“I just feel what she must have felt. It’s too sad. I understand why she killed herself. I felt that sad before too, when I was bullied……But I just knew I wanted to live; she didn’t!”
Wow, I was struck dumb by my sweet twelve year old girl, tears streaming down her face, her body tense with anxiety, as she said that to me.
We were watching a movie called “The Hours” about three women in different time periods. The first woman was Virginia Woolf, the author of many books including Mrs. Dalloway. The movie parts about her were based on her true story as known from the detailed diaries she kept. Virginia Woolf had a history of depression and possibly was bipolar; she ended her own life by putting stones in her pockets and walking into a river, to drown herself.
We were barely into the movie when my sweet girl had this horrible episode of extreme empathy. At her request, we turned off the movie and talked for a just a little bit before finding something fun and uplifting to watch instead.
It really hit me then how much the bullying really affected her. It was over three years ago now, but she can recall the emotions so vividly. She was sad, she felt lower than low, and she thought about death as an option. Luckily, she had a strong desire to live!
We spent a lot of time working through those feelings years ago when they happened. We focused on building her self-esteem up again and she is such a happy girl now. I guess it shocked me to recall those feelings with her.
Now my sweet girl Hailey says she knows that “Even when life gets sad and you feel like you will never be happy again, you just have to believe that you will. Because you will get happy again – I did! Now I’m like this really happy person. Don’t you think Mom?”
“Yes, Hailey! Yes I think you are a happy person and your ability to empathize with others is a precious gift you will learn to manage in time. You can use it in your art whether it be drawing, painting, writing, baking, or even the artistry of living your life.”