The Mental Anguish of The Chubby Girl With Braces.

At 18 years old I should be going out with friends and celebrating completing the Leaving Cert. How nice that would actually be. If only I had friends. In my little village people love gossip they love controversy but they don’t love “crazy,” that’s me, I’m the crazy girl.

This “crazy” began in October 2014 I was in fifth year and I was diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder. A definition of anxiety being “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.” My definition of anxiety is hell.

In November 2014 I began therapy. Every Wednesday at two my mother and I would head an hour away to have me sit in a room in Middleton and talk about my “feelings.” This is definitely not what happened. First I had to take a test that was sent to some people in America so they could diagnose me with my exact type of anxiety, yes this was helpful it helped me to realise something was actually wrong and it was possible to get help but this man was not helping. By December I was scratching my wrist with a sewing needle. Small enough my parents wouldn’t see, but effective enough I wouldn’t feel the mental anguish I was feeling. Eventually I was found out and my parents were distraught that was the first time I saw them truly in pain when they looked at me. We left my therapist and started with a new one recommended by my principal. This man was different he was calm and he didn’t write down every single word I said, actually over a year later and he still has only wrote down things that were necessary. He was helping, he is helping and I’m getting there. I hope.

Things were looking up towards the end of fifth year and I had told my friends about my anxiety, they seemed really accepting and I thought everything was fine. That was until sixth year began. From day one I  could not stay in school for a whole day, my anxiety had sky rocketed and everyone was noticing I was different. I wasn’t bubbly and chatty, I didn’t want to get involved with anything I just wanted to be at home in bed. This feeling was not helped by my teachers there were lovely remarks passed about “certain people” missing too much school and thinking they would still pass there Leaving Cert. They didn’t know that in that moment all I wanted to do was get through the day as fast as possible. They did know what I was going through and that’s what hurt. Everyone saw this drastic change but nobody wanted to stop and ask “are you ok?” Instead the easier method of keep your head down and ignore it was used and that hurts. It made me and my parents along with the help of my therapist, doctor and principal begin the process of getting me in to home school for the remainder six months of the school year. And so the downfall began.

At the start of home school things were fine I’d get to Friday and meet up with my friends and it was like I was never missing. The me I had lost was coming back and I was sleeping again, I was singing and playing my guitar and I was cracking jokes (even though most weren’t funny). I had ambition I began to learn to drive and to be more independent and everyone embraced it until I learned one tiny thing. The word no. I had always been a people pleaser since I entered secondary school its how I had taught myself to get by without conflict but I learnt that I had to begin having conflict with people who would put me down so I could leave the conflict inside of me go. This to others was not acceptable and I would be told.

It began with silly little arguments with my friends and just escalated and escalated until the inevitable happened a volcano erupted among us. The mediator had to decided to stop taking all the things that were thrown in her face and let her “friends” know they were hurting her. It didn’t work and others had to get involved I would get into more detail but it isn’t only my story to tell and no one has wanted to know about my side so far. The minority always loses and in this case this is me.

Its been a month since I have completed my Leaving Cert and the only times I have left my house were for a driving lesson, therapy or family outing. I can’t attend my own debs due to fear I cant talk to people my own age because their opinion is soon changed to look at me as the #smallchubbywithbraces who causes shit and is always crying little do they know they are the reason behind my tears. This is what mental health does to people it doesn’t just make them just be sad and a little uneasy. It DESTROYS you. It makes you question your value, your worth, your pride, yourself. It makes you think. Overthink. All night. All you are left with, is you, yourself, and a very dark place. I hope that one day I leave this dark place and things will be different and I will look at this time in my life as the little turbulence I had to face in my journey of life but as for now. Only time will tell.

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School Bullying

Have you ever been called fat? Have you ever been called ugly? Has someone made you feel insecure about your appearance or personality? It doesn’t feel good, does it? It makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure. Bullying has the power to destroy lives mentally and physically. A frightening fact is that 40% of suicide victims had been bullied in school.

Bullying behaviour doesn’t only happen in a classroom or school yard. Bullying behaviour can happen through text message, facebook, twitter and multiple other social networking sites.

You may think calling someone a nasty name is what bullying is all about but there is a lot more to it then just that. e.g Physical Bullying is being hit or kicked. Verbal Bullying is being called names or getting insulted. Psychological Bullying is being threatened or manipulated. Cyber Bullying is insulting someone over the internet or other electronic devices. Social Bullying is being ignored, having rumours spread about you or telling lies about you.

Bullying is a very serious problem in our society today. Victims are NOT the issue, the bullies are. So ask yourself, why do people bully?

There are a vast number of reasons as to why some people bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. They may also be victims of bullying themselves. A lot of bullies don’t understand just how damaging their actions are.

Bullies generally go for people who are different in any way, it could be physically, mentally, religion, culture or sexuality. People who are more fragile then the bully and seem like an easy target. In school the bully doesn’t necessarily always have to be a student it could also be a teacher or member of staff.

Phoebe Prince, a fifteen year old girl who had moved from Ireland to the State of Massachusetts in the U.S.A was taunted and bullied for several months by two groups of students at South Hadley High School, reportedly because of disputes with other girls over her brief relationships with their boyfriends. On January 14th 2010, after a day of harassment and taunting, followed by a final incident in which a student threw a can at her from a passing car as she walked home from school, Phoebe committed suicide by hanging herself in the stairwell leading to the second floor of the family apartment. Her body was found by her twelve year old sister. The group of teenagers who bullied were later charged for harassment and statuary rape.

My advice to the victims who are being bullied is that your skin isn’t paper so don’t cut it, your face isn’t a mask so don’t cover it, your life isn’t a film don’t end it. Some people don’t like you just because your strength reminds them of their weakness. Just remember “people throw rocks at things that shine.”

If you see someone else being bullied you should also try to stop it. If you do nothing, you’re saying that bullying is ok with you. Remember to treat others the way you would want to be treated.

To all those people who get a thrill or a feel of power when they pick on someone or call someone a name like “you fat ugly cow” you need to take a long look at yourself in the mirror. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are hurting. How would you feel if you were told you were worthless? How would you feel knowing that everyday you go to school you will get punched? How would you feel if the person you had been bullying committed suicide?

Next time you feel the urge to have a go at someone, just stop and think, what am I doing? What are the consequences of my action?

Think of the metaphor about the sheet of paper. When you scrunch it up into a ball and open it up again it is left with scars all over it and no matter what you do the scars will always be there and they will never go away. That is exactly what is happening to people who are being bullied.

The facts are that every 18 minutes someone commits suicide and every 43 seconds someone is attempting suicide. How many people will have to kill themselves before society realises bullying is not a light subject that we can just tip toe around? There needs to be more awareness made so we can try to cut back the amount of lives ruined by bullying.