What Is “A Ladder In The Dark”?

I am happy to announce that, after eight years of blogging about the long-term effects of bullying, doing countless speeches to groups on the subject, and fighting for the issue to be recognized, that I am adding author to the mix of learning. Ironically a new study in England shows that bullying does have a correlation to adult depression. I don’t call this good news, but just news that we needed to hear. Hopefully it will lead to further change.

But first, I am getting set to release in book Paperback and eBook format my book titled “A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance”. For long-term readers of this website, this book is not a surprise as I mentioned it at the beginning of the year.

So what is “A Ladder In The Dark” and why did I title it that?

Good question, the ladder is symbolic for the idea of being in a very dark place, which seems to  have no escape, because it’s too dark to see. But for me, there was a ladder in this dark hole that I call anxiety and depression from youth bullying, but I couldn’t see it to escape. The book is about my journey of how I got to this hole and how I did finally find the way out. The book is a biography of what I went through and how I finally found my self-esteem years after the end of bullying, dealing with anxiety, and a dark depression.

For those interested, you can read and review the first chapter of “A Ladder In the Dark” at the Createspace site. I also have a video commercial for the book so you can learn more. I will announce here when it is released, planned for July 2015. I am very excited to share this announcement with you and look forward to your feedback:

Please share any feedback at the Createspace site or here on the blog site. Also visit my new company website at bullyingrecovery.org to learn about the other ways I am working to help change minds on the subject of the long-term effects of bullying.

~Alan Eisenberg

“Standing By” – A Free Play about Teenage Bullying

Standing ByIn 2010-2011, I ventured into my first official writing project, creating a play about High School bullying with my high school alma mater, W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA and the 2010-2011 Drama 4 class, taught by my good friend, Terri Hobson.

The play called “Standing By” was performed at W.T. Woodson in 2011 to an enthusiastic audience and then was quietly forgotten for a few years. Recently, as I have started my company “Bullying Recovery, LLC” and began writing again, I pulled the play from the mothballs and am now offering it to everyone for free.

It is a 30-minute one-act play that allows discussion afterward and I hope that many High School and performing groups will consider putting it on. It is totally FREE to have as another tool to help teach about bullying.

I am very proud to have collaborated with my old Drama department from years ago and the teens of today to create this piece. To download the FREE copy of the play, you can go to my website page at: http://bullyingrecovery.org/publications/free-standing-by-play-download/

You can also get ebook copies at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545617

I hope you will consider downloading and putting the play on or getting it to your local High School drama department for a production. It was truly a labor of love to create and the authors hope that it can change the way teens think about bullying in High Schools.

~Alan Eisenberg

Bully Incident: The Long and Winding Road

This particular story is one that always sticks in my mind. Someone said to me the other day not to look at this story about how I lost eight days of my life, but how I spent two years avoiding bullies. I’m not sure I agree that life time loss is equal to the time lost trying to avoid bullying. I do try to avoid being sad about this particular story now and see it as a sign of my creative brain trying to work out solutions as a child to complex situations. That does offer me some comfort. ~Alan Eisenberg

Bullying Stories

Dirt PathSome of my past bully stories are right on the top of my head. Many others are buried deep deep down and pop out at interesting times, mainly when some smell or sight triggers them. I was walking down a dirt path in my neighborhood when this one came back to the surface of my mind. This story is less about a bully, but more about the sacrifices I made in my life to cope with the bullies.

Fear is a terrible thing. It grips you and makes you do things that are out of your character or beliefs. We see it all the time in the modern world. I recall how fear made me lose one of the most valuable things in my childhood and in life in general, TIME! We all have to live knowing that each minute of our lives is one minute closer to our deaths…

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The Decision to Leave

I am proud to have guest blogger and author K.P. Gazelle share here writing here on the Bullying Stories site. It is always wonderful to have young adult authors share both their knowledge and wisdom through their words on this site. K.P Gazelle is the author of The Color of Happiness, a contemporary young adult novel. Gazelle has been connected with young adults in some way for as long as she can remember. She’s obsessed with coffee, books, and big dreams. Visit her online at www.kpgazelle.com. ~ Alan Eisenberg

The Decision to Leave
K.P Gazelle

Her puffy eyes and wrinkles stood out even more under the fluorescent lighting. She had to be older than my mom. How could I yell back? And what was she doing in the middle of my classroom shouting at me in front of my students, anyway?

At this workplace, not too long ago, life crept into an unbearable state of unhealthiness. Moments like these were not too uncommon, and I soon found it increasingly harder to get out of bed each morning. I would try motivating myself with pep talks and reminders of how I was touching the lives of young children. But even that can only take me so far.

Adult bullies are trained in their strategies and tactics because they most often have been bullies their entire lives. It’s a lot harder to pin point what an adult is saying or doing to qualify them as a bully, but they’re bullies just the same. And being targeted hurts.

The thing about being bullied, whether as a child or an adult, is that it makes you doubt your self-worth, plummets your self-esteem, and makes you question the reason for your existence. Sometimes, it breaks your soul.

But what’s important to remember is that the bully is the one with the problem, not you. And that your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

I suffered for two long years, during which I exhausted every resource I had to improve matters. My complaints fell on the deaf ears of our human resource department; my director turned a blind eye.

I was alone.

I knew I had to leave, but how could I just walk away? How could I leave after giving so much of myself to the students and school over the years? How would I continue to support my family? And my identity as a teacher—what would I do with my life?

It took months and months of intense contemplation, consultation, and prayer until I finally found the strength and courage to send in my resignation letter at the end of the school year. A decision for which I can never thank myself enough.

Sometimes, removing yourself from a toxic situation is the greatest service you can do. Because, let’s face it, you are worth much more than any paycheck and above anyone’s abuse.

Honest Cartoons on Tough Subjects

It never ceases to amaze me how many people are involved in the struggle to end bullying. While I feel it can never truly end as I see it as a human nature problem, how we discuss and view it does need to change. I was recently contacted by a few artists that are working on cartoon drawings to sell on tough subjects, to include bullying, divorce, and death.

We all deal with struggles and sometimes it is hard to keep a perspective on what we are going through. The cartoons that these two women are creating help us to understand and deal with the long-term effects that these issues have.

Stephanie Piro and Kelly Kamowski have been cartoonists and mothers for over 25 years. They create compassionate cartoons about difficult subjects such as bullying, divorce, and death from child and adult perspectives. The intent is to show people they are not alone in what they are dealing with.

They sell the cartoons for a minimal amount for use on blogs, websites, and in publications. Please contact Kelly if you are interested in purchasing a cartoon — kellykamow95@gmail.com Below is a sample of one of their bullying cartoons. To view their divorce and death cartoons go to www.kamowski.com/divorce and www.kamowski.com/death

Bullying Cartoon

Bully Incident – The Rocket Ship

As I think back and revisit these stories, I can see how I would be labelled the “Strong Sensitive Boy”. Sensitivity is not a trait that men are “supposed” to have. It doesn’t justify the bullying, but makes me understand further how I was targeted, due to this personality type ~Alan Eisenberg

Bullying Stories

There were many more minor incidents with Bob after the last story I told. You probably have a good idea of how the story goes. Not all of the incidents were big, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt. I would get pushed or they would just call me “iceberg” on the playground. I was mostly in avoiding mode and trying not to get in their way. Remember, Mom told me, “don’t fight back” and I didn’t.

It was hard to avoid the kids at recess. There were too many places to hide or corners to go around and I really loved playing with friends. But, I remember one day I was with my friend Jonathan on a metal climbing piece of equipment that was shaped like a rocket ship. It was cool looking and at age 9, we could come up with all sorts of adventures we could have…

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Bully Incident: The Wooden Deck (1976)

It’s interesting to me to retell this story about my early run-in with Bob, who I would contact over 30 years later to discuss this and other incidents from my memories of being bullied. The most interesting part to me is that, as I talked more to Bob, he could not recall these stories or bullying me. While my memory is vivid, just the other day, he told me that, not only does he not recall this, his friends tell him he was always the one who would stick up for the bullying victim and didn’t like bullying. I thought that so interesting as I believe he may have both blocked my stories and maybe some of his early youth from his own life. I don’t doubt his belief as we all see things differently and quite possibly, Bob in later years, was the guy who stuck up for those being bullied. It may have just been a case of him changing his ways. ~Alan Eisenberg

Bullying Stories

The long road of constant bullying for me started in Spring of 1976 at Franklin Elementary School in Lexington, MA when I was about 8 years old.  I wasn’t a big kid and enjoyed being a bit of a dramatist and performer. I don’t recall not having friends, and always had someone to play with at the playground.

Our playground at Franklin was quite large for an elementary school and covered 3 sides of the school grounds. I recall there being adult teachers outside with us, but they were always chatting together on the steps.

Toward the back of the school yard, there was a very large wooden deck structure with multiple platforms to play on and a pole you could repel down. My friends and I loved to play on that and run around on it. It was in the back of the play yard in a wooded are.

One day…

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