shame

The Other Side of Me: Overcoming Bullying and Mental Health

I’m a teenager, I live in Europe and I turn 18 soon. At a glance I am just like any other teenager, my room is a tip, I sleep later whatever chance I get and I can easily walk around in tracksuits all day. I don’t really care what other people think of me in many respects, I dress the way I want, I don’t wear make-up and practical goes before anything else. My grades are very good and I excel in sports and other extra-curricular activities. Many people say I am the dream daughter: Mature, intelligent and responsible. No-one sees the other side of me, the side that people would rather pretend doesn’t exist in our world. The mental health side.

I was bullied all through school because I was different. I was the intelligent one, the kid that all the teachers liked. I put up with verbal abuse mostly, but there were also occasions when it went further. I became withdrawn very early on and by the age of 12 I hardly spoke to anyone, my social life still suffers greatly from this. At the age of 14 things took a turn for the worse, looking back this is probably when my depression actually started although it wasn’t diagnosed until I was very nearly 17.

At 15 I started self-harming myself and there are still days when I feel like things just aren’t worth it. What strikes me the most, looking back, is that no-one ever reacted or helped me. I am sure there were people around me that saw there was an issue and noticed that it was more than just a phase. The assumption I have drawn with time is that they were scared; they didn’t dare get involved, as if it were infectious.  At 16 I very nearly committed suicide.

Now, two years on from that day I first met the psychologist who did nothing to help my situation I can look back and be proud of myself for pulling through. I still have a long way to go before I can live my life normally, but I believe that I only have myself to thank for being here today. I found a spark within myself to keep going and to prove that I wasn’t weak. I am not the person I was 2 years ago, I am now a more mature individual who knows myself very well. I now feel the slightest of down periods coming on and know how to handle them with a little help from a few trusted people around me.

Mental health issues don’t have to be a negative, they don’t have to stop you doing what you want to do. Since I managed to overcome the brunt of my illness I have been more focused on reaching my goals, more than I ever have before. I keep fighting and I do my very best to help others do the same. I am not scared to share what I have been through as I know that I can give others the belief to carry on going. Today I am living my dreams, pursuing an athletics career and doing extremely well at school. Just as I was before all of this started.

I asked Felicia if I could share my story because I want people to understand what bullying can do to a person but also because I want people to understand that mental health issues are not scary. They are not infectious and treating a person differently just because of their illness isn’t helping them, it is only making them worse. More often than not a person suffering from these problems just wants to be regarded as a normal person, just like I am.

You could get on the bus tomorrow and sit next to a person who is severely depressed. You could eat lunch with someone at work who cries themselves to sleep out of despair every night. A smile, a “Hello, how are you” makes a huge difference in our lives. Next time you meet someone, smile, you may of just saved their life.

About Our Guest:

Online I go by the name Tindris, I am a young web developer with a passion for writing. I ramble along on my website www.tindris.com.

Photo Credit: Katherine Evans
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Felicia is currently in pursuit of a Master’s degree in the field of Couples, Marital and Family Therapy. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, singing, watching television and movies, and writing. In addition, she is profoundly interested in the many aspects of family and relationships and for this reason Familial Ramblings was created.


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4 thoughts on “The Other Side of Me: Overcoming Bullying and Mental Health

  1. Thanks for sharing this very personal experience.

    Bullying is not just “kids being kids.” Bullying can cause real harm & bullying can kill.