I recently watch a movie called ‘Bully’. Created to do with this movement: http://www.thebullyproject.com I found it very touching, upsetting and I am glad that such a movie was made and subsequent movement on this subject. The movie did literally move me to tears.

A few social media links, if you are interested in showing your support on Facebook are: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Challenge-Day-and-Be-The-Change-Movement/19192952301 which I so wish they had here in New Zealand. As it’s an awesome thing! And this one: https://www.facebook.com/SFTSorg?fref=ts

A bit more about the Challenge Day and Be The Change Movement. I became aware of it when I started watching CH6(U) on Freeview(a NZ free-to-air channel) a series called ‘If You Really Knew Me’. Which generally moves me to tears nearly every episode. It’s so inspiring and also very sad. How many teens go through bullying and put on a facade and feel like they can’t show the real ‘You’, due to the fear of judgement and possible bullying. I so wish they had this thing in New Zealand schools. As far as I’m aware they don’t. As I have a 9 year old and eventually she will go to High School and boy do I worry for her. As yeah, she is a bit different and that means kids may be cruel to her. Her school is very good and they have a strong anti-bullying stance. But still, I do hear of the occasional bullying incident from her and always encourage her to tell a teacher and tell the child that their behaviour is not acceptable. I remember one time she told me this older boy said to her that she’s brain damaged and she asked him, what does that mean and he replied “that means you”. As a protective mother and someone who was bullied in school myself, that made me really upset and angry. I wanted to confront that boy and tell him how disgusting his behaviour was. Instead we told the teacher and the teacher made sure she talked to this boy and as far as I know, this has never happened again.

Children, especially sensitive and emotional one’s like my daughter, are quite likely to believe these mean statements from others and believe them to be true, even if I am here, telling her they are wrong and she is an awesome person and people should be happy to know her.

I got hassled plenty in school. Being called name’s like: lapper, slow and likely many other things in primary school which I have blocked out. Had children belittle me and just in general give me crap for being quiet, shy and different. Didn’t help I had a lisp and I spoke so quietly people struggled to hear anything I said. In high school it was stuff like: slow, frigid, surf board(due to my small chest), tight and likely other things I have since forgotten and more belittling. I always found it so confusing, why children were so mean to me. I just didn’t get it. As the way I saw it was, I was a really nice person and what reason would anyone have to not like me. And eventually this crap wears you down and you become depressed and feel a strong self-hatred and your self esteem and confidence are near zero. I did eventually stand up to the bullies and that did help. But yeah, the damage was already done to my confidence and so on.

I did go on to self-harm from about the age of 17. And struggled with depression from my teenage years and still do as an adult. Though the few things that have changed are, I used to have low self esteem, no confidence, was pessimistic and always thinking of the worse case scenario. Whereas, now I am confident, have a healthy dose of self esteem, am optimistic and hopeful. Though that switch only really flipped about 4 years ago.

Over the years I have either self-harmed or struggled with the desire to. Have been suicidal. Though thankfully never attempted to take my life. I credit being blessed with children as my saving grace there.

I really do worry about high school and having 2 children and another on the way, I am aware of the reality that they must go to school at some point and all that that in tales. But unlike in my day, there are other avenues that are used to bully. Such as, at school, via mobile, via social media. I just wish kids and teenagers wouldn’t play with others lives and emotions like they do. If only the world could be the place we’d love it to be, where we wouldn’t fear our children experiencing the realities of this often cruel world.

Mental health issues that can arise from bullying are: anxiety, panic attacks, depression, self-harm and the worst consequence, suicide.

Children and teens find themselves with feelings of despair, hopelessness, anger, hurt and it is a very hard thing to deal with growing up. As you are still trying to find yourself and these mixed messages from others about who ‘you’ are, can really rock your self esteem and confidence and make growing up and finding out who ‘you’ are, very confusing and challenging.