i was talking to my friends yesterday evening about a whole lot of things and one of those things was our experiences with having unsupervised internet access since a young age. i got my first phone with internet access when i was 10, when i entered 5th grade but i didnt really have any restrictions. i could do pretty much how i pleased.
and when i was in 6th grade, i met this girl who was 15 or 16 at the time.
we met in a groupchat but took it to private messages pretty quickly. one of her first messages to me was a very graphic picture of self harm, but me being a naive 11 year old i didnt see how wrong that was to send to a kid, or anyone for that matter.
we kept talking however and eventually became “friends”. i say “ because it was an extremely unhealthy relationship.
she used me as her therapist and depended on me to stop her from killing herself multiple times. that’s really all there was to our so called “friendship”. i had to talk her down many times, before i eventually lost her number. and i still vividly remember her messaging me that she was about to jump out of a moving train. i can still see the message clear as day before my eyes. i ended up talking her out of it somehow. i lost her number about a year later, i think and we have not talked since but i see her occasionally post on her instagram that i follow with an account i dont actually use anymore.
i can only hope she got the help she needed and that she’s doing better now.
but thinking back on all of that now, it really messed me up even if i wasn’t aware of it at the time and is probably what kickstarted my mental issues. i was 11 - i was a child. and no kid should have ever have to go through the feeling of having someone depend on you with their life. it fucks you up real bad. and even now, at 17, i can still see the picture of those cuts before my eyes. it was definitely traumatising in the long run.
i have never talked about this before, up until very recently and i honestly suppressed it too but got reminded of it again a few months ago when an acquaintance of mine shared something similar although different.
Oh my gosh, that is traumatizing. I’m so sorry you were exposed to that at such a young age. Also having that burden of responsibility on you for talking her down when she was suicidal is way too much for anyone, let alone a child. I do feel for her and my heart goes out to her, though, I can’t imagine the pain she must have been in. She was most certainly not your responsibility though.
I am glad you are opening up about it now, sometimes talking through things helps because you are no longer suppressing something that majorly affected you and internalizing it. If you choose to see a therapist someday, I would bring this up too, especially since you recognize that it kickstarted your own mental health issues.
Thank you for coming here to share, that’s such a huge thing to finally talk about. I hope you feel some relief now that it’s out in the open. We are here for you!
This must have been indeed pretty traumatic for you. The very fact that you remember so clearly how the picture and conversations were really speak for itself. You are so right: no kid (and no human being) should ever have to go through the feeling of having someone depend on them with their life. I’m 29 and have too been early online interacting with others, but it’s especially through moderation activities that I’ve been exposed to things that were graphic and difficult to process. In these situations we can be so much in the heat of the moment that we don’t even have the time to process what we saw, or what is going on. Especially when someone’s life is questioned - our only focus is for them to be safe and healthy.
You’ve had so much pressure put on you at such a young age and I’m so sorry that you’ve been exposed to this. This friend obviously had their own issues ongoing and found in online interactions a way to vent and put their burdens on the shoulders of someone else. They tried to have their needs met, but it was absolutely inappropriate. You were only a child, and no one should ever have to assume a role of savior to someone else. I have no doubt that you’ve done what you could at the time with the means that were available to you.
I’m proud of you for talking about it today, especially since it is the first time. I hope this can be the beginning for you to find some needed peace. It may or may not have played a role in your own mental health, but it’s essential to acknowledge it in both cases.
Thank you for reaching out about this. I have myself processed this kind of stress mostly on my own, and I believe many people online have dealt with this while never being asked for being put in this position. Not mentioning all the people who have developed PTSD and continuously do when they have to moderate content on platforms like social medias. This is a real subject and there’s so much education needed to keep ourselves and our children safe.
Please make sure to keep relying on this community if you would like to discuss about it more, like how it is affecting you/how you feel looking back at all this now. You may not have people around you at the time to listen to you and support you, but you do have now.
That sounds like a horrible thing to go through at such a young age. I cannot imagine how this must have made you feel.
I cannot really give any advice except for opening up about it and talk to someone, like a trusted adult. Suppressing it might just make it worse as you have noticed yourself. I wish you lots of strength for the future and hope you can find your way through this.
Hi Friend, thank you for your post. Goodness that must have been just awful for you. its no wonder that firstly you surpressed it and secondly that now it is playing on your mind. I cannot imagine having to manage someone in that situation now let alone as a child, it was so wrong for someone to put you in that postion although they were clearly not thinking straight. I am so so sorry that it happend to you.
Its crazy how there were no restrictions on those pictures too yes you are right.
I would like to encourage you to talk to someone about all of this if it becomes too upsetting again for you or you find it overwhelming your thoughts too much. You may find that as a bit of time passes and you have got it out here it will slowly go away but just keep in mind some things need to be properly talked out. Again friend I am so sorry that this happend to you and I too hope that, that person found some help and is now living a more peaceful life. Much Love Lisalovesfeathers x
Hi Friend, I’m sorry that you’ve been thru this kind of trauma and I can see how it can effect your mental health. I’m glad that you’ve put two and two together and figured this out. Are you seeing a therapist? They could help you sort this out and teach you some tools to help you cope. Take care! ~Mystrose
hi!! thank you all so much for the kindhearted replies. i don’t have any particular feelings about the whole situation anymore, i think? i’m not sure, i struggle with processing emotions in general. but i do know that the picture is definitely still affecting me to this day. and i can say with certainty that it was my introduction to self harm and, well. although i am 256 days clean at the moment.
i’m not seeing a therapist as of right now, i cannot seem to find one that i click with. all of my previous therapists have not been the best. and there’s only so many therapists available when you don’t live in or near a bigger city, sadly :[
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