“I was a child that grew up in and out of foster care. I fled from domestic violence on a Greyhound bus in the middle of the night, found refuge in hiding places, and scrounged for pennies in alleys to help feed my brothers and sister. I found solace in school. It was one place where I felt safe.
Yes, there were bullies in school, and I encountered my share. A few bloody noses and black eyes, unkind words, the usual taunting and teasing in elementary school, and an attack in the halls of my high school. These incidents did not define me. I simply found ways to distance myself from the bully. Sometimes this meant walking an extra three blocks to avoid the perpetrator or simply taking it while showing no emotion. I suppressed much of my abuse.
I developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This was not due to one incident, but a culmination of many events—much of which was suppressed. With this final incident, I learned a valuable lesson. Your past will eventually surface. It can’t stay bottled up forever. It is best to get help as soon as possible. Events from my childhood were used to try to destroy me. I thought I honed my defensive skills to counter any abuse. You don’t question why you move forward, you just do it to get through the day. Moving forward isn’t easy. It’s not an option, it’s required. In order to truly move forward and cope you need valid professional help.
Thanks to the professionalism of my doctors, I was finally able to release some deeply buried secrets. Their diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and deep depression confirmed that I was not that “crazy bitch,” as defined by the school administration. I certainly wasn’t the person portrayed by their attorney. I wasn’t the “Jack Nicholson character from the Shining” nor a “slut and nut” as they tried to label me. I simply was born into a most unfortunate situation. My deep-seated compassion for children led me into a workplace infested with abusers and bullies.
My dream was to help others. As an educator, I am now being guided to help adults that are abused and bullied. Ugly childhood experiences have led me down a different path than most. Many victims feel that they must remain silent and that silence will stop the abuse. It doesn’t. Silence does not bring peace, but only feeds the abuser and allows him or her to continue to bully others. My initial goal is to make sure these victims get the word out. My final goal is to make this an unnecessary task.”
Lorna Stremcha is the author of, Lose the Baggage, Lose the Weight…a woman-to-woman recipe for life, Bravery, Bullies, & Blowhards: Lessons Learned In A Montana Classroom, an award-winning educator and coach, an advocate against school and workplace bullying, a listed speaker for Bullying Police USA and one of the first thirteen individuals to co-author the healthy workplace bullying act in the United States. Today, Lorna shares her life lessons with others in hopes of helping them live a healthier life after bullying and sexual harassment. She is currently working with young adults she taught. After all mentoring is the name of the game. Plan! Love! Live!