[Cross-posted from FA because this is important to me.]
There was a time when my dad got fed up with his job and decided to begin his own medical distribution company. It was around the same time I started facing college as well as the workload that came with applications: Housing, becoming my own independent self. With my parents working from a blank slate to produce a completely new business, they were able to spare little time for me, and my work ethic all but disappeared. I turned to video games and my internet buddies to seek the guidance that a college-bound teenager so desperately craves. I sought this accompaniment from furries. Do you have any idea how bad of an idea that was?
I became close to a friend of a friend, a fox in his early twenties who was an able composer and a man whose morals and abilities as an artist I greatly respected. A person who I looked up to. A person who I was intimate with -- we were no strangers to hugging, kissing, and sex. As our relationship deepened, I asked if I could call him my father. Although he seemed hesitant at first, he soon embraced the idea, and I was ecstatic to have someone so dear to me consider me important and vice versa. After that, I didn't see him for several days. A week. Worried, I asked our mutual friend what had happened. He told me that my newfound father had ceased all communication with me -- just me -- because our relationship had put far too much stress on him. Devastated, I reached out with tears in my eyes, and shouted through my screen, "Give him back! Give me back my friend! My dad!" I was refused, and soon learned that the fox and our mutual friend had become a dedicated couple. I felt like a dog who was taken out to a picnic and then consequently deserted. You know, like in those Looney Tunes episodes.
It was a downward spiral from there on. I continued to seek out companionship, I suppose to fill the void caused by my parents' constant inattention and loud arguing. I wasn't used to rejection. The furries I'd met up until this point were, for the most part, accepting and open-minded people regarding their relationships with others. I didn't know what it meant to be refused as a friend.
Now an avid member of FA, I sought out people who had simple art styles and who would often draw comics with an intent to amuse. I suppose I was drawn to their ability to convey simple ideas in a way that lots of people could quickly relate to and love. I felt that, as a result, conversation together would be easy. These people, often bombarded by fans perhaps looking for the same level of attention as I, often wanted nothing to do with me, especially once our conversations proved that I had nothing stimulating to offer for their time. They told me to leave them be, and then resorted to blocking me from websites and messengers. Intent that I could somehow turn their opinions around, I proceeded to build a horrible reputation as a stalker, messaging people from multiple accounts. Words of my actions spread, and people who I'd never even met or talked to prior suddenly added me to their block lists preemptively. I felt more dejected and lonely than I ever had before. Fearing only ostracization from my parents had I attempted to explain my position, I continued my unfortunate habits, compounded by experimentation with new and mostly ineffective medications for depression & anxiety.
Now, popular artists in a fanbase such as this often have close followers. Ones who desire praise and affection like I did, but exacting alternative methods to try and achieve them. Unprovoked, they would message me and tell me how awful of a person I was. They told me to "stay away from their favorite artist!" "Stay away from this website! "Stay away from the fandom!" "Go away and die already!" I become expectant that people whom I'd never met before hated me. I was suspicious of everyone. To feel so cold, so dejected, there was no worse feeling in the world to me. I cried often during this time.
Over years of time, I've made up with a number of people who I didn't get along with. But to this day, I still have nightmares of friends that I have now and friends that I had before screaming at me. Telling me that I'm worthless. I often wake up in the morning sad, lonely, and wanting to be by myself. My brain tells me to avoid life. I do my best to tell it to go fuck itself. Bullying has hurt me more than you could ever imagine. If I have hurt anybody else who didn't warrant it, then I dearly and deeply apologize to them. No human being with worth deserves that sort of disrespect from anybody else.