From the title, you can obviously assume that I am going to talk about bullying but not just in general but my story. My experience and what I went through. I have thought about writing this post for so long now but bullying is so close to my heart and I think there are still so many open wounds from the bullying that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it through this and be able to speak about my experience. It is something so personal and raw I didn’t think I would be able to share my story. However, I know bullying unfortunately is such a common thing that almost everyone goes through that I wanted to share my story in hope that it will help, inspire or give you advice on how to cope and deal with bullying. If I knew now, what I had known then, I for sure would have dealt with the situation so much better.
Before I start I want to apologise if this isn’t the most coherent piece of writing that I have ever written. Speaking about something so serious and personal can be hard and just leave you with a lot of mixed emotions which don’t really make sense together but that is how I feel. I especially felt it was fitting to write this post this week because it has been mental illness awareness week and mental illnesses again is something I believe so passionately about and wish there was more done to help people. I wish we lived in a society where we could openly discuss how we are feeling without any fear of judgement and we could seek help to look after our minds because it is so important! I am mentioning this because the side effects of bullying can lead to mental illness issues and I just want to be just one of many people to say you are not alone, most people will go through something similar in their life and there are plenty of services to help you. Don’t feel like you are alone.
Bullying… as most of you will know or have experienced, bullying is cruel and vicious. It isolates you and makes you feel so lonely. Even though the bullying stopped about 2 years ago now one person left school, the side effects of what the bullying did to me remain. That’s partly my fault because I never sought help to deal with what I went through but I know the reason I am how I am is because of other reasons and things that happened in my life and I know I need to sort them out and I will, I am just taking it at my own pace. My point is the pain and feelings, thoughts and deluded perceptions of yourself which the bullies make you have just don’t vanish. They just don’t disappear. They stick with you and when people have told you for so long something about yourself, it really does become engrained in you and it’s hard to change your mindset.
Anyway…this is my story. So, the earliest I can remember the bullying starting was when I was around 6/7. I was in my last year at Infant school because for me I went to infant school, a separate junior school and then onto secondary school. Also, I want to point out that names won’t be mentioned throughout this because as much as I hate what they did to me and always will and I know respecting their privacy is the correct thing to do.
Up until this point I had always enjoyed school and was the happiest little girl ever. I enjoyed being at school and participating in class and I had the biggest dreams and ambitions. Some days I couldn’t wait to go to school. That soon got turned upside down. Over the next 10 years of my school life I didn’t share that enthusiasm and dreaded going.
You see in my last year of infant school I had just lost my best friend that I had known forever because her brother and my brother were bests friends so we were always around each other from a young age, but she moved away and my best friend was gone. It was no longer me and her anymore, it was just me. I was now alone. The same year a new girl started at our school and I got asked to make her feel welcome and show her how things were done. We never really got on and safe to say she never liked me. Anyway, the bullying started when this guy in my class started being friends with me because he now noticed I sat on my own at dinner. Anyway, things started off great and we got on so well. I now had a friend to play with at break and lunch time. The other children didn’t see it that way and automatically started making fun of me. The rumours kept spreading until one day this guy no longer wanted to be my friend anymore and just ignored me all day every day. I had lost my friend again. Since he was no longer my friend now though I assumed they would stop saying stuff and spreading rumours but I couldn’t have been more wrong. They didn’t! It just got worse. Now they went from spreading rumours to getting me into trouble in class by blaming things on me that wasn’t fault and they hadn’t done so they didn’t get in trouble. I spent the most part of my last year at infant school very miserable and very lonely, often getting told off for things I hadn’t done and missing out. Safe to say I couldn’t wait for summer!
Summer end and I was so excited to start a new school… or so I thought. That was until I found that those people who had spent the last year of infant school misery for me were my class. I was sure that I was in for another year of hell and I wasn’t wrong. What I didn’t know then though that things weren’t going to get better for some time. Again, I spent most of my time on my own pretending that I didn’t hear the pathetic rumours that were being spread about me, even though I did and they started to bother me. When I was, younger I use to love maths, although my love for maths has certainly faded over the years. It was the only thing I was good at, or so I thought. I didn’t think I was sporty, or musically talented or could write a fantastic story but maths just came naturally to me. Every week we would have a timetables challenge and if you got 100% the following week you would get a harder set of questions. Our teachers use to compete with us to show us how quick we would be able to do them one day. I remember one week I practised so hard, I must have done the sheet at least 100 times at home because I wanted to be the best and that week I ended finishing first, even before the teacher and they were 100% right. At the time I was so happy, now of course I know the teacher probably wasn’t even trying, but at the time it really reassured me that I was good at something. Little did I know I just started something else for the bullies to talk about. Soon I was a ‘nerd’ or a ‘geek’ or a ‘teacher’s pet’ and at the time it was awful. Now you know I don’t mind being called a nerd or a geek, for me it’s great trait, but 7/8-year-old me didn’t feel that way, especially since they were being malicious about it. For the rest of the year, that along with whatever other rumour they felt like spreading was he rest of my first year at junior school.
So, year four came around and I started thinking things would be different. The others were now in the opposite class and we had a girl transfer and I thought this could be my chance to make friends. Luckily for me we did, or so I thought. I now had a friend in the playground and didn’t wander around alone. Things started off great but then she got a boyfriend and the is boy just wasn’t nice and especially wasn’t nice to me. Soon lunches together turned into lunches alone and breaks together turned into breaks alone. I was back where I had started – alone. Then they broke up and then she wanted to be my friend again and naïve me went along with it, until they got back together and dropped me again. This time, her boyfriend and the others turned her against me for good and she hated me for the rest of her time that school until she transferred in year 5. Now they had a group and they made it their mission to make my life hell and they did. They even convinced me (well more accurately pressured me/forced me) into giving myself a ‘chicken scratch’ to then they just used that to get me into trouble my teacher. Year 4 was still no better and I was losing hope.
Year 5 was much of the same the gang v. me. The same rumours the same ‘your fat’, ‘your ugly’, ‘no one likes you’, ‘no one wants to be your friend’ and to make it worse it the seating plan for one of the classes I got seated next to one of the bullies and for tidy time I got partnered with another one of them. I just couldn’t escape. Nothing changed.
Year 6 and my last year at this crappy place before going somewhere new and I couldn’t wait. Nothing really changed except now they started bullying me for my chess club. I had played in chess club since year 3 and always finished top but year 6 I finished top with zero defeats. A perfectly clean record. I was thrilled. Obviously, that was something to use against me. I started puberty at age 11 in year 6 and if they hadn’t made me conscious enough by telling me I was fat and ugly, they sure did when that happened. I am pretty sure I had never felt so uncomfortable in my life so far than when changing for PE and they make remarks about my boobs starting to appear or getting hips and a bum. I definitely hated the way I looked and although I would never cry in front of them they sure did make me cry. I think the worse was when they told this boy that I would go out with him and wanted to kiss him when I really didn’t. I felt so mean and terrible having to tell him the truth and just like they wanted he no longer liked me or wanted to speak to me. It seemed like I couldn’t have any friends.
So that summed up my junior school experience. I am pretty sure I hated every moment of it. I was always alone, never allowed to join in any games with anyone or sit with anyone. A few friends came and went just as quick and I was left feeling rather miserable, lonely and hating the way I looked. The once happy, confident me was nowhere to be seen. She had gone and perhaps gone forever.
So, summer ended and then came around secondary school. I was beyond excited to be going to ‘big school’ as everyone called it and to forget about the miseries of junior school. This was going to be a fresh start. A new place, new people and a new start or at least that is what I had hoped for. In my tutor group, there were a few people from my old school which I knew but we most definitely didn’t get along. For some reason, they hated me and I didn’t know why. Now I must point out I was nervous for starting school. I was scared to be in an environment with lots of people who I didn’t know and who could have potentially judged me and hated me the same as people had done in junior school. Things started off well to be honest. I made some friends and I had people to sit with at lunch and break. I had friends in classes too. Things may have just started to improve. People even had crushes on me and asked me out which I kindly declined because I was interested in guys or those pretend relationships you have at that age. However, because I wasn’t allowed out my friends began to become closer and closer but without me. I was left behind and although occasionally we spoke things weren’t the same. I was lost once more.
Oh, I forgot to mention my childhood best friend came to that school too and it was so nice to see a familiar face but has five years had passed she now had her own friends. It was nice to have someone smile at you in the corridor. Other than being really lonely, there wasn’t any major bullying in year 7. I somehow managed to avoid it and I don’t know how really but I was glad I did. Of course, in the changing rooms I would hide in corner and turn away because I was embarrassed about my body. That never changed. Year 7 wasn’t too bad at all.
Year 8 was a completely different story. This was the first time I had got cyber bullied and I remember feeling so sick and upset when I did. It was awful. Basically, I sat with two girls I had made in my tutor group at tutor time and one them was in my classes so we sat together and we started spending a lot of time together and became close. All of a sudden you began to become distant and sad. She had a lot going off at home and home life wasn’t brilliant. Anyway, one day a member of our year group saw a sonogram posted to her Facebook (it was completely innocent of her cousin or something) but started a rumour that she was pregnant. She told me and I thought she had confided in me because she trusted me and because she was scared. Naturally I told her to speak to our tutor so she could sort it out. However, that was apparently the wrong advice and this infuriated her and she got so mad at me for understanding. Anyway, to get the attention off her she made the rumour up that it was me who had posted this photo and showed everyone to embarrass her and cause all problems. Sure enough, everyone believed her. Everyone now hated me. Everywhere I went, every class I got mean comments and notes from people. Life has just taken a turn for the worst. Little did I know that they were about to get worse. Not only did she start this rumour, she then started cyber bullying to prove to everyone just how mad she was at me. She started texting me loads of horrible messages telling me to ‘f*ck off’ and ‘to die’ and ‘that she didn’t want anything to do with me and I was horrible person who was getting everything I deserved.’ For some reason which I don’t know why, even to this day I tried to apologise and get her to be my friend but these messages kept on coming and I am became so sad. I tried hard to hold it in but one day in class someone said something and that was it. I burst into tears and fled to the toilets. I didn’t return to class until it was lesson change over because I was embarrassed. When I did, waiting there was teacher waiting and three girls. Three girls concerned about me. It was such an uplifting feeling. In the end, I ended up spilling everything and it was so nice to have four people believe me and be on my side. For once I didn’t feel alone. I had proof everything and her admitting that she had caused everything and started the rumour and I had the messages she had sent. The teacher wanted to go to the police but I didn’t. I was scared. I didn’t want my parents knowing, which they don’t and I didn’t want her to end up in trouble. I didn’t go to the police and I didn’t press charges even though people wanted me to. I didn’t. Everyone deserves another chance and everyone makes a mistake. A few weeks later she apologised and I forgave her but I never forgot what it did to me or how it made me feel. We were never the same.
Year 9 remained pretty fine. I stayed away from people after year 8. I thought I was better on my own. I didn’t want to end up in that same situation. I didn’t want to trust people. I distanced myself. It was lonely and sad but it worked. For a year, I survived. I was okay and had no drama to deal with. I was maybe somewhat happy.
Year 10 wasn’t the same. I couldn’t have two good years in a row. That was wishful thinking. Year 10. What a year!! It all started when my crush (I had liked for him years… seriously ages) had broken up with his girlfriend and started talking to me. I was scared. I didn’t want to get close because I didn’t want to get broken or hurt. As time moved on though we grew closer and he said everything I had waited years for someone to say. Turns out she was not happy about the situation and wouldn’t let him move on. She kept talking to him and twisting his mind and manipulating him and before we even got to together we argued all the time. She was there but I thought he had moved on. He hadn’t though. Trust me I didn’t know this when I got with him. Anyway, he promised everything would be okay and we got together. His ex still messaging me and trying to make me break up with him. She was always there. She didn’t move on and leave me alone. From the moment, we I started talking to him until we left in year 11 she made my life living hell. I caught up in something I never wished I had.
I don’t know what I was thinking. All I knew is that I really liked him and I wanted to be with him even though we fell out because of her almost every day. It definitely was toxic to say the least. We did have some good times and he did help me through so much too. She consistently messaged me and made my life hell. She would always send horrible messages to me and talk about me at all school. He stuck up for her and protected her. I guess when you like someone and they have manipulated her then that’s what you would do. A month in he broke up with me to be with her, but he parents didn’t agree and so he got back with me. Again, I didn’t know this until after we split up. I just know I was heartbroken when he did because I thought I loved him even though now I know I didn’t so I got back with him despite the fact that I knew people were going to talk and she was going to be mean. When we were together she would consistently post pictures of when they had been together and put ‘I love you’ or send them to me. Day by day I felt more and more lost.
The next major issues came when I was delivering my dragon’s den pitch speech. Just before I got a phone call saying he had cheated on me with her. I just remember crying in the bathroom for ages even though I needed to go on stage. I delivered my presentation and when I got back to school he tried to talk to me but I wasn’t interested. The next day my neighbour’s son has died. We were close to them. I always remember going back to them after nursery and them giving me a chocolate bar. His death made me realise life was too short to not forgive and for second chances. So, as kind as I thought I was being, in retrospect very stupid. I gave him another chance. About 6 weeks later I found out that he had cheated again with her. I was devastated. I remember leaving ICT and crying and I ended it. I hoped everything would go away but it didn’t. She had convinced him that I was evil and I didn’t care about him and didn’t love him. She lied about me too him and turned him against me and then he said crap about me to.
Once we had broken up they got together but I begged him not to because I knew she was planning on meeting this boy. He didn’t believe me and thought I was being mean and selfish, but I was only looking out for him. Knew what she was like. She had cheated on him so many time before which she made me swear to never to tell him, I did anyway because it right. He didn’t believe me. A couple of days later they got back together and that hurt the most. I felt so much pain. People either want you to feel everything or nothing at all – right now I was feeling everything. My heart broke. I was a mess. I cried and cried and cried for days. Cried to sleep. I didn’t eat properly. I didn’t sleep. It was a proper first crush nightmare. I was confused as to why she hated me and spread so many rumours and turned him against. I was confused as to why he hated me and didn’t believe me. A couple of days later she had already cheated and they were apart. He messaged me to say he wish we had never broken up and in tears I said it was for the best.
That should have been the end of it right? Wrong! She never stopped making my life even when we stopped speaking completely. She created Facebook statuses about me spreading rumours and lies for the whole world to see. She dedicated and askfm page to me where she ridiculed me and post the worst things imaginable. Cyber bullying part 2 had started. He tweeted about me, she messaged me asking me to die and to kill myself. She made it her mission for the next year to make my life hell. As if one wasn’t enough. She sure as hell she did.
Year 11 and the same crap continued. She didn’t stop. It kept going on and on and I was getting very sick and tired of looking on any of my social media and just seeing mean comments. I was getting tired on just constantly receiving hurtful texts. I had hit a low. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse someone who I thought was my friend got with my ex and I pretended like I was cool with it even though I wasn’t until some of my friend overheard her and one her friends speaking in the bathroom saying that he was good for a first kiss and then she would break up with him and it would be make me jealous. I told me what was said even though I hadn’t spoken to him ages and he shot me down as always. It was true though and that happened. Someone who I thought was my friend had turned against me, he still couldn’t stand me and by telling me I had just successfully help end another one of her relationships and she just kept going.
In all honesty, I had enough. From all the cyber bullying, threats, rumours I just couldn’t take it. Every day the insults would resonate in my mind. ‘Slut’, ‘slag’, ’fat’, ‘ugly’, ‘bitch’, ’kill yourself’, ‘die.’ I just wanted to never return to school. Others had started to join in to and I just didn’t get why people didn’t like me. Again, I know I could have gone to police but I didn’t want everyone to know. I didn’t want them to know how broken I had become. I didn’t want to hurt that guy either because he had got caught up in something he shouldn’t have. I was afraid of being bullied even more for telling. So, I kept it quiet.
It lasted all year. I couldn’t wait until leavers day and to never have to see her face again. I couldn’t wait to not have to go through this. At this point other started with rumours that I was spoilt and rich which made people dislike me even more. The final thing in year 11 that did it was when a group of people decided to play a prank of me and put a condom in my blazer pocket. Then when I went in my blazer pocket and pulled that out by mistake, not knowing it was there, everyone saw and that for them confirmed the rumour I was slut. I hated life and I was so sad. I cried and cried. However, leavers came and since I haven’t had to see any of these people again.
And that’s my story. Pretty damn long I know. Sorry!!! I haven’t made it through this without crying. It has brought so many bad memories to light and made me realise just how many open wounds there are. For those who are wondering, this was my secret. I haven’t told anyone this but now I have told all of you my secret. I never told school apart from the one occasion I mentioned. I never told my family or anyone. I lived through it alone. This is the first time I have shared my secret. This was my story.
I was a victim of bullying. However, I want to be the one to tell you that things do get better and it doesn’t last forever. This has been the hardest thing I have ever written about and spoke about. Its perhaps the bravest thing too. I feel like weight has been lifted. I have never shared this and now that I have and am unsure about how people are going to react but I feel like speaking about it has helped. I am no longer carrying around 10 years of hurt and pain all to myself. I just want to point out I don’t hate anyone, that’s not who I am. I will always hate what they have done. The guy is this by the way, he is actually the sweetest, most genuine guy who got manipulated and caught up in something so bad and as soon as he was strong enough to let her go completely out his life and stand up to her manipulative ways he was gone back to the way he was and the reason I had a crush on him in the first place. Seriously there isn’t any hard feeling between us now.
I just wanted to share this story because I want you to understand you aren’t alone and people have been through it. I have and I will understand and will always listen. Also, please don’t suffer alone through it and do what I didn’t and speak out about it. Please find someone you can trust and don’t suffer in silence. I wish I hadn’t and I wish I had got help because two years later this still all haunts me and I am still dealing with consequences. It still affects me to this very day so much. It knocked my confidence more than I can tell you and because I didn’t get help and suffered through it and only now told anyone for the first time it has taken ages to build myself back up. I am getting there though. I want to be a voice to tell you that things don’t last forever and things do get better. I am who I am because of those experiences and they made me in a stronger person and I am lot wiser and more knowledgeable. As bad as everything was I wouldn’t where I am or doing what I am without all of this and I do live a pretty great life and I have so much to be thankful for. So please remember you aren’t alone, please speak up and don’t suffer in silence and it doesn’t last forever. You will get through it and be stronger. You can do it and it is okay to not be okay.
I hope this has helped in some way for someone and thank you for staying all the way to end. I know it is long! This was the hardest thing for me to do and I am so scared and nervous about the reaction but if it helps one person then it is worth it. Thank you so much!! Much love,