Statistics show that 1 in 5 children have reported being bullied at least once in their life, which is a huge amount, not even taking into consideration that the majority of young people are afraid to report the harassment.
Like many other people, I dealt with bullying in secondary school. It got so bad that I left school at sixteen to transfer elsewhere to take my A-Levels.
I was a wallflower, excruciatingly shy, spending most of my time alone, making me the perfect target for bullies. At first, I thought nothing of it, feeling slightly embarrassed after being humiliated in front of a large group of my peers, truly believing that they would stop within a few days, Little did I know, it would continue for another four years. Yes. Four years.
From the age of twelve, I was an easy target for the bullies. I didn’t have many friends due to very false accusations of me singling people out and bullying them myself, when I reality I stuck up for people but, sadly, couldn’t stick up for myself. The bullying, unfortunately, didn’t stop at name-calling. I was physically abused by other students, often getting pushed into lockers by boys twice my size just because I was in the way. I had things thrown at me as I passed, and was embarrassed in class almost every day. That was the worst part of it for me, not the isolation, but the embarrassment. It was a mortifying feeling that took over my entire body, making me feel weak and useless. I dislike confrontation, even now, so I never wanted to stoop to their level. I knew there was a lot more behind these people, perhaps issues at home or issues with themselves, so I never wanted to hurt them back.
Just ignore them.
I finally had the courage to tell my parents about the bullying, though not to the full extent, they were well aware something was going on as I’d come home tearful and it was obvious I had very little friends. Their advice was simple, to just ignore them. Just ignore them. Do you know how difficult it is to ignore something when it is right in your face? It’s almost impossible. For those of you who have also experience bullying, I’m sure you were given the same advice. It’s not really advice though, is it? For me, looking back, that statement was subconsciously blaming me for my feelings. It was my fault for being upset and, though I know I should have been a stronger person, don’t tell the victim that they should brush it off, tell the bully to back off.
When the time came to finally leave secondary school, I thought I’d feel relieved, but that’s when reality hit me. I felt angry, becoming a hot-tempered person and snapping at my family. I turned to violence. I didn’t beat people up but I let my aggression out in actions. I kicked my wardrobe door in, dented the washing machine by kicking it, punched walls, threw things, and smashed glasses. I was furious at myself for not fighting back and angry that I was such a coward.
What is wrong with me?
The anger stage passed within a few months, and I began looking for answers. I kept asking myself questions that would never be answered, finally placing the blame on myself. I thought there must be something wrong with me. There was no other logical answer to it.
I reached the point in my life where I became an extremely depression. I was given antidepressants and diagnosed with both depression and anxiety. My whole life, for a whole year, seemed to be in black and white, moving in slow motion. The smiles and the laughs were fake, and there was a constant voice in the back of my mind reminding me that I was a worthless human being. The years of torment finally caught up with me and I was at the lowest point of my life. I was only sixteen years old.
Now I am twenty-years-old. I have overcome a lot of my depression. It occasionally crops up now and then, as I’d expect it would, but I know that I am a strong person and that I’ll be able to get over it when it comes back. I am a much happier person. It took me a long time to get over it but I worked hard. I am a much more confident person with a large group of friends who I adore dearly, parents whom I love, and a little sister who means the world to me. My world is full of colour and laughter, and I have a bright future ahead of me. There will be bumps in the road, but I now have the strength to get over it. I wish I could say that I hold onto no hate for the bullies, but that would be a life. I doubt I’ll ever be able to forgive them for what they did but, at the end of the day, they were kids. Although I wish nothing bad on them, what they did to me was unnecessary and cruel.