Amanda Todd is Dead.

Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old teenage girl living in Canada.  On September 7, 2012, she posted this video of herself, silently telling the story of her bullying through note cards.


On October 12, 2012, Amanda Todd killed herself.  I'm not repeating her story here, but you can read about it yourself on SourceFed, or just google "Amanda Todd" and pick a story.  What I want to tell you is the story about a friend of mine who also committed suicide.

I first met Traci Birmingham in seventh grade.  We were is almost every class together, including working as assistants in the dean's office.  Traci and I became best friends; she slept over at my house several times.  Then one day, Traci showed me a piece of paper that said, "Sign here if you hate Kay Yoder".  Everyone I knew signed it, including Traci.

I stopped talking to Traci after that; I felt so hurt and confused.  I even stopped attending school; I missed something like 30 out of 45 days.  No one really noticed, though, because I maintained a straight A average despite the absences.

It wasn't until 11th grade that I spoke to Traci again.  We were in the same classes again.  One day, she approached me and apologized for what she did.  For a brief moment I felt like throwing her apology back at her, but I learned that grudges hurt me more than they hurt other people.  So I accepted her apology and we became friends again.  We talked in school, and I remember wishing her happiness after we graduated.

The next time I heard of Traci Birmingham, it was of her death.  She went to Emory University, here in Atlanta, and killed herself at the age of 19.

I grieved for Traci; I knew that she had a horrid home life, there is a reason she always slept over at my house and not the other way around.  I also knew that there was nothing I could do that would have saved her, because I did not know that something was that wrong until it was too late.

But Amanda Todd put out one of the biggest cries for help that I have ever seen, and
NO ONE HELPED HER.  

No one told her that she was valuable, and that what happened will eventually fade from importance.  Or tried to be her friend, or simply listen to her and say, "I understand.".  No one took the time to see, really see Amanda, really see how she was feeling and really see that she was so depressed that she felt like living was harder than dying.

No one told her that living can be harder than dying, but living will be worth the effort as she grows up.

Now, she will never grow up.  But maybe, just maybe, Amanda Todd can still change the world.

Maybe someone will remember Amanda and then reach out to another person in distress.

Maybe someone will remember Amanda and choose the nicer, kinder path over the mean one.

Maybe we as a society will decide to listen to each other a bit more, care a bit more, and support each other.

Otherwise, Amanda Todd will have suffered for nothing.  

Comments

  1. That is so incredibly sad. I remember going through teen angst thinking no one understood me (suicidal thoughts included) but thankfully was never clinically depressed enough to do it. One of my best friends had the same type of feelings but, she had told me, she was too chicken to kill herself. And, no one bullied us either.

    I just recently donated to Out of Darkness fundraiser by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. I hope they will be able to help people like Amanda.

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    Replies
    1. I think that most of us go through teen angst. But luckily most of us survive our teen years.

      I have never heard of Out of the Darkness. Thank you for mentioning this, Teresa. I will look it up.

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    2. I donated through this blog: http://justine-dell.blogspot.com/p/out-of-darkness-suicide-prevention.html . I totally missed the giveaway deadline, but it's such a good cause I donated anyway after the fact. :)

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  2. Hi! I am Traci's younger sister. Occasionally, I will google Traci's name to see if anyone is mentioning her. I remember you. I'm sorry for the hardship Traci caused you. She suffered from chemical imbalances since she was about 10. Unfortunately, things like Prozac were not readily available at the time and we really did not recognize all the signs of chemical imbalance until years after her death. In any case, Traci was not a very nice person in high school. Our home life was not that horrible but her perspective on our home life was pretty horrible. My parents tried to help but were not well equipt. What she did to you was so typical of what she always did to friends. She did lots of horrible things to me too - for no reason. On several occasions she asked me why I had so many friends and she did not. I told her you had to be a good friend to have good friends... she was not a good friend. She did not like herself.

    Traci did make some good friends at Emory. She did get on medication. Still, she tried to kill herself two times before she succeeded. The day she actually ended her life (she was 22 years old), she called a suicide hotline and told them her intentions. In addition, she called her ex-boyfriend. He called the hotline too. However, she called them so often that they did not take her seriously. My parents considered suing the hotline and the school, but they decided against it, as none of us wanted to prolong the horrible pain we were already suffering. Plus, the only outcome would have been to shut down the hotline, and that would not have done anyone any good.

    The fact that Traci was a bully to her friends, should have been a sign that SHE needed some help. I’m sorry you were to one she bullied and I’m sorry Traci did not get the help she needed. We just did not know. Times were different.

    My point is that bullying is NEVER acceptable, and it requires counseling from BOTH sides of the situation. A good kid does not start to bully unless there is something wrong on the inside and the damage done to the victim can he devastating, like the poor girl above.

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  3. I confess that I just saw Amanda Todd’s video, for the first time. I remember this story in the news and I know its the reason a lot of anti-cyber-bullying campaigns have been launched, as well as a lot of No Tolerance on Bullying programs. I purposefully did not watch the video before this. Traci’s suicide is an open wound that never really heals, so videos such as this are things I tend to repel. My husband watched it and told me all about it but seeing this video adds a whole new level of understanding about all that she went through and the 100’s of people that failed her. Its such a tragic story! She really could have gotten help. If ONE person, besides her family whom did seem to be trying, had shown an ounce of compassion to her, she might still be alive. I am glad there are new programs in place to help to stop this kind of thing, but really, what kind of a world do we live in where SO MANY people could be SO CRUEL to such a young and really lovely girl? It is morally repugnant how those kids treated one of their own.

    I can tell you that Traci had a lot of friends and all of her family who were trying hard to help her. In the end, she purposefully fooled everyone into believing that she was doing really well. When, in truth she was hoarding her meds to save it for her fatal dose. A friend of hers went to lunch with her a few days before it happened and he said she was really happy, and seemed to be at peace for the first time. He asked her what had changed and she told him, “Oh my prescription is coming in. That just makes me happy.”

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