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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Bullies (08/09/04)

TITLE: Silent Bullies
By Joanne Malley


While driving on the parkway to my appointment, the very reason for my afternoon ride pushed away any other thoughts. I recollected how I’ve become an expert at fighting off the “bullies” since adolescence.

Those bullies would find every possible way to sneak up and attack me without even making a sound. They had no regard for my physical or emotional well-being, nor did they care about the damaging long-term effects.

They’d leave me to suffer with an uncontrollable nervous stomach, migraine headaches, tremors, nausea, panic, loneliness and many dark days despite the sun that would often shine.

After many years of taunting, I was left to clean up the mess after they trampled on my body, mind and soul. I’ve tried numerous attempts to demolish the enemies, but realized I had to find the right commander in the battle to rid me of their remnants and bring me home safely; one who could also replace the fear with hope.

I finally arrived at the office of Dr. Dennis Lyons. I gently knocked on the door and was greeted by a rather short, well-rounded, bald man. He had a humpty-dumpty sort of look to him. Humpty Dumpty always freaked me out, so I thought of a plan for escape!

Well, here we go again, I thought to myself. Another attempt at ridding myself of the bullies of the past! Would I be able to accomplish this with him? Did he realize the uncanny resemblance he had to the fantasy character? Was he qualified?

I took my focus off of him and settled myself on the very uncomfortable green couch. I have to admit, the broken spring was my second clue to high-tail it outta there fast!

Luckily, a little comfort was found across the room in a serene painting. It was a beautiful beach scene just like I think about when I want to relax. As one psychiatrist told me, “find your “happy place” and dream that you’re there.” The beach was it, but I certainly wasn’t there! With the way my bottom felt from the broken spring, I could’ve sworn I was sitting on that brick wall alongside The Egg Man!

“Now, tell me, dear, when did you notice your problems first arose,” asked Dr. Lyons. He peered above his spectacles that made him look intelligent, despite his uncanny resemblance to the Humpster.

Avoiding his answer, I grumbled to myself knowing I would have to tell my tale again. Realizing he would be the “umpteenth” doctor I’ve seen in my life, I decided to arrive at his office completely prepared. I offered him a typed, very well organized synopsis of my life, with a detailed report outlining all the bullies I’ve encountered. What a pleasure it was to not have to verbally recap everything again.

“Well, I have to say, I’ve never had such a prepared patient,” remarked the man behind the black-rimmed glasses. “You’re going to make my job a lot easier.”

In between his various replies of “uh, huh and “I see,” I thought about my many attempts at emptying my soul to strangers. Of course the professionals had their place, but this visit made me realize this is where my real answers wouldn’t be found.

My ride home brought me back to when I first met each bully. I realized that I’m finally strong enough to fight them off if they dare to creep up behind me to deliver a punch, or trip me up.

Entering the comfort of my home, I’m greeted not by a stranger, but by the husband that God handpicked for me. He has been my rock, the love of my life and my personal guide to the only commander I need. I am also greeted by the comfort of the Lord (my commander-in-chief) who is the head of our family. They both helped me take the “bullies” by the horns!

Through my tears, I sipped my tea. Cammomile’s my tea of choice. It really does soothe the nerves. I settled into my own couch; burgundy in color and very comfortable. The cushions offer a soft, enveloping comfort, just like my husband’s arms as they find their way around me.

My bullies weren’t like bratty Thomas Manning or mean Maggie Culligan. They were the silent antagonizers of clinical depression, anxiety/panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-partum depression.

Each bully had their fun taunting me, but now their fun’s over. I’ve got my commander-in-chief, remember? Look’s like I win!

Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight08/16/04
Excellent take on the theme!
John Hunt08/16/04
It is often the turn of phrase or the clever quip that endears and article to me.

"He peered above his spectacles that made him look intelligent, despite his uncanny resemblance to the Humpster."

I enjoyed your article a lot. A very pleasurable read.

Dian Moore08/16/04
You are SO right about the silent bullies in our lives. Original way of looking at the theme, and I, too, liked the "Humpster."
Dori Knight08/16/04
an encouraging piece. thanks for sharing it!
Mary Elder-Criss08/17/04

I really appreciated your openness and honesty in this piece. I have an older sister that was diagnosed as a maniac depressive, and a niece who suffers from schizophrenia. THere is such stigma attached to suffering from a mental illness..no one would dare make fun of someone if they suffer from cancer or another disease, but it seems to be "open season" on mental illness. I pray that you continue to do well, and that you trust in Him. If professional help is needed, there is no shame, however.

I also just wanted to tell you that this line sent me into gales of laughter, "With the way my bottom felt from the broken spring, I could’ve sworn I was sitting on that brick wall alongside The Egg Man!" So very funny. Thanks for sharing, and may the Lord bless you abundantly. In Him~Mary

Kevin Kindrick08/17/04
Once again you have me in awe at your abilities. Your entries are always fun to read, not to mention uplifting. I have had my own experiences with "bullies" of the sort you described, and I, too, found comfort in the Lord, and in writing down my experiences. Keep it up!

God bless,

Kevin Kindrick
Good take on the subject. I never thought of the hormonal roller coaster ride of depression and anxiety as bullies before. Very creative.

It comforts me to know that i am an even bigger bully (: But I'm a nice bull now(:
L.M. Lee08/21/04
very courageous piece. Our pastor always tells us when the enemy is exposed and we shine the light on his deeds...that robs him of 1/2 his power! sounds like that is exactly what you did!
Deborah Anderson08/22/04
Very interesting take that you made on this story. This could help many people battling the same. Thank you for sharing this well written and touching piece. God bless you.