This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.
There are many things in life that can have a negative impact on our mental health. There are all sorts of trauma that we can go through. One thing that has impacted negatively on my mental health is bullying. Bullying is something many people experience and it can have a lasting impact on those it touches. Bullying is not the only reason behind my illnesses but it has had a major impact, therefore I thought I would detail my experience and show that you are not alone if you have experienced or are experiencing bullying.
The first time I was bullied was in primary school. A boy in the year below me decided he didn’t like me so started by calling me names. These names were hurtful and stick with me today, over fifteen years after the event. The name calling soon escalated until eventually he hit me hard. That’s when I had to tell someone what was going on. He was dealt with and it did stop him from attacking me further. Then I went to secondary school…
At secondary school things were OK for the first couple of years. Then a group of people in my French class started picking on me. It was a mixed group of boys and girls. It started off with masking commented about me. French lessons became hellish. I couldn’t walk into the classroom without some comment. No teacher picked it up as we had a run of stand in teachers and I was much too scared to take it further and tell someone what was happening. My mental health was already suffering at this stage and I was self harming. The bullying made this worse.
Then the bullying got worse and I started to be followed on my way home by the group from my French class and some older children from different year groups. The comments increased and I was threatened with physical violence. Life started to feel not worth living and I was self harming more than ever, but still I didn’t talk. I thought it would make things worse. I hated school. I didn’t want to go. The bullying continued over years.
The bullying continued to get worse. I dropped French classes but the bullying continued in other lessons. I found a new way to walk home but was always looking over my shoulder. I felt isolated. Then as I was nearing the end of my schooling, I had the worst comment I had to hear, “why don’t you go and kill yourself?” Suddenly in my head I felt like I had an answer to all my problems. I would end my life.
I made an attempt on my life. I was unsuccessful, obviously, and managed to hide it. I just made myself unwell. But it could have been so much worse.
While bullying was not the only reason for my attempt on my life, it did play a massive role. People’s words and actions towards me could have left me dead. Bullying is serious and needs to be treated seriously and not as something that we accept as part of growing up. If you are being bullied please talk to someone. Talking will help and that person can hopefully help you find a solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re being bullied at school or at work. It is not acceptable. For more information on bullying check out bullying.co.uk or anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk.