesn’t resonate that youth suicide is a problem, as I have said on more than one occasion it is an epidemic. It is common, just like a cold it is spreading and rather than making the headlines like poverty and terrorism, it is shunned and hidden and brushed over.
My own son suffered such beatings at his high school that he flinched when I tried to hug him, back then it was all about the hazing that occurs in a new school, a right of passage and because he was a boy in an all boys school it was par for the course, but the reality is that it then turned my son into the punisher as he got older, because he earned his stripes, he took the beatings and then earned the right to issue them. This caveman mentality is still rife in our school systems. In the end my son begged me to move him from this school, he begged me and told me that if I didn’t he would leave and never come back, or harm himself so that the craziness would stop. In the end the endless roundabout of school bully tactics and peer pressure broke him. In the eyes of some parents at the time my son was weak, he was the problem in a few instances and therefore he was just running away from the issues. He was even making up the level of suffering and loneliness he endured. He was left in a situation without support and was not listened to. Luckily for me he spoke up and we moved him for his last year of schooling. He became the boy I knew so well, the boy we lost years before to a city based, tall poppy school system that didn’t listen. He became the happy, country friendly soul he was always destined to be, but as a parent I will always feel remorse for what we put him through, for thinking that a first string school would be the best decision.
I know there will be many that rise against my comments, I have family and friends who’s sons and daughters attend such schools and I certainly do not pidgeon hole all children in the category my son was in, just like those that commit suicide to escape their bullies, their demons, the pain, there are some that can not endure the rigors of these schools.
So what do we do? How do we make a definite change? How do we get it out into the schools in a real way? I do not want another child to take their own life because the darkness is to great, I want these children to see there is a way out, the days do get better, the darkness does lift in time and that they need to believe this in order to attain it. You see they get stuck in the negative and can no longer find the positive, they cannot find the happy moments, they cannot see that everyday they are Loved and they are Important beyond measure. Our children need to be told, reassured, taught, hugged, reminded that they are the future, they are the reason people smile and they have a journey ahead that will lead to greatness.
People are coming forward and telling their stories, people who like the Everetts have lost a shining light in their own lives, beautiful children all over our country are choosing to not live another day, another moment, another second. People are choosing to escape the torment, they are so sad, so lost and broken and we cant see it.
I want you all to look at your children, your neighbors, your friends and family and imagine for one moment that they will be gone in a moment, less time then it takes to inhale a breath.
A death in a movie does not show the reality of dying, the stopping of a heart, the lasts draw of a breath, the blood ceasing to move in the veins.
It does not capture the emotional fatigue.
So what to do?? Another campaign, a hotline for the kids to call, a facebook page thats private they can contact. Tell me what’s going to stop the spread ? What one thing can we do to make a permanent change?? Suggestions anyone?
I got home from work last night at 10pm to my daughter telling me that there was a death in our friend circle.
One of her friends had lost a sister, a beautiful young, vibrant girl had taken her own life.
Every time I hear of someone in our lives passing I have an immediate feeling of despair and pain in my chest. I know it is a normal reaction to death, but since losing my own son in tragic circumstances I am instantly taken to the emotion of such a loss. I feel all the same grief and pain that I personally encountered for the people involved.
The parents of this amazing human being had found their daughter and whilst the details are not mine to share or mine to know, there are some things in life none of us want to ever have to live through, and this is one.
This young woman had only just begun her journey, she woke up and made a decision to not see another morning, for whatever reason this poor angel felt that the world was too heavy, the burdens too great and she couldn’t see the good that she could bring to others, but in her death she will bring waves of change, without even realizing she will have an affect on any or all that ever taunted or bullied her, this death will bring with it great remorse for the actions of others. You see there is no way that anyone who made this child’s life miserable will not somehow hold onto this death and moving forward think about their actions.
In turn her friends will feel this deeply and they will carry into their futures the story of the beautiful girl that was too good a soul for the world. They will tell their children and group of friends about the girl that took her own life because she couldn’t see that light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a lesson that ripples through the ages and perhaps in old age when they take that final breath they will re-unite with her and live on in peace.
I know there are many that think of suicide as a cowardly thing to do, and a terrible act to bestow on your family and friends, but for me all I see is the pain that can transport someone to a place where they feel there is no other way out.
I cannot imagine harming myself to such a degree that the end comes, that my heart stops and yet we are seeing this all too often. How cruel a world do we live in? When the only option our children see to escape torment is ending their own life?
Before your children go off to school remind them to be kind and grateful, remind them to help others, don’t let them pick on others or judge others, be the example and help us make a change.
That child you see who tries too hard to get the attention of others, the one that lies and perhaps steals or tells stories of sexual exploits at a young age to gain peer respect and awe is maybe a lost soul seeking love and acceptance in a place of uncertainty. As I have always said to my own children, Take your shoes off and step into their lives for a moment….don’t just judge from the outside..
Rest now beautiful girl, be at peace in a better place that isn’t heavy on your heart. Know that you are eternally loved and know that your death is not the end but the beginning of incremental change in the way we all think.
To the family of this now angel, know that the fog will stay for a while but eventually it will lift and the memories made in moments will make you smile again.
Before that last breath my friends
Smile, Breath deep and be so grateful xx
So I suppose that there is a number of people questioning what it is that we can all do to live our truth.
There is so much advice passed down to us now, through facebook and parents, friends and books. The reality is that we all have to live our own truth. We all have to take a portion of the things we hear and see and collectively create a path for ourselves with it.
So in living my truth, I made a conscience decision to embrace and own the mistakes in my past and move forward with honesty on a daily basis. I think a lot of our life is sugar coated and we each think and feel independently about the individual goings on that occur.
For example I have heard a lot of differing conversations over the holiday period, I have had the opportunity to sit in on and listen to many peoples daily lives and past stories, these have each individually affected me, I have an opinion on them, I have thoughts and feelings connected to these interactions and as I have said before once we voice these opinions we cannot take the words back, they cannot be unsaid, so I stay quiet and keep all those collective feelings to myself. Living my truth means that I have to be prepared to stay silent when I most want to speak and it also means that I must sit back and watch while people around me struggle and deal with the fall out from the decisions and choices that they make. That is living my truth. I did not want to be told what my issues were, I did not want to hear what others felt about the decisions I had been making, I personally felt that people should mind their own business, so on that path I have also decided to impart this act of silence on anyone that needs to be told….sometimes you have to be quiet, mind your own .. live within the boundaries of your truth. We too often lend advice only to not abide by it ourselves.
A lot of people talk about the changes they are going to make in 2018, the resolutions and promises that will 90% go by the wayside, if we were all to do the things we most want to do, if we were all to go forward day by day achieving the small things that take us towards our goals, then we would be actively changing everyday.
So live your truth, if that means that smoking is really affecting you and you need to stop…STOP
If that love of potato chips is leading towards an overweight and unfit end, stop eating them
IF you want to join a gym and get fitter….get to the gym and sign up
You want to learn more this year, don’t hesitate …get on the computer or make a call and enrol in classes.
The journey of 1000 miles…begins with just one step, so take the step in the right direction towards your dreams.
Sounds almost too simple, but really we all know we have daily actions that are a necessity, so we should make the fulfillment of our dreams a daily necessity.
When I was younger , one off hand comment stayed with me even till today….
Do you want to get to the end of your life and think …. I wish I had?? Or do you want to get there and smile remembering the journey
Smile and Breath Deeply everyone…take that step
Live your truth.
Writing a little bit about life everyday is a great way to release your thoughts. I have kept a diary for many years and whilst it has been some 10 years since this diligence halted, I have always had a strong desire to pen the thoughts in my mind, that blank page deal is still appealing to me.
So my thoughts for today circle around those that are alone, after watching a SBS program on an elderly lady that had died some 6 months prior and had not been found, left alone she had actually decomposed to such a degree that the milk in the fridge was the easiest way to estimate time deceased.
I never want to be that lady. I never want to be so alone that I die and no one notices. While I am no longer afraid of death itself, I really loath that awful feeling of loneliness, that day on day emptiness, it erodes every corner of your mind and the desolation is all encompassing.
So how do we do something to stop this happening, how do we change a society that is determined to become more self absorbed, more involved in Social Media then what is happening next door (unless the gossip of next door is on Facebook)
There has to be a way to reach out to these lonely individuals that no longer feel they have someone, Christmas makes these feelings all the more dire, there are so many sad people, and the saddest thing still is that they become so used to the routine of their life that they actually no longer know how to speak to the neighbors, or involve themselves in the community in which they live. They isolate themselves eventually and then the habit becomes a cage for the remainder of their lives.
We need a new initiative, release from the guilded cage or something of the like, to help those that have forgotten how to help themselves, a safe place where they do not need to feel like they may become a victim of scams or treated like a no body.
I have broached the idea of a teenage cafe in Warwick, a place for the youth to hang out in an environment that is inviting to them. A place to display their art, use their musical talent to perform at open mic events. Read in quiet corners or do live skits, whatever it is that they feel comfortable doing but is solely for the younger generation.
This idea along with a safe place for those with no one else are my 2 focal ideas for the future. The two groups that most need our help and most need our attention, respect and appreciation.
How do you approach people and make them feel at ease so that they know you just want to be a friend, how do you break the ice so that they feel comfortable and at ease? That is the next thing I need to look at. Unfortunately I think there is a stigma behind the foundations that help out those in need, it caters for the lower socioeconomic group in the community, places like lifeline and st Vincent de Paul are mainly available to those that need financial assistance or clothing and furniture at super cheap prices, the stigma associated does not openly allow for everyday people to feel comfortable in their shops, so if I don’t feel comfortable, how would an elderly person go trying to work out who they could befriend when they feel they have no one, if they cant go to the groups that are there to help, where can they go?
Obviously this is just my conjecture, I have no evidence to base these assumptions on, I just have the perspective from them outside looking in.
I want to ask you all to look around and really see who is around you, who may need help, or a friend or just a kind word in passing. This could very well be the only contact that person has all day, or the only civil communication in a while. I suppose if we all do it there wont be so many people dying alone and not being found until they have all bar faded from the surroundings.
Live your Truth
Smile and Breath Deeply, for this is a beautiful life.
It has been a very busy time for everyone coming into Christmas, teenage parties and crazy work hours. It is a great time of year for me, I love Christmas, it really is a magic time of year. I was at work last week and caught myself smiling widely at the look on the faces of the kids running up to Santa Claus. That innocence is second to none.
I have not been as diligent on my blogs as I have normally tried to be, in an interview today I actually caught myself admitting that I was in a fantastic place in my life, everything was finally going well and I was feeling more apart of the Warwick community which in turn has lessened my anxiety and uncertainty along with my self esteem being quite high now that I am working.
I have laid out the issues that were weighting down my soul, I have put out the feelings towards family and people that I felt hurt me greatly and I have owned my part in these problems and now I am moving forward, like awakening from a nightmare I feel like a balloon free to float away and experience and enjoy my life.
I want to always live my truth. I want to be open and honest with all I meet and in doing so I hope others will do the same.. All my life I repeated the mantra…a problem shared is a problem halved…and I have been fortunate enough to do just that…and it works. From the lowest of lows some months ago to now I am a completely different person.
I have finally reconciled the life I once led and am ready to really enjoy this time ahead.
I want to encourage you all to share your stories, because as I have said before, there are so many people who think they are alone in this world, and the reality is we have a wealth of people who are or have suffered just as we have. Reaching out and sharing a part of yourself can save a life literally. The depth of depression I reached made me question life and this blog has helped beyond imagining.
Merry Christmas to you all
Live your truth
Smile and Breath Deeply xxx