Bullying is something that can have lifelong impacts - as this heartbreaking story proves...
Many of us have wished we could get into the minds of our high school bully.
And try to understand why they do the things they do.
But for one woman this was a reality.
She managed to track down her high school bully and had a truly poignant interaction.
Now, of course, from school to social media, bullying exists everywhere.
via: ShutterstockIn fact, 1 in 5 American children aged twelve to eighteen experience bullying at school every year, according to the US Department of Education.
The statistics are truly horrifying...
via: ShutterstockAnd often, there are mixed opinions on how exactly to deal with bullies.
Many think schools don't do enough and should have stricter punishments in place...
via: ShutterstockWhile others advocate for the classic "fight back" method. Either way, there's no denying how big of an issue bullying is, and preventing it should be a top priority.
But it seems that one woman had a unique response to bullying.
Years later, she's managed to reach out ...
Simone Ellin shared her incredible story.
"I won't argue that my mental health issues stem only from the bullying I encountered in school, but those experiences ― and my lifelong shyness, hypersensitivity and self-consciousness, which made me a perfect target for bullying and exclusion ― have had a lasting effect on me," she begins.
"Sometimes individuals bully others because someone is bullying them. That was certainly the case with one former classmate I contacted who had relentlessly tormented me during middle school."
"At first, she was reluctant to talk to me. She ignored my initial Facebook message but when I followed up, she wrote back, 'Simone, hope all is well with you. It's a little hard for me to participate in this. I was not always nice to you. I am so sorry for that.'"
"'I swear I'm not a bad person. I think about what I did to you all the time. I don't know why I chose you. I had a miserable home life.'"
This gave Simone a whole new perspective - and finally allowed her to heal.
"She revealed some of the trauma she'd been through and, though I might have guessed that my classmate came from a troubled background, hearing it from her own lips made all the difference. I was finally able to forgive her, and (I hope) to help her to forgive herself."
"My conversations with some of my classmates confirmed that many of the girls who appeared to have their lives together ― and even be thriving ― struggled just like the rest of us."
"This project has finally given me the opportunity to forgive the women who rejected and tormented me."
"After decades of hurt and resentment, I now see them as they were — young girls experiencing their own trials and tribulations, some common to many of us, others more painful than I can imagine."
Wow. This speaks volumes.
Keep scrolling for more...