The Hornet's Nest

By Alexis Lahorra

At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be sitting in a prosecutor’s office. Scratch that. At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be going to court twice. At the age of twenty-one, I never thought I would be fighting my own cyberbullying case. 

The incidents occurred on social media platforms. I was a target of threats and cyberbullying. When the situation escalated, I sought help from the police and later on, a legal clinic.

I was told that I would be “blowing a hornet’s nest”, if I continued on with my case. Little did I know, that was exactly what would happen. Individuals contacted me virtually, through my phone, and in person, when I decided to speak up.

I was told that my mental health story would make me appear unstable in court. I was told that it would be better to walk away, that closing my laptop would solve the problem, and that, perhaps, I asked for it. 

During this experience, my mental health suffered. Although I could shut off my computer and turn off the WiFi, the threats and words followed me wherever. My home and room, which were my safe spaces, suddenly did not feel so safe anymore. I feared leaving my home and I was in a very dark place. I developed suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety.

After over six months, I fought my case and I must admit, it was just as scary as my battle with mental illness. I dropped half my courses in University and told friends that I was simply trying to "figure things out". But, in reality, I needed to take time off to take care of myself and recover.

The breaking point was the numerous times I contemplated to take my life. It now feels surreal to think that back then, the train station and train tracks seemed to be the best way out of the nightmare I was living. I don't know if I would still be here today without the support from my family, friends, and my psychologist. Today, I can proudly say that I won two battles through this journey. Yes, I did blow a hornet’s nest, but this fight was well worth it.

Although I was going through this experience, I was able to complete an antibullying awareness project, which was a finalist and winner in the category of Mutual Aid, Peace, and Justice for the Forces Avenir 2014 Collegial Award. This project consisted of awareness events, an art installation, and a video featuring a variety of students who were bullied, cyber bullied, who struggled with their mental health, or who knew others who suffered. My hope was to empower and inspire others. I was able to share my story and project to high school students. It was a blessing to find out about, a national network of young leaders transforming the way we think about mental health. I am still involved with the organization; I started a mental health club at my university with my wonderful colleagues ( Concordia), I was trained as a youth mental health public speaker (JACK TALKS Speaker), and I am attending the National Mental Health Summit (Jack Summit) for a third year. Amidst the difficult situations, I found a way to take this experience and turn it into something positive.

About the Author:

My name is Alexis Lahorra. I am 22-years-old and I am a 2nd-year student in Communications and Spanish at Concordia University.

I am the President of Concordia, I am going on my third year attending the Jack Summit, and part of the JACK TALKS Program.

I like to pet my two cats, I like to drink plenty of tea, write in my journal every day, travel, listen to music, and embark on adventurous journeys (most recent adventure: Paragliding in Dominican Republic!)

I speak because I want to let people know that it is okay to not be okay, that recovery is possible, and that everyone sometimes struggles with their mental health. 

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