She thought about committing suicide. Her mother brought her to the emergency department at one point. I didn’t think she was truly suicidal, she just appeared desperate. I encouraged her not to let these bullies get in her head. By reacting to their taunts, she was only giving them power. Instead of being hospitalized, she was referred for counseling.
The overweight suicidal 14-year-old boy was a similar story. He was a lineman on the junior high school football team. Because of his weight, he was also the butt of his teammates’ jokes. When he entered the lunchroom, teammates would yell “Hide your lunch, Devin’s coming!” If he missed a block during a game, teammates would tell them that he probably wouldn’t have missed the block if he “wasn’t so fat.” He was seeing a counselor, but counseling wasn’t enough to overcome the constant taunting. The final straw came when a family member died and Devin left school early on Thursday to go to the funeral.
We watched as the triage nurse led him to the designated psych room. He trudged slowly down the hallway with his head hung low. When I spoke to him and his mother, he was calm, but obviously depressed. He didn’t feel suicidal, but just wanted a long weekend away from school so people might forget about what had happened to him in class the day before. Tears streamed down his face.
The emergency department was busy, but I took a few extra minutes to just sit down and talk with him. I gave him the same advice that I gave to that other junior high student many years ago. You can’t let these dummies get into your head. If they don’t get a reaction from you, eventually they will leave you alone.
Find someone you trust and can confide in whether it is a teacher, coach, a pastor or another classmate. Don’t go through this alone. Your parents will always be there for you – don’t be afraid to talk to them. You將要贏過了這個和你將要比那些惡霸更好。你有很多期待在生活中。我不確定我的小Pep談論是否有很多幫助，但至少他似乎聽到了。
I left the room to go see another patient as we waited for a social worker evaluation. While I was reviewing the next patient’s medical history, I got a text message from my oldest daughter. “When you have a second to breathe, give me a call!”
She said that the line at the drive-up window was longer than usual that day. In her rear-view mirror, she watched the person in the car behind her become frustrated, yelling, waving his hands, and banging on his steering wheel. She laughed a little bit, but then thought she would “brighten his day,” so she paid for his cup of coffee before driving off. I don’t know what I did to raise such an awesome kid.
I called her to find out the good news. She was chosen to be a judge for an upcoming seminar for the first-year law students. Only a few students got that honor.
“Congratulations, honey. I’m proud of you.”
“What’s wrong,” she asked, “I can hear it in your voice. Did someone die?”
Then I decided to take a few more minutes to tell them about that patient from long ago who was relentlessly bullied in junior high school in the same way he was being bullied now. I told him how she found a teacher that helped her work through it. I told him how she went on to do well in high school, did better in college, and how she just got elected to be a judge in an upcoming seminar for first year law students at her law school.
The “proud papa” bit is just icing on the cake.