National Bullying Prevention Month

So October is finally here! It happens to be National Bullying Prevention Month! This is a topic very close to my heart and I find it important and necessary to write about it.

In case you didn’t know, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. A study has found that at least half of suicides among young people are due to bullying.

Bullying can be in different forms: physical, verbal, emotional and psychological. No matter which form, the effect on the person being bullied is traumatising.

Bullies often don’t realise that what they are doing is wrong and will deny that it is considered bullying. These people fail to spare a thought for the ones being bullied, saying that they are just weak and being over sensitive.

True, many people are sensitive. They don’t like being called names or taken as other people’s punching bags. Few bullies realise that how they act may lead to actions that are irreversible.

I have been at the receiving end of bullying, by a family member and by my classmates. During last year’s incident, words like “stupid”, “sensitive” and “no brains” were thrown in my face. We were in a public area and the funny thing was, instead of helping, people laughed. At that time, I just wanted to hide in a dark corner and cry. It hurt even more when I realised that some of my so-called friends knew that this incident was going to happen but did nothing to prevent it.

Bullying is not a laughing matter. My self esteem was at the lowest after that incident. I had so much pain, anguish and hatred inside me. So much so that I resorted to hurting myself to relief the pain. The anger was eating at me and there were times when I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to hurt those people the way they had hurt me.

For months, at night, I would have nightmares, reliving the incident all over again. I would wake up in the morning feeling tired and moody. The only times I could sleep well was when I took sleeping pills that were prescribed to me.

My wake-up call finally came when on one occasion, my sister caught me hurting myself. She was holding me, shouting and begging me to stop. I just wanted to numb my pain. But I felt ashamed and guilty that my little sister had seen this ugly side of me. A 14-year-old doesn’t deserve to witness such a scene. I decided then that I needed help. I wanted to get better and be the sister that Tara deserves.

It broke my heart to see my mum breaking down after I told my parents that I’ve been cutting myself. I was given the help that I needed immediately, with counselling and the love and support of my loved ones.

It is difficult to speak out about your problems and I didn’t want to admit about mine. But I strongly urge those who have been at the receiving end of bullying to talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep it in. The anger and hurt will manifest. Get the help you need and don’t ever hurt yourself over this. Like what my dad said, “those fuckers are not worth hurting yourself over!”

Remember that no matter what others have said or done to you, you are beautiful, inside and out. Understand that, after these bullying incidents, time is needed to heal the wound. I won’t deny that I still think about the incident and have the urge to cry. I don’t deny that I still have the temptation to hurt myself, although I don’t because I’ve made a promise to my family. But one day, the only feeling you’ll have for these bullies will be indifference.

I’m lucky and grateful that I’ve got a supportive family, who helped me through those tough times. If you feel that talking to your family is out of the question, talk to a trusted friend, teacher or counsellor.

Before you hurt yourself, think of those who love you. Before you think about committing suicide, think of the love ones whom you’re leaving behind.

I hope that people will be more aware of the seriousness of bullying. Individuals who have been bullied and can’t cope with the trauma, please seek the help you need! Don’t let the bullies get to you. You are worth more that that and never forget that you have a right to a beautiful life!

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