Apparently this week is anti-bullying week, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon a bit and post my thoughts.
You might not think it to look at me in this photo from my last day at Winstanley Primary School, but by this time I had been bullied for at least three years. I was (though no-one spotted it at the time) suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harming. Not to mention that I’d already begun to have problems with compulsive, anti-social behaviours.
All of that, I say just to put into context the hell that I was living through at the time.
My life since then has been a living, walking, talking example of the harm that childhood bullying can do. From struggling to hold down a job, through ongoing mental health difficulties to finally ending up in trouble with the police; having been bullied as a kid is part (and let’s not make too big a deal of this – only a part) of the reason that all of these things happened.
Do I blame anyone? No. Well, only myself for not speaking up about what I was going through and asking for help when I needed it. Kids will be kids, and I for one don’t believe that we can ever do away with bullying – we just need to get better at dealing with it.
I also wouldn’t ever change anything that has happened to me. There’s an old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I think that’s true. Going through everything that I have has made me a better, stronger, more caring person that I would have been otherwise. It’s given me the self-resilience to deal with the challenging times in life, and the drive to want to help others who are finding things tough – for whatever reason.
Yes, bullying is wrong. Yes, I wouldn’t want anyone to have to live through what I did. But it’s part of my life, part of who I am. And in a strange way, I’m grateful for the things it’s given me.