Being bullied can have a lot of detrimental effects. It is important to know that the psychological impact of bullying doesn’t end in adolescent. It can go on into adulthood, even if the bullying no longer occurs.
It is no secret that I’ve been bullied my entire school life and even to this day, it certainly effects me mentally. It can explain why I behave the way I do most times. What I think about myself, how I relate to others… It has scarred me. Obviously bullying is not only the reason, but it definitely is something that sticks out when I think about my childhood.
First of all, I was quiet. I have always been quiet. But the fact that people made being quiet seem like a bad thing, made me think something was wrong with me. Being quiet and shy made kids at school think they have one over me and can treat me like I’m nothing. “She won’t stand up for herself so let’s just pick on her.”
In primary school. I was verbally as well as physically bullied. I was kicked, pinched, punched and pushed by girls and boys in my class. In secondary school, I was called all sorts. Emo, freak, disgusting, midget and was often told to “go and slit your wrists.”
What impact did this have on me back then? Well, it made me fall behind on school work. I became so uninterested in school that all I did in class was daydream about a fantasy world. I always relate my childhood to the Evanescence song ‘Imaginary’ because I built up this amazing imaginary world inside my head to escape the emptiness I was feeling inside.
It made me socially awkward and withdrawn. I had no friends and the friends I thought I had only used me, so my trust in people is always something I find hard. I was purposely excluded from things such as games, group work and always picked last in PE because no one liked me. I was even told to my face that I wasn’t liked by anyone in the class and that I should just die.
It led me to self harm and starve myself. Lunchtimes were always spent hiding in the toilets self harming and crying.
And so the severity of my mental illness increased leading to a diagnosis of eating disorders, anxiety and depression. To this day, these are prevalent with added mental illnesses including hallucinations, BPD and severe paranoia.
Bullying is certainly not something that ends in childhood. It can destroy your life in adulthood too. Whenever I get assessed for a new treatment plan in hospital, the conversation always starts with my childhood and the bullying comes up quite a few times. It is connected to how I behave now.
I don’t think schools do as much as they should for kids who are being bullied. Every school has a “zero tolerance policy” but they fail to act and fail to help those who are being bullied psychologically.
In primary school, I did tell my parents and they told the head teacher. The bullying did stop after that, but what would have helped me with my mind was providing me with some sort of counselling to talk about how it has affected me. I don’t think schools realise how severe the psychological consequences are of bullying to certain kids.
I would like more people to be aware of the long term impact of bullying. Again, it does not end in childhood.