In primary school I was often teased and left out.
I guess I was a late bloomer so I was more clueless than most of the other kids. I found it really hard to make friends and would usually be lost in group settings.
Other kids would find me strange or antisocial and exclude me from their circles. That led to me being alone often. Thus I had a low self-esteem of who I was and what I was worth.
In secondary school, things got more physical. I was smaller than most people when I entered secondary one and also had a very passive nature.
I was physically pushed around and bullied by a few of the bigger kids, whether it was for money or just to push me around, I’m still not sure.
But I was an easy “target” since people had already started calling me names. I thought it didn’t really affect me that much, but I didn’t realise these words stuck in my head even after I finished my secondary school education.
My friends – or those I considered my friends – would tease me about how I’m dumber or uglier than my sibling, or how I don’t have any talent.
They may have said such things as a “joke”, but every word seeped in and hurt me deeply, no matter how hard I tried to ignore them and tell myself it’s not true.
I felt small, lousy and completely insignificant – like anything and everything I did didn’t matter. I always thought I was alone and that without anyone to rely on, I should just cease to exist.
I didn’t know it then, but the words spoken to me and the experiences I had gone through had made me very insecure and conscious of what others thought about me.
And thus, my mental health slowly deteriorated without me even realising.
I thought that I was all alone in this fight and that no one loved me.
By the time I went into junior college (JC), I reached my lowest point. I was struggling with school and work especially since I have dyslexia.
My attendance rate in school was extremely low and I had no motivation to wake up.
I would often lock myself up in my toilet to cry and I wouldn’t be able to sleep due to the dark thoughts and lies that shrouded my mind, which often meant I would cry myself to sleep.
I thought that I was all alone in this fight and that no one loved me. This would go on for another two years.
CLIMBING OUT WITH COMMUNITY
When loved ones around me found out that I was being bullied, they all came to support me. I had my family, mentor and a close group of friends who walked me through this journey.
They were the ones who pulled me out of the pit. They never left my side and helped me with studies, faith and just simply getting through each day.
They would sit by me as I studied. They worshipped with me during my free time when I felt down. They would pray together with me, reminding me who is really in control and what really matters.
And when I was on my own, I began to realise the importance of the Bible. I filled my day with verses of hope like Jeremiah 29:11, and would worship in my room with just my guitar every day.
The song “Sovereign Over Us” by Micheal W. Smith was one that I held close to my heart. It really helped me to trust God even when I found it hard to.
After I did so, I always found myself more at peace. I wasn’t drowned by my thoughts anymore.
Of course, there were many days where I had absolutely no mood to do any of these things.
But that’s when my mentor and family forced me to take my guitar out and worship. I am thankful they urged me to, because somehow the heavy cloud of darkness would pass in worship.
Worship sessions like these were when I realised that I had a passion for music and singing.
On nights when I felt down, I would take my guitar out and start jamming. My emotions would flow into the music and I would pen lyrics down that made me realise that was how I actually was feeling at that moment.
Somehow, the heavy cloud of darkness would pass in worship.
That was how my song “Calefare” came about. I wrote it randomly one night when I was crying, and had an idea to write about why I was feeling that way.
But I tucked the song away in my memos before it was finished. Then some time after JC, I found that memo in my phone again. I had forgotten all about it!
I continued writing the song from where I had left off, and that is why the song features a progression from how my mind was before and after I faced depressive thoughts.
CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST
Now, even though I still do occasionally get made fun of, it does not affect me as much as it did in the past.
That’s because I know I am a child of God. My confidence in my identity in Christ helps ground my mind and shut down lies as they come.
That is why the things that people say or think of me don’t affect me as much as it did before – they don’t paralyse me for days like before.
Of course, I’m not a robot. Some words and teasing still do affect me emotionally. But now when I feel down, I get back up a lot quicker!
Looking back on the last five or six years I’ve gone through, I do feel a bit bitter about how it went down.
But I absolutely do not regret any of it, as the whole situation brought me so much closer to God. That is something I will not trade for anything else.
Looking forward, I know that there are many more obstacles to come. But I know that if I stay close to Jesus and trust in Him it will be alright!
For anyone who’s going through something like I did or struggling with negative thoughts, keep your mind on God whether it’s through the Word, songs of worship or in the form of art.
Keep your mind on Him, because He won’t fail you.
Calefare is now available to stream on Spotify.
- Why do you think a person might bully someone?
- What does the Bible say about taking advantage of people or putting them down?
- Do you know someone who’s facing bullying? How you can be there for him or her this week?