I am not 100% sure where to start with this post today so I will try my best to be as coherent as possible, that may be hard so just bear with me. Every time I upload a personal story/experience I am always terrified about the response, but thankfully everyone has been super supportive and for that I am thankful. However, I still get butterflies every time I press upload on a post which is rather personal and exposes more of me. I feel more vulnerable and like I have let some walls down, which I built up over the years and worked hard to keep them up there. You see, once you have lived through some hard times and been through some difficult experiences you hurt and feel and incredible amount of pain and therefore you naturally build a defence system to prevent the same thing happening again. Every time I share a part of personal life with you, I feel the walls crumbling ever so slightly and I feel my heart and my soul becoming open and more vulnerable once again and trust me that terrifies me. However, I know speaking about problems you have had helps bring closure to the pain. It allows you to move past that part of your life and close the chapter. It enables you to move on and create a better future for yourself. The best closure I have found to these situations, is that sharing my experiences help other people and that is what I really what to do and so I always feel better about things knowing that I have helped someone else who was feeling the way I did. So, today, I guess I am going to share another part of my life with you all.
As most of you will know, if you have been following this blog for a while, I unfortunately was a victim of bullying and I shared my story with you in what was probably the most heart-breaking and painful post to write. If you haven’t read this you can do so here. Anyway, today I wanted to focus on another aspect on the story. Today I wanted to talk about one of the many side effects bullying has on you as a person and how you can develop coping mechanism and strategies to deal with what you have gone through, but importantly with how it made you feel.
I never sought any sort of help from anyone when I was bullied. I was a very timid person anyway, so the thought of speaking up terrified me. For me, I felt like it was just not an option. I told no one at all, not a single person knew what was I experiencing and go through every single day of my life – only me. I kept it all a secret and kept it all in my head and didn’t even hint to anyone that I wasn’t okay. Luckily for me, the bullying did stop after I left school in year 11 at the age of 16, but after what had probably been the best part of 8/9 years, the damage had already been done. I was already mentally scared and physically drained.
Before I get into some of the side effects, I just wanted to point out, that even to this day I am still struggling with the side effects of bullying and what people had done to me. I still struggle every single day with things. I know that is my fault for not speaking out and dealing with my problems and going to therapy but honestly the thought of confronting them and speaking up scared me so much more than just dealing with the bullies daily. For some crazy reason, I had drilled it into myself that if I spoke up that things would be worse and they wouldn’t make it stop. All that speaking up would do would make me more vulnerable and increase the amount of bullying and give them new things to pull me down on and for me I just wasn’t prepared for that. However, I want to point out that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and that there are so many services available to receive help not only with stopping the bullying but also with dealing with the side effects and the impact it has on your mental health. I beg all of you, to have a little bit of courage, which I didn’t, and take the step to speak to someone who you trust because it needs to end and I don’t want anyone else suffering for even a day, let alone years like I did. Please don’t be afraid because everything will be okay!
So, the first thing I noticed that changed since the bullying started is that my confidence hit an all-time low. I know longer believed in myself and thought very little of myself. They had managed to make me feel worthless and weak. They had made me feel fat and ugly and they made me doubt myself. For me, this is such a shame because I know prior to the bullying I was the bubbliest and most confident little girl. I was always so happy and loved acting and performing and talking. Bullying took all that away from me. I hated being in front of people. I hated acting and performing. I despised talking in front of people and once I got so anxious I actually just stood and cried in front of about 200 people. The thing is, a lack of confidence effects your life in so many ways you don’t even realise. I didn’t feel confidence in myself so I would say no to every opportunity given to me because I was scared. I missed out on so many opportunities and that really is so sad because you need to make the most of life and take every single opportunity you get given. I know longer believed in my ability in school or in any passions. I would always say “I can’t do it” even though that wasn’t true. I lost any sort belief in myself. I don’t think my confidence will ever be as low as that ever again. A few years on… I still have massive confidence issues. I have gotten so much better with speaking but I still get really nervous and have to calm myself down. I still don’t perform or act. I still have massive doubts in my ability which annoys me boyfriend and friends so much because they know I am capable of so much and wish I saw it and knew it. It is sad because I always wonder where I would be now or how many crazy experiences I would have done by now had I still been confident. I know I would still be actively involved in so many of my childhood hobbies had I not lost my confidence, but everything happens for a reason. I know that I am where I am at the moment because that’s where I am meant to be at the moment and everything in life works out okay in the end and how it should.
The next noticeable change I saw in myself was that I became a more negative person. I wasn’t optimistic and I didn’t think positively. All I could now vision was the worst-case scenario. I hated how they had turned into such a negative person and made me feel worthless. I hated the fact that I no longer felt happy and positive to life. I think this obviously coincides with the fact that I had zero confidence and in my ability, in people and in my body and it just turned very negative and it is so sad for me to even write this. To the day, I still struggle to think positively about certain aspects in life. I still struggle to think positively about myself and my body. I always have managed to see the good in people, even at my worst and that unfortunately has been my downfall but I still see the good in people. I have hope that things will get better when for years I told myself they weren’t. I now try and look on the more positive side of things although after years of seeing the worst-case scenarios I now actually have that as a coping mechanism. If I know that is the worst possible situation and I know I can deal with that, then I know I can deal with anything. It has in some ways been both a blessing and a curse.
Being bullied made me increasingly aware of other people’s opinions. I had kind of been oblivious to other people’s opinions about me beforehand because as people do say ‘ignorance is bliss’ and ‘what you don’t know, doesn’t hurt you’. Bullying brought other people’s opinions to forefront of my mind though and it’s all I thought about. It became kind of obsessive actually. Which is ridiculous really because people talk and care far less than you know. You are you own biggest critic. I became very self-conscious and this developed my huge body issues. I was very aware that people were judgemental. I felt ugly and fat and was very ashamed of my body. I actually hated my body for years to come and I became paranoid and cared why too much about the approval of everyone else. I lived years of my life trying to please others and make them happy and like me, when really, I shouldn’t have should have just lived for me. I wasted years of my life. Don’t make the same mistakes. People opinions are irrelevant. You honestly have to do you and do whatever makes you happy because it is impossible to make everyone happy (trust me I have tired) and there is always someone who is going to want to bring you down and will be jealous. Remember a ‘lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep’. Honestly when you stop caring you will be free and it will be amazing. I don’t care so much at all these days about what anyone thinks about me because I want people to like me for me and if they don’t, then I don’t want them to be my friend to be honest. I still feel conscious all the time and worry about whether I am fat or ugly which annoys my boyfriend so much because he wishes I could see what he sees and believe I wish I was confident and care free but those insecurities are going to take a lot of beating thanks to some cruel people. Luckily, I think it is all in my head from been bullied because recent comments and remarks haven’t left the same scars and insecurities.
Being bullied definitely damaged my trust and it made it harder for me to form relationships and friendships with people because I was suspicious of them and worried that one day they would no longer be my friend and bully me. I know my trust issues largely comes from another very personal thing that happened in my life which I am sure I will speak about one day but being bullied added to the lack of trust in people. I am a very guarded person and I never want to suffer and be in as much pain as I was then so I have built up so many walls I feel like they are virtually impossible to break. I don’t want to feel vulnerable again. I don’t want to ever feel that way again. Learning to trust people was super hard and scary but some people genuinely care and not everyone wants to see you fail and bring you down. I still struggle massively with trust and I feel like I always will but I will try and fix and heal the wounds.
Thank you so much for reading and sorry for rambling. Let me know if you thought this was useful/helpful and if you would like to see a part two to this! See you soon. Much love,