To this day, 17-year-old Katlyn (pronounced cat-lynn) can hear her tormenter’s words.
Katlyn, fat-lyn, two-by-four, can’t fit through the kitchen door.
“I got called ‘fat-lyn’ every day in fifth grade,” said Katlyn, who asked that her last name not be used.
By sixth grade, bullies began targeting Katlyn on the Internet. Girls would comment on her MySpace photos, calling her ugly. They’d send her messages calling her names.
She switched schools, only to find new bullies. This time, they targeted her for being attracted to boys and girls.
By eighth grade, Katlyn turned her pain into self-mutilation. She cut herself to relieve stress.
“It built up and it got to be too much, and I tried to kill myself,” she said.
Katlyn’s mother found her and got her help. Katlyn was diagnosed with depression and started taking natural antidepressants and seeing a counselor.
Today, she’s moving forward. Katlyn is on track to graduate from Union High School — her fifth school in three years — a year early. She’s been accepted to two colleges.
Katlyn shared her story with a group of nearly 50 teenagers during a suicide prevention forum Wednesday evening at The Vancouver Clinic in Battle Ground. A couple dozen adults listened to Katlyn’s testimony, several wiping away tears as she spoke.
Nurse practitioner Beth Walton organized the series of three forums; the final forum is March 6. The teens do a majority of the speaking and share information about local resources.
Walton’s own daughter, 16-year-old Meredith Thompson, told the teens about her struggles.
For Meredith, the bullying started in middle school.
“Being a girl, we all know how mean and vicious we can be,” she said.
In high school, the bullying got worse. Someone created a Facebook page to spread lies about Meredith.
“I couldn’t go a day without someone saying something or wanting to fight me,” she said.
Walton noticed her daughter wasn’t her normal, bubbly self and sat Meredith down for a talk. Meredith revealed everything.
She saw a doctor, who diagnosed Meredith with depression.
Now, at Summit View High School, the sophomore is receiving straight As and doing well.
Meredith and Katlyn shared a similar message with their peers.
“You can be so down, but it does come back up,” Meredith said.
“It gets better,” Katlyn said. “I can be the one to say, ‘It got better.’”