“I’ve decided to tell you about my never ending story,” reads a card in Canadian teen Amanda Todd’s hand in a soundless black and white YouTube video.
I remember watching this video years ago, feeling a chill come over me as I read the words written by Amanda in black marker on the cards she holds up to the camera. Half her face is out of the shot, but as the story progresses, you can still see the overwhelming sadness she felt while retelling her tragic story.
Amanda was a victim of horrific bullying by peers who taunted and threatened her ceaselessly, until last Wednesday, when she killed herself in her home in Coquitlam, by Vancouver. She was only 15.
Her famous YouTube video has resurfaced since her suicide. In it, she tells us her story of the horrible hatred she faced as her teen years progressed. After watching it, it’s clear to see why Amanda felt such utter despair. She couldn’t handle the awful pain caused by the abuse she suffered from cruel teens. And I doubt anyone could.
“In 7th grade, I would go with friends on webcam,” reads a card that she holds up. “They wanted me to flash…so I did.”
The guy who Amanda was video chatting with found her on Facebook and sent her a message. “It said if you don’t put on a show for me I will send your boobs,” a card reads. “He knew my address, school, relatives, friends, family names.”
During Christmas break of that year, the police came to Amanda’s door at 4 in the morning. They told her the photo was “sent to everyone.”
“I then got really sick and got anxiety, major depression, and panic disorder [sic].”
Amanda moved schools and made new friends, but got into drugs and alcohol. Her anxiety got worse and she “couldn’t go out.” Then, “A year past and the guy came back with my new list of friends and school. But made a Facebook page. My boobs were his profile pic [sic].”
Amanda said that she once again lost all her new friends and respect. People judged her and called her names. She started cutting herself.
“I can never get that photo back. It’s out there forever,” she wrote.
Again, Amanda moved schools, and began texting an “old guy friend” a month later. He told her he liked her, despite the fact that he had a girlfriend. One day, he invited Amanda over, telling her that his girlfriend was on vacation.
“So I did…huge mistake,” reads one card. At this point of the video, Amanda is wiping a tear away while holding a card that reads, “I thought he liked me.”
The boy’s girlfriend, with him and “15 others,” approached Amanda and began to scream at her “in front of my new school.” The girl told Amanda that no one liked her, and then began viciously beating her.
“Kids filmed it. I was left all alone on the ground. Teachers ran over, but I just went and laid in a ditch.”
Amanda’s father found her and took her home, where Amanda drank bleach. “I wanted to die so bad,” she wrote. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and the bleach was flushed out of her. But when she got home, she saw on Facebook that someone wrote, “She deserved it. Did you wash the mud out of your hair? I hope she’s dead.”
Amanda didn’t press charges, and instead just moved away again to her mother’s house. “6 months have gone by...people are posting pics of bleach, clorex [sic] and ditches...tagging me.” The cyber bullying continued, with kids posting things like, “I hope she sees this and kills herself.”
Amanda began going to counseling and was prescribed anti-depressants, but then tried overdosing and was hospitalized for two days.
“Everyday I think why am I still here? [sic]” she wrote. “I’m stuck…Whats [sic] left of me now [sic]…nothing stops. I have nobody. I need someone.”
But, Amanda was not alone. Millions are bullied everyday, and 4,600 teens committed suicide in 2010, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the numbers are rising.
If you’re feeling similar to how Amanda felt, there are resources you can use to seek help, such as IMAlive.org, an online crisis network, or call 1-800-SUICIDE (2433), if you’re in the US, UK, Canada, or Singapore.
DISCLAIMER: You can watch Amanda's video in its entirety here, but be aware that it's a very tragic story.