• Shawna Baca

When Your Mind Bullies You.


I remember as a child that we moved a lot. Just about every year I was attending a new school and unfortunately by the time I was in junior high, I had my share of dealing with bullies harassing me. Bullies often prey on the new student; the ones who are vulnerable in their own environment or those that they know how to defend themselves.


By the time I was in high school I had my share of fights. I had to learn how to toughen up and fight back, but what happens if your mind starts to bully you?


It is no surprise that most of you know by now that I suffered from a panic disorder and agoraphobia when I was twenty-one years old. All the insecurities that I had as a child, all the loss of loved ones that were never processed, or the unresolved trauma I had experienced in my childhood, escalated to me becoming this sensitive and often depressed child. I didn’t have a tough bone in my body. I remember suffering my first bout of depression as early as five years old. I felt like I had this void inside of me and by the time I was in junior high, I was tired of making new friends every year only to be leaving them by the next school year. I was tired of moving. I was tired of being the girl that didn’t have a father and had an emotionally unavailable mother.


Life broke me by the time I was three.


When those bullies started to harass me first in elementary school, then in junior high and by high school, I started to buy into their narrative they had inflicted upon me, and I was too young to understand it or how to deal with it. I mean if that many people said all those means things to me and didn’t even know one another, then it must be true right?


I eventually became prey to the bully inside of me, that voice that told me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, and often told me that no one liked me.

I believed those bullies were telling me the truth and now I had become conditioned to build my own narrative and voice inside my head. I no longer needed their voices to tell me how imperfect I was, or how ugly I was, or how no one liked me, or how poor I was.


Over time, those voices became louder. They spiraled so loud that they consumed all the good in me. I was powerless and afraid. The world became a scary place. Many of us have had our share of experience dealing with a mean girl or bully and have handled it in many different ways. Moving was always welcoming until I had a new bully to deal with. Walking away, not being around them, or moving helps overcome them, but if your internal voice bullies you, how do you get away from it?


How do you make it stop?!


There may be many ways to deal with being bullied now, but twenty years ago, I had to learn how to fight back and stand up for myself! I didn’t have Oprah or all these books that therapists have written on how to handle these types of situations.


I had to face those bullies face-to-face. I was afraid at first, but when I faced my bully, you know what happened? Those bullies became cowards nine out of ten times. They lost their power and many of them tried to become my friends afterward. I believe bullies are people who have low self-worth and self-esteem. They are troubled beings that need to feel the power over someone else because they have no control in their own lives and that doesn’t make it right, but that is the place I believe they are coming from. As I matured in my years I found this to be a common denominator in bullies.


Just like the bullies in real life, we must face our internal bullies the same way, and not let it have power over us. We must fight back. The way I overcame my internal bully was step by step. Every time I had a negative thought, I challenged the thought. Then I fought back with words of positivity. When I thought I looked ugly, I dressed all up, make-up and hair and all… then looked in the mirror and said, “No, I am not… I am pretty.” I had a bunch of different affirmations I would say to challenge every negative thought I had. I practiced those positive affirmations daily and overtime my belief system slowly changed.


I was retraining my brain to change the narrative, from insecurities and vulnerabilities all the way back to childhood trauma until one by one, they no longer held any power, until I was left with my final challenge. I would get really upset if I applied for a job and didn’t get it. The voice inside my head told me that I didn’t get it because I didn’t have a college degree and I wasn’t good enough to have that job. I was poor and they don’t give poor people jobs. Although, that wasn’t true, it was a trigger I held onto and gave power to.


So, I went back to school to finish my degree. When I earned my degree and applied for a job and didn’t get it, that voice tried to seep in with the same narrative story to try and break me down – and you know what I did? I didn’t believe the voice any longer. That voice no longer had that power over me, and I knew it was not telling the truth. That voice will try and come at me when I am tired, hunger, angry, or lonely, but I have the tools to ignore it or challenge it, today.


I wish someone had told me how to deal with those bullies back then and there is nothing worst when you are your worst enemy. I will say that it took a long time to overcome this and like anything worth having in life, these life tools were learned the hard way, but you are worth putting the work in for. We all have that inner voice inside us. What is yours telling you? I would never encourage anyone to be in a toxic relationship, so I don’t expect anyone to be in one with themselves.


If this is you, you must do the work, or you will live and be trapped inside the matrix of mental purgatory and we are not meant to suffer—there is light inside all of us and we are perfect in our own unique way! We must believe we are worthy of a happy and functional life so will it be so…

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About the Author

SHAWNA BACA

Shawna Baca is the author of the transformational memoir, "FEAR LESS: Conquering the Demons of Mental Purgatory," and an award winning writer, director, and producer. She was selected by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett from more than 20,000 filmmakers to be part of the 2007 FOX television show, On The Lot.  She received a “Mujeres Destacadas” award by La Opinion newspaper and the City of Los Angeles and was honored at the Latina Symposium in Washington D.C. in recognition of her positive portrayal of Latinos and Hispanics in the media. Shawna has been creating New Media content for corporate clients ever since and has produced a feature documentary. She is currently developing the coming of age feature drama, "Space for Raven," which was a second rounder in the 2020 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, a 2020 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices - Semi-finalist, and a 2020 Script Pipeline Feature Screenplay - Quarter-finalist. 

She was born in Los Angeles where she currently resides, and is Apache, Yaqui, Spanish and French. 

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