How bullying affected my mental health.
my 1st year of high school school photo

I intended to get this post up a bit earlier, but I wanted to take some time with this post and try to reflect. This is essentially a part two to “The story behind my mental health” post. So if you haven’t read that one already, I highly recommend it, it talks about how my childhood has shaped me. Which then leads to this post talking more through high school.

High school

I dreaded high school, looking back I don’t know why I didn’t want to go, but I remember this feeling of dread. It was probably the fear of moving to a new school with new people. (probably didn’t help that I went from a school with just over 100 people in total to one that had over a 1000.)

Perception is everything in high school, well it was when I went. If you didn’t fit the mould you were an outcast. You now have to put this image of a 11 year old James in your head.

It’s 2002, I’m a fairly skinny, ginger, fairly effeminate boy in a blazer that’s too big and all my friends are girls. I was what? A prime target.

Every single person in that school knew I was gay before I really knew – I mean I had a inkling but it was 2002 and there wasn’t a chance in hell I was admitting that!

I count myself extremely lucky that social media wasn’t really a thing when I went to school. Myspace wasn’t even a thing until 2003, and Facebook wasn’t available to everyone until 2006. Bullying was strictly confined to the school walls, so from second year (2003) I was barely seen in school.

All my bullying was verbal, or psychological torment if you will. It was relentless, it happened every day, and I just couldn’t seem to catch a break.

Bullying made me paranoid. It made me avoid certain classes. (I got caught out on parent’s evening by my physics teacher because he hadn’t seen me in weeks). Instead of developing socially in high school. I regressed.

Stick and stones

That age old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a crock of shit. It should say “words will haunt me and give me a level of anxiety that takes years to go away” because in my case, that’s what happened.

When I left school in 2007, that little feminine boy with ginger hair and a bit of confidence in himself was gone. And what was left was a shell. Yes I had a few friends but 5 years of constant bullying had left me empty. I didn’t have much hope for the future, and whilst everyone went off to college or sixth form. I went out to work. Just to escape that school environment and to be fair, it was the best decision I ever made. I mean I couldn’t make it out of there fast enough.

How bullying affected my mental health

Being bullied wore me down. It affected my overall education because I was too scared to go into school so, I just wouldn’t go in at all. I became anxious about what other people thought of me. It made me fearful of speaking out in fear of judgement.

It makes me somewhat sad to think of what I could have been. I’m not stupid, actually in the broad scheme of things I’m quite intelligent. But it does makes me wonder, without the bullying, if I had just been able to excel in high school, where I’d be now? Would I be the accountant I wanted to be at 14 years old? Would I have made it to university? All these questions left unanswered.

Now I don’t credit bullying for every decision I’ve made in my life, because that’s not the case. I did go back to college at 19 and had a wonderful experience, but it just wasn’t for me at that time. I could have gone to university late, but I chose not to. Other things were happening at that time.

Look out for part three. Or to get a glimpse read What coming out as trans taught me

This has turned into a bit of an unintentional series. But I hope you’re enjoying them. My mental health has had its ups and downs but I think it’s important to speak about. I want people to know they’re not alone, and if it means sharing my experiences then so be it.

I hope you’re all keeping well.

Take care. Stay safe.

James. aka Anothermaleblogger.

Follow me on Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Boomer EcoCrusader

    Thank you for sharing. Sadly, bullying is still pervasive in our world. High schools are horrible places, and many workplaces aren’t much better. Love the way you rewrote the “sticks and stones” quote. So very true! Peace to you! 💕

    1. Thanks for your comment. Luckily I’ve always had a good experience in work, I might not have liked a job all that much but the people have always been friendly which really helped with the road to recovery. Hope you’re keeping well x

  2. Unwanted Life

    Sorry to hear about your experience with bullying. I suffered from a lot of racial abuse growing up, which left its mark on my mental health, a mark I’m still dealing with decades later. I too am glad social media didn’t exist back in the 80s, I don’t know what I would have done if that level of abuse was 24/7

    1. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like, but I’m glad to hear you say you’re dealing with it!! it’s been 12 years since I left school and I’m still working my way through so in some respect I get it but obviously everyone’s experience is different. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I hope you’re keeping well!

  3. Sakshi Raina

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that, I was bullied too in my middle school for being too shy and quiet. After a couple of years when I was in high school, I stood against those bullies when I thought it was enough. That was truly liberating.

    1. Looking back I wish I’d stood up for myself, but my confidence was just at an all time low. Hindsight’s 20/20 and in a way, it’s made me the person I am today, and I’m quite happy with who I am now and what I stand for, which in a weird way, bullying gave me.

  4. gabbyabigailll

    This was beautifully written. WOW. I am sorry you had to go through that, especially at such a young age. But, look at you now. I’m sure 11 year old James would be proud of how far you’ve come. x

  5. middleagefanclub

    A brave post. Thanks for sharing. It’s important that we don’t allow bullies to win and that people keep talking about mental health. Stay safe.

  6. exukprisoner

    Deep stuff there mate! So much that I can relate to in this post. Like yourself I was bullied throughout high school and often wonder what I would’ve achieved should It have not happened to me. I struggle to talk about it until this day so I appreciate your strength in speaking up. Great post mate 👍🏻

  7. Jaclyn

    I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through that. Bullying just isn’t acceptable at all and it never seems to go away unfortunately. Thank you for sharing your story, hopefully it’ll help other people too.

    1. Thanks for your comment and for following!! if my little place on the internet helps at least one person then my mission is complete. x

  8. nortoncharity

    I am so sorry you experienced so much bullying! That is terrible and people can be so cruel. Hopefully by you bringing awareness to this issue, it will help others going through the same thing!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!! The whole goal of my blog is to bring awareness and help people so hopefully that’s something I’m doing, even if only in a small way. I hope you’re keeping well x

  9. cheriewhite

    Thank you so much for posting. My heart goes out to you! I feel your pain because I was bullied for six long years and almost committed suicide! Later, I luckily moved away and put an end to it! I’m now living a good life!

    I want you to know that none of it was your fault and you will overcome! Know that you’re a great person no matter what! <3

    1. It took me a long time to realise it was more a reflection of them than me, but I got there eventually. I’m glad to hear you’re living a good life! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Wishing you all the best. x

      1. cheriewhite

        You’re very welcome! Wishing you the best as well!

Leave a Reply