Disclaimer: This post discusses bullying which may be a sensitive topic. If you are affected by this post please seek professional advice and support as I am not a trained medical professional.
A lot of people have been bullied. My experience of being bullied is completely different to John’s. Yours will be to other people. But bullying hurts. Here’s John’s experience.
I’m sitting hear a 38 year old man thinking back on the things that happened to me so long ago now. I was bullied in one form or another for most of my childhood for different reasons and for no reason at all, from wearing glasses to not playing sports to not being part of the ‘in’ crowd at school or for what I was interested in – I was and still am a geek.
The bulling ranged from name calling to other children and later teenagers/ young adults picking fights with me, from what I remember now for what seemed like no reason at all.
Some times I tried to fight back or I would call them names, I know in this day and age that is not the done thing but back when I was growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s you had to stand up for yourself or at least try to.
Some of my teachers seemed to take an interest in stopping it at least in the classroom or when they saw it happening but all to often the bullies just waited till after school to do what ever they had planned.
This went on for many years and as you can imagine it took a toll on my self-worth and feeling of belonging and I am sure it also took a toll on my parents and siblings.
As I got older and tried to figure out what I wanted to do and to keep away from those bullies at the age of 17 I went to apply to join the Army, the recruiting officer suggested that as I was only 17 I might want to try the territorial army as this would give me an incite to the military life but without the 3 year minimum time to be in.
This I did and if I am really honest this advice helped to turn my life around, I joined my local TA unit in 1999 and whilst part of it my self-confidence came back and started to grow, I found people who genuinely liked me for who I was and enjoyed my company.
In a way I started to come out of my shell and grow into the person I am today way back then. I enjoyed my time in the TA so much that 2 years later I joined the regular army and served there for nearly 4 years before leaving to joining the RAF.
I honestly think the person I am today would not have come about if not for that bit of advice and me joining the territorial army. They helped me to get over my bullying.
Years later while home on leave in the regular army I was doing some shopping for my mother when I recognised the person serving me as some one who had bullied me at school. When they realized who I was they asked me in a condescending voice what I was doing with my life, I simply said “I’m in the Army and being deployed overseas next week.”
Being bullied may seem like the end of the world when it is happening to you – I know it did for me. I felt so alone when it was happening but there is always hope whether it comes from a friend, a teacher or like me a complete stranger – either doing something that helps you out or saying the right thing to help you get through that day and on to the next.
You can recover and grow into the person you are meant to be.