February 14th 1992, I came into this world, unknown of the journey I’d take to get to where I am today.
This week is Anti-Bullying week and with 2 collaborations, a guest blogger and a special stand up post, I want to start the week with my personal story.
Looking like Peter Crouch at school and being in the ‘nerd group’ , bullies looked at me as a target. Throughout my first days in Reception and ending up in Emergency due to a physical attack, to being close to seeing my family taken away from me due to a low school attendance; my journey to standing up against bullies hasn’t all been the greatest period of time.
We all have a story to tell and many are not easy to tell, and where I’m now excelling in my field, my bullies are in and out of prison.
I’m writing from the heart today and I never find it easy to restart the mind-set all over again; I was close to tears having to remember it all.
My bullying experiences all lie in mental bullying, focusing on wiping my mind of all thing positive. I was a high achiever in school, involved in many sports clubs, yet I hated it.
I’d be scared the moment I walked out of my front door and scared for the rest of the day at school until I was back home. Yep straight after school. In secondary school, when my bullying was at its worst, I ran home most days to avoid the humiliation of verbal abuse. I only lived 5 minutes from school and yet it felt like I lived miles away.
The school bell would ring and the anticipation for my teacher telling me I can leave couldn’t be more real. My bullies lived around the corner from me, causing me to be a recluse in my own home, barely having contact with my friends and finding comfort in video games.
My mental state would see me staying at home, missing school to avoid the bullies and the teachers would make me feel so small. You heard right! Even my own teachers made me feel small, with a finger constantly pointing at me to answer questions, choosing me to be the class volunteer and constantly judging me for my time off.
Did they know I was off due to being bullied or were they making me feel vulnerable at times I needed support?
I felt like there was no-one to turn to at the time, and didn’t want my friends to look at me any different because I felt alone. These friends didn’t know the truth until 4 years after leaving school.
I constantly think what would have happened? What would have happened if I reached out to my friends? My teachers? Even my family?
My family knew a bit about what was going on, but one day the council arrived at my door. I had put my family into a situation of despair, with the news I would be taken away if things didn’t change.
The kick in the teeth was hard to stomach. I was in a situation where I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and reach out.
If I was going to overcome the daily routine of being scared, I’d have to talk. Talking wasn’t something I liked doing at school and when I did, I instantly felt different. I felt better by sharing my thoughts, but I didn’t feel like the same person.
Having different treatment to my friends; not having to go to class and working alone, staying behind when everyone were on trips to catch-up with my work and worst of all… I asked for this.
I agreed with my school to be treated differently, because this would be the only way I’d get through my school day. Well that was my thought anyway.
This change happened in Year 11. It took me years to speak up about how I felt and I regret not speaking up earlier.
If you’re reading this and you’re being bullied either at school, university or you’re being bullied at work, speak up.
We tend to think speaking up is the hardest part of dealing with tough times, but going through it is much worse.
Don’t make the same mistake I made and leave it too late.
Reach out to someone today and take the first steps in taking back control of your life.