15th November 2017
Anti-Bullying Week is taking place across Scotland from 13 – 17 November.
Everyone has a right to live free from bullying and harassment. When we behave respectfully towards each other, we help create environments where bullying cannot thrive.
Aaron was bullied endlessly from a young for being ‘different’, and it destroyed her. Here’s her story.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve had very long hair – currently measuring in at a whopping 4ft 11”. Having hair as long as mine doesn’t hold me back in any way, and just like Rapunzel, I love to let my hair down!
“Sadly, it made me a target at school though and I was bullied endlessly from a very young age.
“I know everyone is different, however for me, the bullies did focus in on my hair a lot. The mental abuse was almost more difficult to cope with than the physical side of it.
“My dad’s family are Portugese and the fact we had an unusual surname only added fuel to the fire; but to be honest, it felt like at the time they would have said anything just to get a reaction and upset me. All I remember was being victimized, tormented every day, and it destroyed me.
“I couldn’t eat, sleep, motivate myself. I couldn’t concentrate and I’d isolate myself more and more. I was anxious, irritable and angry, and I didn’t know who I could turn to apart from my parents.
“My parents have been my absolute rock. They spent numerous times complaining to the school – at least once a week, usually more – but it never did any good.
“By the time I left to get home-schooled, nothing had changed for the better. Not only was the bullying affecting me mentally, but my body couldn’t cope either and I was got sick a lot. I was so low I thought about ending my life, and I just couldn’t face going back to school.
“I’m not saying all schools are the same, and I’m sure there are schools out there with fantastic systems in place. All I can say is that the schools I attended could only prove their policy was in place by producing a piece of paper stored in a file somewhere, but didn’t have any results to share.
“We desperately need to raise awareness of bullying and follow through properly on actions in schools. It’s about time those who are bullied are listened to properly and taken seriously.
“I was on a very long waiting list for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), where I’ve been seeking support for a few years now – it’s slow progress, but I’ve been supplementing my treatments with holistic and alternative therapy like hypnotherapy.
“I still have many low days as I struggle with my demons – depression, anxiety, and phobias. Sometimes I won’t even get out of bed. I physically can’t find the energy or motivation to get up and go out anywhere. Other days all I want to do is cry or get angry.
“However it’s not all doom and gloom, and I do have my good days. Spending time with my boyfriend; girly days out with my mum and sister; archery with my dad. Music is my escape and helps me to relax. I play electric guitar and have finally plucked up the courage to go college and study music.
“To anyone going through something similar to me – please don’t hide. The first, and best, step I took was to talk to my parents. Getting help early can prevent you reaching your lowest point and getting so ill you want to give up.
“I did reach that point, but help from my loved ones just in the nick of time. I don’t want to see any more young people going through what I did.”
To find out more about Anti-Bullying Week, visit the respectme website.