Monday, 13 April 2015

Mental Health Monday #1|| Beating Bullying




 



Today's Mental Health Monday is going to be about bullying and how I learnt to deal with it which may help you if you're struggling yourself at the moment. So many people experience bullying throughout their lifetime, particularly during their adolescence years. Seeing as I have gone through this pain myself, I feel like I should share my story as it may shed light on these issues and then maybe more people will feel encouraged and confident enough to open up and speak out about it.

My Personal Experience With Psychological & Emotional Bullying

When I experienced bullying, I genuinely felt like I was in a tunnel. I was going through a dark, never-ending tunnel and it felt like I was the only one in there. I felt like I had lost everything, like there was no help out there as there was genuinely nothing around me that I felt could make me happy or save me. I would constantly find myself trying to explain to people what it was like and that I was finding it increasingly difficult, but all they would utter was a couple of meaningless words, such as "oh" "aw" "ah alright". Like that was seriously going to make everything better. It felt like nobody was actually interested in helping me, and that hurt and infuriated me even more. I just wanted to scream from the rooftops, just to get attention and then maybe I would have gotten the help that I so urgently needed. I felt as if I was the only person experiencing such torture and everyone else around me was living their own, perfect lives. They were laughing around me AND at me, messing about playfully with their friends, just chatting away and they didn't even acknowledge the fact that I was there. Half the time they were utterly oblivious to my existence. It honestly was like I was invisible. The person who bullied me was stealing away everything I had, every trace of the people that made me even the slightest bit happy. She stole them away from me. It was like she'd hypnotised them. She'd put them under a spell so deep that they were unaware as to how nasty and spiteful she really was. She was ruining my life right under their noses and they didn't even stop to realise, or if they did for even a second, they didn't do a single thing about it. I would try to find other ways to cope, release pain, when in reality, I was only making things worse for myself. I'd try ignoring it, distancing myself, pretending like I didn't care, like I didn't need anyone or anything in order to get through it & be happy. When in reality, I wanted to escape, end the pain. I so badly just wanted to be happy. Happy for even 1 day. 24 hours of smiles & happiness, away from bullying, tears & pain. I couldn't even get that. Every single day, I'd wake up and feel utter dread, fear in the pit of my stomach. What would happen today? Who would I lose this time? What would I get called? How many people would laugh? Would anyone save me? Walking through those gates, I wanted to break down. You just want someone to notice; to help you. Of course, that never happens, or at least in my case it certainly didn't. It hurts so, so much. It's emotionally draining and incredibly hard to deal with, you know? They are tearing everything away from you and you can't even do anything about it. I just had to let it happen because I was too frightened to stick up for myself. I was vulnerable and terrified. Terrified of getting hurt. Terrified of going to school. Terrified of break and lunch and all of the lessons too. Terrified of seeing her. Terrified of hearing HER voice. I could go on. I became in fear of that particular person (sometimes people) and I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to hide away. I wanted to skip school, skip all the lessons. I didn't want to go back. Ever. Until the pain went away. I never thought it would. Each day went by so monotonously, so slowly and steadily. I just wanted to fall through the ground and never be seen again. That is what it's like. That's what it's like to be bullied.
If you are bullying someone, think about what you're doing and think of the effect that it may have on people. I don't care if you think you have a reason. You could potentially be the reason someone ends their own life and that's such a serious matter, so remember that before you say & do things.

Different Types Of Bullying And The Signs

Now that I've explained my story in hope that it will raise awareness & give you guys some courage to speak out, I'm going to explain the different types and how you can actually tell the difference. This may help you work out what's going on with your situation & how to manage it better.

Physical Bullying


Physical bullying is pretty self-explanatory and straightforward. It's physical, literally. Think of it as anything that could cause bodily harm or abuse. It can include harassment like name calling or stalking, or actual violence such as hitting or shoving. These actions can lead to an individual being taunted, tortured and seriously beaten up. However, it can start as a group/gang of people prodding or pushing past an individual and then it can lead to them being shoved down stairs and thrown into lockers on a daily basis. This can cause extreme damage and pain towards that targeted individual.

How To Deal With Physical Bullying

Here are a few things that I think you can do to help sort out these problems.
DO :
  • Talk to a trusted adult
  • Record the bullying
  • Avoid areas where it is most likely to happen
  • Try to always have someone else with you as a witness/support
DON'T :
  • Think it's your own fault/blame yourself
  • Keep it to yourself & suffer in silence
  • Fight back/retaliate in any situation
  • Skip school or certain events due to them
And please never feel the need to hurt yourself over ANYONE or ANYTHING

Emotional Bullying

Emotional bullying is all about words and the way a bully talks to you. It can include name-calling, teasing/mocking, using sarcasm, threatening, putting someone down or belittling them, ignoring or excluding them from a particular group and anything in regards to how it would make them feel.

DO :

  • Ignore it & pretend it doesn't affect you if you can
  • If you can't, stand up to them & show your strengths
  • Tell an adult as always, so you don't suffer in silence
  • Talk to them in a mature and sensible way to try and sort it
DON'T :
  • Just ignore it if it's really getting to you that much
  • Get rude back to them and start shouting
  • Harm yourself or your body over these silly bullies
  • Think you're a target & you're alone and it only happens to you
Psychological Bullying

Psychological bullying can be defined as any kind of intentional bullying that's affecting you mentally, so it's quite similar to emotional bullying. It's usually only classed as bullying if it's been done on purpose and maliciously. The side effects of psychological bullying means that it can lead to mental health issues in the future and it can really damage the victim's self-esteem and confidence.
Examples can include making fun of a particular flaw or weakness of the individual, teasing them about something such as religion or race, they could spread lies, rumours or even innuendos. It's anything that can have a damaging psychological affect on someone else over a period of time.

DO :

  • Tell someone, as always, that you trust
  • Calmly talk to the person and ask them why they're doing it
  • Think of ways to stand up for yourself if you feel necessary or comfortable
  • Try and understand why they may be doing it eg if they have their own issues or are jealous
DON'T :

  • Argue back and try to get revenge on them
  • Suffer in silence and let these people hurt you
  • Feel scared of telling anyone, as they will help you out
  • Harm yourself or your body, or think that this is your own fault
Cyber Bullying

This has become more well-known within recent years and I did experience this mildly last year too, so it has become more of an issue through the likes of ask.fm and similar social media platforms. It's when technology is used to verbally, socially or psychologically bully someone. They could make rumours, post or say nasty things about the person, make group chats and target an individual by saying all the horrible things they could think of, make up lies and rumours, or even harass/humiliate them via the internet.

DO :

  • Always report it, block them and delete them if you are friends
  • Remove yourself from any group chats or anything you are targeted through
  • Screenshot or copy the evidence so if you need to take it further, you can
  • Tell the police if it gets that dangerous, and it's affecting you that badly
DON'T :

  • Let them carry on and just get away with it
  • Answer back, as they may screenshot & pass it on
  • Delete all your social media just because of them
  • Once again, do NOT harm yourself or your body because of spiteful people
Who Can You Talk To That Will Help?

With all of the different types of bullying, I always say that you should tell someone. Personally, I tried to deal with it myself as I felt that was the only thing I could do due to nobody listening, so if you are experiencing this, please do talk to someone and do what I failed to do for a long time. It will help and then you will find that things do work out after that first step you make. If you can just open up to someone, anyone, even me, it will make a difference, even if it's only 5% at first. You can take it in baby steps and then eventually you will get that support you deserve. I ended up getting incredibly sick of it, to the point where I couldn't handle it anymore, so people did eventually become aware and they did end up asking me and I told them that time and it did get through to a number of people which is when they offered to help me and encouraged me to speak up, which I did. I went with one of my friends to a support teacher for child safety and they basically have to deal with bullying and those sorts of things, anything when your safety is at risk, or if you're not happy, or if you just need someone to talk too. You may want to go to the counsellor, a parent, a form tutor, a head of year, another member of staff or a friend, like I did at the start of the getting help process. If you genuinely don't feel ready to talk to any of them yet, please don't hesitate to talk to me. Day or night, I will try my hardest to be there if you need me. Just remember that I have been through it and I have experienced this pain, so I do know exactly how it feels. I understand that everybody experiences bullying differently, but the effects and thoughts are usually pretty similar. I have wanted to just get away from everything and I have been through many difficult things in the past. I have been a victim of bullying and it's only just started getting quite a bit better recently. This is why I want to raise awareness. Not just for mental health, but for bullying too. It's a subject that is so incredibly close to my heart and one that has really affected mine and many other people's lives. I know how hard it is, believe me.

Resources :

Childline - www.childline.org.uk or call 0800 1111
Samaritans - samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI) or email jo@samaritans.org or even write to them - Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, Chris, PO Box, 90 90, Stirling, FK8 2SA
Mind (Mental Health Charity) - mind.org.uk or call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 or email info@mind.org.uk or write to Mind Infoline PO Box 277 Manchester M60 3XN
Bullying UK - bullying.co.uk - online chats or @bullyinguk twitter or call 0808 800 2222

How I Keep Going During Hard Times
When you're going through bullying, I understand how low you can get and I understand that you may not want to carry on anymore. But, you have to keep going. You can't give up, my lovely. You may want to hurt yourself and you may want to die, but I'm not allowing you to do either of those things. That's the easy way out! That's showing the bullies that they have won and they have hurt you so much that you have given up. Do you honestly want them to think they have more power than you? They already felt like that once, so please don't let it happen again. You show them who's boss! You gotta pick yourself up, put on that smile that I know each and every one of you has and you gotta make the most of your life and start getting it back on the right track. Once you've got help, then you are in full control. You give them haters your best smile and then walk past them like you own it!! You get on with your life and don't let other people affect you. You are the one who's in control of your own happiness. Sweetie, nobody else in this world is gonna do everything for you. Not everyone is gonna have your back, so you gotta have your own back, because if you end up getting hurt by more people in your life, or people walk out (which can be common), what would you have then? Nothing! You have to put yourself first and always focus on your own happiness and your own life. You will soon make new, supportive friends and there will always be people that love you, but you do need to be independent and try not to rely too much on anyone, as that may lead you to get hurt again in the future. You shouldn't care what other people think. If you wanna go around town looking like Barbie even in the winter, then go for it! And the same goes for you boys, or if you wanna start dance or go to singing lessons, DO IT!! No matter who you are, you can do whatever you want. Don't let irrelevant little haters tell you who you can be. Only YOU define yourself. It's your life, not theirs. So as hard as it is, you just have to pretend they don't bother you!
 
- You have to stop being a victim and then you can start becoming a strong, successful survivor!
- Always learn to love yourself first and learn what makes you happy. Then if people are saying "you're fat", "ew, you're so ugly/spotty/greasy" then that will gradually stop affecting you, as you know who you are, you know your own body and they aren't you, so they shouldn't matter.
- Just because that girl over there is pretty, or your best friend is slimmer than you, it doesn't make you any less loved, or any less important. The world would be so boring if we were all the same, so appreciate your individuality and be unique! Don't copy other people. There's a quote that goes "An original is worth more than a copy" and it's true! You want to be interesting and different to add more flavour and colour to the world. If you're curvy, don't try to change it, embrace it! If you're slim, don't try to change that either, embrace it too! Wear whatever you want that you feel flatters YOUR body.
When you are overcoming bullying, you need to have a think about the quote above.
In life, we all go through difficult situations and we all experience some dreadful things as well as delightful things. That's completely understandable and you should be okay with accepting that. Every single person has flaws and tough times. So, if you have a day where everything seems to be going wrong, just get on with your day as best as you can and try to deal with it in some way. Think of it as simply 24 hours of your entire life. That bad day will only last 24 hours, not forever. Just because you fail once, or something goes wrong, it doesn't mean that you have ruined your entire life and you are right back at square one. It doesn't mean everything is going to go wrong from then on. We all, as humans, make mistakes in our lives, but then we can learn from them & improve for the next time we try that particular thing. Mistakes are just a part of life and a part of living. Our mistakes do not define us in anyway. If anything, they should make us stronger and more determined for the future. You must keep trying. If you slip up once, that doesn't mean you have stopped recovering and being a survivor. It just means you have slipped up, like any other human being does! Keep trying and hold on. Do your best to stay strong & don't let your mistakes lead you to give up. Let them make you a stronger & more determined person than you were before you made that mistake.
Something else that is incredibly important is that you believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect to get anywhere? You will constantly be overwhelmed by self-doubt & feelings of uselessness that you will be too scared to try new things and you will probably never get anywhere. It's so crucial that you believe in you and your own life, because you need to be able to know yourself well enough to see that what the haters are saying is false and that you are so much better than them. You should want to make your life the best it can be. There's beautiful, extraordinary places to travel to, new people to meet with stories to tell, careers waiting for you, families and marriage to look forward to and so much more that is to come in your future. If you can get through your struggles, you will one day be strong enough to be able to share your story to the world and hopefully then you will inspire many others and help those who may be facing the same position you were in. If there are people who doubt you, that should be what makes you even more willing to succeed! You should want to prove them wrong and show them who the winner is. You will have an incredible, successful life with happiness and new opportunities awaiting you every moment. Those bullies will be living on the streets, unable to get a job, unable to earn any money and they will have no family or friends, because eventually, everyone will see the real them, just like you did. Their karma will come back to them, believe me. Who will be laughing then, when you have won and they have absolutely nothing left for them in this world? You will be the one happy!
Believe in yourself, my lovely and say yes to as many things as you can! Take risks in this life!
 
Last of all, as the quote says, keep your head up, keep your chin up & most importantly of them all, keep smiling, because there really is so many beautiful things in life to smile about. You just need to get the strength & courage from somewhere and strive towards finding the light at the end of the tunnel. If you are determined enough and you don't give up, you keep persevering, then you will get to the light. 
 
If you are genuinely struggling to find anything that makes you happy, or gives you hope, then I'm going to list a couple of things now that will hopefully be of help to some of you.
 
Things In Life That May Give You Hope :
Hold On Pain Ends
  • Family or close, supportive friends who have stuck by you and don't give up
  • Knowing that you have your whole life ahead of you to achieve your dreams & succeed
  • Being able to give to others through charities, volunteering, sharing your story etc
  • Travelling the world, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people
  • Having a successful career which allows you to earn money & buy things you like
  • Doing something that you enjoy everyday such as a job that you actually enjoy/business
  • Staying strong so that you can help & inspire other people who will be grateful to you
  • Enjoying the little things such as spring flowers, sunshine, holidays, precious times
  • Be grateful for what you do have - loved ones, money, hobbies to enjoy, anything
  • Find something you enjoy & do it often - baking, drawing, singing, football, babysitting etc
Other Ways To Have Hope :
  • Think about a plan for your life. What do you believe in? What do you aim to be like? Where do you want to travel to? What about marriage, starting a family, owning a business?
  • Look at the people around you. Can you learn anything from them? Can they offer support or guidance in any way? Maybe they will tell you something you hadn't thought of before
  • Imagine your life in the future. Think of all the wonderful things you may be able to do & see, think of what a wonderful mum/dad you would be, how proud you would make them!
  • Take baby steps. Don't expect to be successful straight away. You have to work hard and stay focused and determined when you have a dream. If you really want something to happen, don't give up. If you keep going and trying your best, you will eventually get there in the end.
  • Don't be afraid to experience new things. Say yes to as much as you possibly can and don't hesitate! Try a new dance class, a new sport, take up a new hobby! It may be fun & worth it!
  • Ask for help if you need it. If you feel alone & you genuinely are struggling, then please ask someone, anyone for help. You could really benefit and learn a lot if you just reach out.
  • Be brave. Even if you are scared to face your fears, you need to push yourself in life sometimes. It may be worth it in the end, and you should live with no regrets after all.
  • Always look on the bright side. Even if you feel like giving up, don't. Life is a journey, and it wouldn't be worth it if you didn't have ups and downs. You need to go through hell to get to the other side with all the happiness & hopefulness! I can assure you, things will get better. But change your outlook. Don't always think negatively. Just believe & be brave!
  • Cherish & appreciate everything that you have right now. You may be struggling, but you may have things easier than some people, so just be grateful for all you have & don't take people or things for granted as someone, somewhere isn't as lucky & one day, you may not have that.
Finally, if you are currently experiencing bullying, I honestly do hope I've helped you in some way. Even if it's just one of you, I hope you now realise that you are not alone and you have picked up some tips or comfort from this post. I promise you, you will get through this horrible time and I'm very proud of you for going strong, but please listen to what I've said & speak out to someone!! :)
If you are overcoming/have overcome bullying, please remember that I'm so incredibly proud of you and I wish I could give you a MASSIVE hug right now. Imagine me giving you an extra special virtual hug! You have done so well, and you cannot give up now! Things are getting better!
 
And to all of you, I'm always just a message away if ever you want to share your story or experiences or tell me something or even just ask me for more advice. I'm always here my lovelies, always <3
Just remember that if I can get through it, then really, anybody can & anything is possible, so dream big, love, laugh and live life to the absolute fullest that you possibly can, & remember I love you :)
 
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