All my life I’ve been a target for bullying. In primary school it was mostly immature bullying like I had a moustache – from my red skin condition, to adding a no to the front of my last name (no-brain), to the fact I was only close to only one friend, who happened to be female so I was known as gay. I’m not going to lie, I was different even then. I didn’t mix very well with other children, I went through puberty faaaar too early for me and I had an undiagnosed chemical imbalance in the brain which meant I could be manic or depressed on any day.
In high school it was more pronounced bullying. Picking on who I sat with at lunch, the fact the start of my email was erbrain and the fact that for the first time in their lives they weren’t the one being picked on. I sat alone, up the front of class and pretended everything was fine. People tended to only sit with me if they were having a fight with their friends in the class but I was thankful for any company.
At the end of each day I’d come home and sit and stare into space – dreading the next day at school. All my family knew something was wrong but they didn’t know what to do about it and I didn’t communicate very much. Occasionally I would go to the sickroom complaining of painful period pain, headache, nausea – anything to make the real pain cease for an afternoon. I knew Mum got disappointmented when I did this so I restricted it to only a few times.
I started to notice strange things were happening around me, more people were getting killed on the news, more kids were being diagnosed with cancer, there was even more poverty going on in Africa and I blamed me. I was a horrible demon possessed by the devil.
One day in woodwork someone wrote my initials on the wall of the classroom, quite large with a compass while we were out doing the prac. When the teacher asked who’d done it there was silence – then in my tiny voice I have whenever I’m depressed I said, “I did it.” I could feel shocked eyes boring into my back. They all knew exactly who’d done it but I’d taken the blame. I wanted to be punished and punished severely. I know what you’re thinking. Why would any kid want to have their parents rung up and given internal suspension for days but I needed punishment. Today was one of the days I went home sick and Mum questioned me.
“What’s wrong, Em? I’ve wrung up the school, I’ve tried to get you to speak to the councellor but you’re still depressed and out of character.”
“Someone’s after me, Mum, I’ve done all these bad things and I deserve to be punished.”
“What do you mean?” she asks in a small voice.
“I want to die, Mum.”
After a trip to the GP for advice, Mum took me to the hospital. After spending ages in hospital I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. Yes this disorder was going to come out sooner or later but I believe if I hadn’t been bullied I wouldn’t have ended up suicidal.
People who are bullied are too afraid to share their story, that is why all Tasmanian readers will have the opportunity to share their story – right here. The deepest story I will give a free ticket to the documentary Bully at Village Cinemas – spill your guts. Bullying should not be tolerated and is nothing that should be sweeped under the carpet!