Her YouTube video started out innocently enough. The Canadian teen, her face obscured from the camera, held a stack of cards each filled with messages in black marker.
“I’ve decided to tell you about my never ending story,” the card in Amanda Todd’s hands read.
At this point the viewer may have no idea that they are about to be led on the most agonizing journey, one that pushed the premier of British Columbia to issue a stern warning against bullying, a journey that has birthed a Facebook page with thousands of people commenting many offering condolences.
In the soundless, black and white video, the teen showed one card after another. Each card painfully sinking the viewer deeper into the anguish too many teens have experienced.
“In 7th grade I would go with friends on webcam,” the card in the teen’s hand read.
The next few cards reveal that the teen began to get attention on the Internet from people that she did not know. People who told her she was beautiful, stunning, perfect.
“They wanted me to flash. So I did one year later,” the cards said.
The teen then got a message on Facebook from a stranger who said she needed to show more of herself or he would publish the topless pictures he had taken of her.
“He knew my address, school, relatives, friends, family, names …”
On Christmas break, the police came to her home to tell her that photos of her were sent to “everyone.”
She pushed the next card very close to the camera.
“I then got really sick anxiety major depression and panic disorder. I then moved and got into alcohol and drugs.”
She says she struggled with anxiety, rarely went out for a year. And then the same man appeared again with a Facebook page that displayed her topless as his profile picture.
“Cried every night, lost all my friends and respect people had for me … again …”
She was teased and felt as if she could never erase that photo. She started cutting,a form of self-injuring act that psychologists say is an impulse-control behavior that sometimes accompanies a variety of mental illnesses.
At school, she ate lunch alone until she moved to another new school.
“Everything was better even though I sat still alone,” the next card read. “After a month later I started talking to an old guy friend.”
She thought the guy liked her even though she knew he had a girlfriend. One day he asked her to come over because his girlfriend was on vacation.
“So I did … huge mistake … I thought he liked me,” she held the cards in one shaky hand now, using the other to brush under her eye as if wiping away a tear.
A week later the guy’s girlfriend showed up at her school with a posse of 15 others. A crowd gathered. The girlfriend berated her screaming that nobody liked her.
“A guy than (sic) yelled just punch her already …”
She was punched. Thrown on the ground.
“I felt like a joke in this world I thought nobody deserves this,” the next card reads. “Teachers ran over but I just went and layed in a ditch and my dad found me.”
When she got home she drank bleach.
“It killed me inside and I thought I actually was going to die.”
She was rushed to a hospital to flush the chemical out of her.
She put the next card almost flush with camera so that the viewer can no longer see her and only sees “After I got home all I saw on Facebook- She deserved it and did you wash the mud out of your hair? I hope she is dead.”
She moved in with her mother in another city, to another school. But her past followed her.
“6 months has gone by … people are pasting pics of bleach, clorex (sic) and ditches … Everyday I think why am I still here,”
Her struggles with anxiety and cutting had gotten worse and even despite counseling and antidepressants she still was rushed to hospital again after an overdose.
The last cards say simply: “I have nobody. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd.”
The video has garnered the attention of many including the premier of British Colombia, Christy Clark.
“No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it. No one asks for it. It is not a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop. Every child has to feel safe at school,” Clark said in a You Tube video posted Thursday.
On Wednesday, Amanda Todd’s body was found in her home, police in the Vancouver-area city of Coquitlam said. She took her own life.
She was 15.