Anti-Bullying Week 2016: How Bullying Effected Me


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It made me socially awkward and withdrawn.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. 

3 Positive Songs For 3 Negative Feelings

I believe that music can save lives. It certainly saved my life many times in the past. Whilst I was growing up, these were three songs that significantly helped me through some of the hardest times in my life (with a story behind them). 

DESPAIR

Miley Cyrus – The Climb

This song has had quite a big significance in my life. I was at school (Year 11) when it came out. It was a time where I just had enough of school and I just couldn’t wait to leave. I always had a dream my entire schooling life that I would one day escape this misery and become this successful person, to prove the bullies wrong. However, I never believed in myself back then. I thought I’ll never reach that end goal and always put myself down at every chance I got. Getting told I will never be successful didn’t help either. This song gave me some sort of hope. The lyrics really resonated with me and I actually listened to it. When I listen back to this song now, I remember all the times I felt like I won’t get very far, and then realise where I am now. It is such a great feeling.

Whenever you feel like you can’t do something or won’t ever get very far in life, do not stop trying. Don’t give up. There is no rush. You will get there one day. Keep doing everything you can to get there and one day, you’ll be living in that dream.

“I can almost see it. That dream I’m dreaming but there’s a voice inside my head saying you’ll never reach it…My faith is shaking but I got to keep trying. Got to keep my head held high…”

FEAR

Hilary Duff – Fly

Again, a trip down memory lane, school days. I was a big Hilary Duff fan , who wasn’t? She was a prominent figure in the charts back then. Fly came out in 2004. So, I was 12 years old! It is no secret that I had suffered with crippling anxiety ever since primary school and all throughout secondary school. I always loved singing and dancing but always struggled with the confidence to go and perform in public. I always wanted to join a band or join my school choir but we had to audition to get in at my school. I kept putting it off because I felt scared and nervous.

This song gave me huge amount of encouragement to just do it. Nothing was stopping me but myself. So, I did it. I auditioned for some sort school gospel thing but I didn’t get into that. However, I eventually joined my school rock band. Music was my passion back then and I had no reason not to pursue what I enjoyed the most. Even now, whenever I feel like my anxiety is stopping me from doing something, I listen to this song for a bit of encouragement and it really works. Even if you bite the bullet and fail, at least you know you tried and that’s the most important thing.

“Fly, open up the part of you that wants to hide away. You can shine.
Forget about the reasons why you can in life and start to try…

…and when you’re down and feel alone, just want to run away. Trust yourself and don’t give up, you know you better than anyone else”

FEELING DIFFERENT

Sugababes – Ugly

One of the reasons why I was bullied at school was because I was different and also short for my age. It was easy for people to pick on me because I was small and I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself. Just a disclaimer, my anorexia wasn’t caused by bad body image. It wasn’t a superficial reason but being different played a part.

In school, I was basically an emo/goth/punk, whatever you want to call it. In a girls school, 97% Muslim/Asian, that was like I was from a whole different planet. I didn’t fit in or had any similar interests to anyone. I was an outsider – the odd-one-out. Back then, I was ashamed of being different. I hated the fact that I was short and I hated that no one around me liked the same things as me.

This song really helped me realise that everyone is the same but different. Individuality and being different is what makes us interesting, and we should never be ashamed of ourselves. It also helped me realise that looks can only get you so far, and people should only judge you for your personality. You can be good looking but an awful, horrible person. For me, looks is an important part of my life, but everyday, I work on myself and on my personality, trying to improve and be the best version of myself.

“There was a time when I felt like I cared. That I was shorter than everyone there. People made me feel like life was unfair….

Everybody talks bad about somebody and never realises how it affects somebody. And you bet it won’t be forgotten. Envy is the only thing it could be.”

Do you have a certain song that helped you through tough times or a certain emotion? Let me know in the comments!

Childhood bullying affects adult life

ImageResearch has revealed that childhood bullying in school can still affect the individual in their 50’s. The study conducted by Kings College London found that children who were bullied in school are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and poor physical health when they were 50 and over than those who were not bullied.

Professor Louise Arseneault, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, said: “We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing up. Teachers, parents and policy-makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children.”

That is where the problem lies. Schools claim to have a bullying policy but they are not aware of any bullying that happens and do not look into the long term effects. Bullying is a serious issue and something very close to my heart. It is such a traumatic and painful experience for any child who is being bullied and the long term effects of it is often overlooked. This study really rings true to me as from personal experience, I completely can relate.

Anyone of authority trying to tackle the issue of bullying must therefore take on board the impact of long-term psychological effects. If this was the case, then I do feel like the psychological long term effects of bullying would be minimised in adulthood, otherwise the consequences of bullying could be even more damaging for future generations. The way bullying and cyberbullying is tackled in this country should be thoroughly reviewed. We need to  ensure that children who are being bullied or have been bullied receive the psychological support they need.

5 Ways To Reduce Academic Stress

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Sometimes, I suddenly go through a writer’s block phase and I do not know what to write about. Usually, it is because I am stressed with university work. Academic stress is certainly something a lot of you are going through at the moment. A lot of people tell me they are surprised when I tell them I am stressed because apparently I am one of the most organised person they know. Well, I am stressed but I do cope with it pretty well I suppose. Here are my top tips on how to cope with stress…specifically academic stress.

1. Work-life/Social life/Study Balance – What I find that stresses out a lot of students is when they have other activities on their mind, such as a job or socialising along with their studies. For me, that would be such a stressful thing because not only do I have to worry about getting my assignments done on time but I also need to balance my work-life. I am lucky enough to not have to worry about that but I know a lot of people aren’t. If you can manage, I would say for now, reduce those commitments, so you have time to study. Of course, you need to socialise now and then. Please do, otherwise things will get on top of you. All work and no play is certainly not a great way to go about things.

2. Study Plan – I know a lot of people dread this but I find that keeping a study plan keeps me very organised and it actually satisfies me because I know exactly what I have completed and what I need to do and by when I need to do it. It keeps me grounded. A study plan is a very good way to reduce stress. List all your subjects and modules that you need to complete and by when. Then, give yourself a limited time to do it in. Do it one by one – going in order of deadline. This makes it more easier and clear for you to follow.

3. Keep Calm & Breath – Do some light exercises. Yoga and Pilates reduces stress and keeps you calm. Along with exercise, you must make sure you are eating well and getting enough sleep. Get at least 7 hours sleep a day. I would NOT suggest pulling all-nighters. I don’t know how people do it. Sleep is very important to reduce stress and prevent illnesses.

4. Ask For Help – This is something I find a lot of people struggle with. They don’t like to admit that they are stressed and actually need some professional help. Universities and colleges all have counselling services. A lot of people go to them during the exam period. It will be an extra way to reduce stress if you can talk to a professional about your worries because they are the ones who can help you manage your academic stress. Do not be afraid. Ask for help if you need it.

5. Lower Your Goals – It is easy for you to say you want the highest grade but make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure. The worst thing you can do is targeting yourself the highest grade, stressing yourself out to get that grade and in the end, failing to get it due to the pressure of it all. Be realistic. Set a goal that you will be satisfied with and is achievable for you. Look through your past grades and think about if the grade you want is achievable for your academic level.

 

Motivation To Study

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The motivation to study is not something many people are blessed with unfortunately and due to all the social media and technology these days, we can often sway away from studying very easily because there are a lot of distractions. It is coming to the end of term now before Christmas and I am sure most of you have a lot of deadlines coming up, like I do. Motivation to do the work is hard so below are some of my tips to make it easier for you to get your work done.

Study Space – As I mentioned in my Essential Study Tips post, you will need a good space to study with all your essential study materials. The place you study is the most important thing for motivation. If you think people distract you easily, I would not suggest studying around or with people. I cannot study in the library because there are people around but some may find the library helpful and some may find studying with a friend helpful. I study best alone in my bedroom.

Block The Distraction – This is probably the hardest one. We have all done it. Browsing through Twitter and Facebook when you are supposed to be doing your work and the guilt creeps in but you are still very unmotivated to study. You may be thinking “How can I stop going on Twitter when I am writing my essay on my computer?” then block the sites you think are distracting you using I-AM-STUDYING BLOCKER. This will help you immensely and the temptation to go on those sites will ebb when you are restricted to visiting them. Leave Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, ASOS etc.. for your study break.

Aim – One thing that really helps me is looking into the future. Why am I doing this? What do I want to achieve? Do I want a good grade in this? The answer is of course I do and that is what motivates me. Hard work pays off. It really does. You are not going to study forever so the thought of it being a temporary thing is a motivation in itself and wanting to do well in it is the main motivation for most people.

Reward – This is something that I have done a lot throughout university and it works. During term time when I have a lot of work and deadlines to meet, I put myself on a self-imposed shopping ban. I love shopping and always end up buying clothes that I want, not need. I love clothes! So, in order for me to work hard, I ban myself from buying any clothes during this time but, the motivation is this – I tell myself I will buy myself something nice once I have completed all my work this term. After I have done this, I then “allow” myself to buy that dress I have been wanting for a long time. It may or may not work for you but it works for me. It does not even have to be with shopping. Materialistic things are something that excites me personally so find something that excites you and ban yourself from it until you finish your work. Then reward yourself. “When I complete this, I will treat myself to a nice pamper session” or “After I have done this piece of work, I will go out with my friends for a drink.” Anything. This does really help with getting the work done.

Unwind – You may be feeling really stressed so if you feel like this, just take a step back and unwind. Have a relaxing bath and read a nice book. What I find de-stresses me is listening to some Hypnosis. It really relaxes me and also makes me fall asleep. Getting a good nights sleep helps with motivation. One reason why you may feel rather sluggish and unmotivated is because the stress is causing you insomnia and that will affect your motivation to study. Just try to keep calm and positive and then start again. The motivation will eventually come.

Anti-Bullying Week 2013 (18th – 22nd November)

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It is Anti-Bullying Week this week and I have been wearing my BeatBullying wristband all week to show my support as I always say that trying to tackle bullying is something very close to my heart and something that I have been an advocate of in hopes to tackle this issue, especially in schools, making sure that young people do not go through school feeling sad and victimised like I did.

School should be a memorable time, full of happy memories. To me, it is often like “I did not enjoy school because those group of people were mean to me.” Sadly, I am sure many of you can relate to that.

I wrote a blog post a few months ago on how to deal with bullying and you can check that out right here.

Some of you have asked for a ‘My Bullying Experience’ blog post however, I am too hesitant for that at the moment but I will definitely do it sometime in the future so do look out for that.

I always stress to anyone out there who is being bullied, to speak out. Tell someone. It makes a big difference. Do not suffer in silence because if you do, it gets worse. You are not a ‘snitch’ if you tell someone. I always tell children in Primary school, be it my brothers, cousins or any child for that matter that if someone bullies you in school, tell a teacher straight away. Many of you reading may not be in school anymore but that does not mean you should not tell someone regardless.

You may think you can deal with it. You are an adult. You should be able to handle this on your own, right? It will go away. No. If you do not face up to it, it will not go away. Bullying can also take place in your workplace and I know a lot of people who say their boss or colleague is so mean to them yet they are afraid of standing up to them or telling someone in a higher role about that person because they think they will lose their job. What is the worst that could happen? If you lose your job, at least you got away from feeling miserable but it may be the other way round too. The person who is bullying you may lose their job. So, do not second guess what will happen. Always do what feels right.

If you know someone who is being bullied, help them out. Talk to them. Show them that you want to help them. Show them that you care. Stick up for them. Whenever someone stuck up for me, I felt like I was not alone. It made the situation more easier to deal with knowing someone knows what is going on and is there for you. You feel safer.

You are never alone. Always speak out.

Useful links

Bulling at school
Workplace bullying and harassment 
Nightline  
Beatbullying
Childline 

Essential Study Tips For Students

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I have been asked to write a post on how to study in general giving examples of how I study so here it is.

I study everyday. A day without studying, especially at university, is a day wasted. Now, being the introverted and a perfectionist person that I am, I guess you would not be surprised by that.

I am basing this post more around university students but I do speak in general terms at times so it can still apply to school and college students as well.

Plan

The most stressful thing about studying is when and how to fit in your studies on top of everything else, such as a job and social life. Thankfully, I do not have any of those problems because I am solely concentrating on university and university only this year. But of course, everyone’s case is different.

If you have a job, do schedule your shifts on days you may not have university but make sure the shifts are sensible. I would try and leave the evenings free, so that can be your time to study.

As for social life, do go out and have fun but make sure it is not on a day before a lecture. Go out on a Friday night only and leave the weekends for studying. Some of you may not agree though but I think that is sensible.

Also, if you have various modules you are studying for, then split the studying for each module for a different day. A study timetable comes in handy for this. I know that may seem geeky but honestly, it will make your studying so much easier. Every Sunday night, I make a plan for the week ahead and write down what day and what time I will study each module. It really does help.

Space

I don’t know about you but I study best alone, in my bedroom with no distractions. Music is off, radio is off and TV is off. I have my own desk with all my study materials and because I have the space, it motivates me to get up, sit on my office chair and just get on with it. If you have the space, you will find that it will motivate you to study.

Have the Relevant Study Materials

Make sure you have the right study materials. This includes stationary such as a notebook, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, page markers etc…

Most importantly, look through your reading list and buy or borrow textbooks from the library. Having the relevant books will help you immensely with your studying. I find them incredibly helpful. A dictionary can be very useful too when you come across a word you do not understand. I would recommend the usual Oxford English Dictionary.

A computer. My Macbook Pro is my life and is a lifesaver when it needs to be. When you are writing an essay, you will obviously need your computer so have that at the ready.

Keep all your study materials in one place. That way, you will not lose anything – important papers, notes etc… Get yourself a folder and keep things organised.

Make Notes and Highlight/Underline/Annotate

Making notes is crucial. Read your texts, pick out the relevant points, underline, highlight, annotate. Get your notebook out and write down the most important points. When I have finished reading a chapter, I usually summarise it in my own words in my notebook. It is always good to test your memory – especially if you are revising for an exam.

Recently, what I have been doing to my textbooks is page marking them with a colourful page marker. For example, I am studying Media Law and there are chapters I need to read but because there is a lot and I cannot possibly cover all of them in one day, I get out a page marker and stick the marker onto the end of the chapter. This reminds me that I need to read that chapter soon. This trick is very helpful.

Ask for Help

At university, when you are in the middle of an assignment, you will have seminars – which is a class after your lecture with a small group and everyone must participate and during this time, you can ask for extra help for your assignment. Go to them and ask for help if you need it.

In my case, I do go to my seminars but even though it is a small group, I still feel quite anxious asking for help around other students, so I usually book a personal tutorial with my lecturer so I can have a one to one session/seminar with them and that helps me a lot. If you have issues with anxiety, I would really reccomend this.

Take a Break

Do not just study all day with no breaks. Take a 5 – 10 minute break every 15 – 20 minutes or so. This is important because it relieves stress and it gives you time to take in everything you have just learnt.

…Finally not everyone will benefit from this form of studying because I do understand that life can get in the way. It is up to you to develop a study routine that will work for you. If you are serious enough to do well in your studies, you will put the time and effort into developing a well structured study plan.