As a youngster who went through the grief of losing her father when only 10 years old without any counselling, or proper mental health support, my own personal feelings, experiences, and childhood history draw me to support this charity.
Back in 1980’s counselling and support was no-where near what it is like today, and even now a number of changes are still required in order to fully protect, and support, the youths of today. For instance, my mother wasn’t really asked if she wanted support for us and if she was she, and everyone else, assumed myself and 2 brothers would be alright. Of course, this is a familiar scenario that still happens today 30 years later, the only difference now is that support is everywhere, even in schools.
However, when I was a teenager with severe acne and was geting called horrid names I was asked if I wanted counselling. The problem was I didn’t need counselling for the name-calling, it wasn’t an issue because I just ignored it. I was being bullied for many other things, I was always ‘different‘ and made to feel that way by pretty much everyone around me. I never felt like I fitted in anywhere so never really had the whole ‘bestie-friend’ experience, or ever been one of the ‘in-crowd’ even though as families some of us were friends outside of school. Don’t get me wrong though! because I did have some good friends, and I wouldn’t wish them to read this and think the wrong thing.
You do end up learning how to switch everyone, and everything, off and just get on with yourself, it is the only way that I could survive.
Oh yes, I was a ‘Swot’, and a ‘Nerd’, for concentrating on my schoolwork as a means to escape the crap that was holding it all up. ‘Goody-two-shoes’ girl Grovesy all the time, honest, reliable and trustworthy, but it got me bullied a lot, and people would fall out with me because of my honesty, but I wasn’t aware that I was getting them into trouble. The hellishness and bitterness that I endured as a result of one experience made me feel like the whole school hated me. I only realised within last 8 years why that was and what it was all about. It was obvious within the school that I was being targetted yet nothing seemed to get done about it. I have never taken sides when people fall out and at school both sides would not speak to me because I always sat on the fence.
Always independently thinking! I am no different as an adult I do not take sides!!
No-one knows how I have really felt about my ‘school experiences’ and I suppose some will find out when they read this, but hey! I’m still around and surviving despite all of it.
After school, aged 19 – 23, I went through a period of darkness that included wild living, getting drunk, partying etc, to escape the realities of life whilst I dealt with the death of my father, and also a few other traumatic experiences from my younger days. At the same time as this my body started to give me pain and problems. No-one would accept I was depressed because my mobility problems were interfering with my day to day life and abilities to work a normal life. Add that to the fatigue from the pain causing poor sleep and the depression from accepting my fathers death 10 years after it had happened and it’s no surprise that ‘suicide’ often sounded like a good option. I did go to college when 19 after pretty much failing my A levels and my health / mental health prevented me from finishing my courses.
I tried college again when I went to Art school but my social anxieities that I know now developed as a result of my childhood bullying, and the lack of ‘art’ schooling caused me to give in when it was clear I didn’t understand what I was doing and I felt paranoid all the time.
Thanks to a couple of friends, when I was aged 23, I ended up back at college as a way to re-introduce myself into society. If my 2 good friends weren’t doing the course I would never have applied myself. I was also recieving counselling again at this point. It gave me the chance to meet new people and rebuild my confidence, I even ended up going to University and getting a degree. Life is possible.
I have also since returned to University and got a Masters degree as well, just keep believing in your dreams! Don’t give up, you will get there if you keep your faith.
I am a survivor!
If you feel trapped by the despair of things that have traumatised you, or things that you have been, or are still being bullied for, then please get in touch with Respect Yourself.
Respect Yourself offers many things from activities to being able to blog about their experiences. Helping the young to see that there is, ‘hope’, ‘support’, and also many others out there that are in a similar situation to themselves.
You are not alone
Respect Yourself is a registered UK charity, helping young people make their own decisions using others’ past experience and wisdom. It is run entirely by volunteers wanting to help young people realise their potential.
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